Three Things to Consider When Choosing a Psychotherapist

Whether you suffer from a mental disorder or need help coping with stress, relationship troubles, substance abuse, or the loss of a loved one, psychotherapy can help.  Psychotherapy is a collaborative treatment between a therapist and client that involves identifying and addressing the thoughts and behaviors that are preventing you from living a happy and healthy life. The treatment can help you overcome your problems and leaves you with the skills you need to better cope with future challenges.

For the most effective treatment, you need to choose the right psychotherapist. Here are three things to consider:

Consider Your Issue

Psychotherapy is a very diverse field. Typically, therapists specialize in specific conditions and problems. Some psychotherapists focus on issues like depression, anxiety, and/or post-traumatic stress disorder, while others specialize in helping people improve their relationships or cope with loss. It’s important to choose a therapist who has ample experience in helping people overcome your issue.

Consider Their Demographic

In addition to specific issues, therapists tend to specialize in particular demographics. Some therapists work with families and couples, while others work with individuals. Also, a psychotherapist may focus on a certain age group, such as children, teens, adults, or seniors.

Consider Their Approach

As previously described, psychotherapy is very diverse. There are many different schools of thought, so it’s important to know which orientation a psychotherapist specializes in. For instance, Psychotherapist Stuart MacFarlane is a Jungian analyst who works with his clients to bring elements of the unconscious psyche into the conscious mind to achieve wholeness and self-realization. Jungian analysis involves working with your dreams to allow your unconscious mind into enlighten your consciousness to discover meaning and new insights and perspectives.

These are three important things to consider when choosing a psychotherapist. By considering these factors, you can select the psychotherapist that is right for you.

Many People Who Need Treatment For Depression Don’t Receive It

Recent research published in JAMA Internal Medicine found depression treatment isn’t going to those who need it most. According to the study, most Americans who screen positive for the mental illness do not receive treatment, while most of those who do don’t have the condition. The situation in the UK is similar to this.

“Over the last several years, there has been an increase in prescription of antidepressants,” said Mark Olfson, a professor of psychiatry at the Columbia University Medical Center and the study’s lead author. “In that context, many people assumed that undertreatment of depression is no longer a common problem.”

However, after analyzing data from surveys that included questionnaires to test for depression, Olfson came to a conflicting conclusion. Of the 46,417 adults surveyed, eight percent provided responses that suggested they had depression. Only 29% of those who appeared to need help received treatment. These findings show finding depression care that aligns with patient needs is still a challenge.

Here are some key findings of the recent study:

Depression Is Prominent in Low-Income Adults

The study found adults in the lowest-income group were five times as likely to have depression, compared to those in the highest-income group. Despite their higher rate for depression, the lower-income group was less likely to receive treatment.

Antidepressants Are Most Commonly Used By Those with Less Serious or No Depression

Among those who received treatment for depression, only 30% screened positive for the condition, and 22% had serious psychological distress. This means they have more severe depression symptoms and may require treatment beyond antidepressants.

The study also found people with less serious or no depression were more likely to receive antidepressants than those who exhibited signs of depression, which shows a problem of over-prescription. According to Stuart MacFarlane, a Jungian analyst, less aggressive treatments, such as psychotherapy, exercise, and meditation, would be beneficial for patients with mild depression.

Some Think They Won’t Benefit From Treatment

While mental illness is being more openly talked about, there can still be a negative stigma associated with it. This could be preventing people with depression from seeking treatment. The study found some people with depression believe they don’t need or would not benefit from treatment.

People with depression visit their primary care doctor at least once a year for pressing medical problems. Olfson suggests that integrating depression screening and mental health services into primary care would increase awareness and access to depression treatment.


4 Tips To Reduce Feelings of Depression


If you’ve been depressed or you’re currently depressed, then you know how deeply it drains your energy, your hope and your drive. The unfortunate reality is that overcoming depression is not quick or easy. Like running a marathon you can only take one step at a time. Even though depression can be stubbornly persistent and severe and you can’t just will yourself to snap out of it, you do have some control. Start small and build from there. Feeling better takes time but you can get there with persistence, and by making as many positive choices that you can manage. Don’t give up! You will recover!

Psychotherapist Stuart MacFarlane has helped hundreds of people overcome depression; giving them tools they can use outside of sessions as well as the support of ongoing therapy. Here are four ways you can get started!

  1. Cultivate Relationships – Reach out

Getting the support you need from positive relationships plays a big role in lifting the fog of depression and keeping it away. Without supportive relationships, it can be hard to maintain perspective and sustain the efforts to beat depression. Depression can make it challenging to reach out for help from others. While loneliness and seclusion can elicit or worsen the symptoms of depression, emotionally close relationships are imperative when overcoming it. Even if it seems like an overwhelming task, remember it’s the depression that’s stumping you, not your own self. With that in mind, triumph over those woes and reach out to others. It is never too late to improve your support network.

  1. Exercise

Depression can make otherwise easy tasks like getting out of bed daunting, but when you muster up the strength to get outside to exercise, it has many benefits. Numerous studies have shown that regular exercise can be just as effective as antidepressants; increasing your energy levels and reducing feelings of fatigue. Maximum benefits are going to come from 30 minutes or more of exercise per day but you can start small and then build up the motivation to go longer. For instance, 10 minute bursts of activity can have a positive effect on your mood and best of all, you don’t need to hit the gym or run miles. Something as simple as a brisk walk is enough to get you moving.

  1. Challenge Negative Thoughts

Depression tends to put a negative spin on just about everything, particularly the way you perceive yourself. Breaking that pessimistic cycle can be difficult but over time it is essential to replace those negative thoughts with more positive ones. For starters, think outside of yourself – no need to be so harsh on yourself! You wouldn’t say what you’re thinking about yourself to someone else. Allowing yourself to be less than perfect is the key. Lastly, socialize with positive people. Their bright-sided attitude is contagious!

  1. Do Things You Enjoy

To overcome depression, it naturally helps to do things that relax and energize you. Making small changes to your lifestyle can reap huge benefits in terms of mood. For example, getting a full nights’ rest, eating a well-balanced diet and adopting healthy habits that will become routine. While you can’t force yourself to have fun, you can pick up again on things you used to enjoy, like a hobby or a sport, and let that reignite the passion.

All in all, depression can be beaten with the right tools and resources, so take advantage of everything you have at your disposal to get back on track to happiness.

What Is Seasonal Affective Disorder?

depressed womanAutumn is in full swing and that means cooler temps, falling leaves and shorter days are upon us. As the season begins to progress and we see even more changes, some of us may begin to feel the ‘blues’ because we are spending less time outdoors, which means we aren’t soaking in as much vitamin D from the sun and that can affect us in a few different ways. Our emotions may change but when it gets to the point where we are feeling depressed it could be due to Seasonal Affective Disorder.

Seasonal Affective Disorder is something that is more common than you think and its onset typically begins between the months of September through November and continues until the spring time. It’s a type of depression that’s related to the changes in season and as temporary as those are, SAD can sometimes last longer than a few seasons. Some individual start to experience symptoms where their moods are a little off course from their norm. They may have a lack of energy for daily tasks, have problems concentrating, sleep problems and may feel sad, hopeless or low. It can continue with being irritable around others, having panic or anxiety attacks and they may even turn to drug or alcohol abuse.

What Causes SAD?

While the exact causes of SAD are unclear, there are many theories as to why it happens. One theory involves light and when the season transitions into the fall and winter, we typically are exposed to less amounts of sunlight. When light travels through the back of the retina, messages are sent to the brain that regulates things like sleep, mood, appetite and sex drive. If there is a lack of light, these functions may change, which disrupts the way an individual functions.

Another theory points at low levels of serotonin which is a chemical in the brain. People who suffer from depression generally have lower levels of serotonin and if the brain’s system isn’t absorbing enough serotonin, it could disrupt mood. Additionally, SAD could occur due to a disrupted circadian rhythm and that’s your body’s internal clock.  It’s responsible for keeping your body on a sleep/wake cycle and if the season brings about less sunlight, it could disrupt the circadian rhythm.

How To Treat SAD

There are a couple of different ways to treat this type of depression and one viable option could be speaking with a psychotherapist like Stuart MacFarlane a Jungian analyst who uses open discussion treatment methods that help the individual talk through their issues. This can help someone discuss what’s bothering them and to gather resources from within. Another treatment method includes taking in as much natural light as possible or using a light box while indoors. This exposure of natural light can help alleviate the symptoms. However, if you are feeling a little down and have noticed your feelings changing as the season changes, you may want to speak with a psychologist to discuss it further.