Depression is a real illness that affects the way a person thinks, feels, and behaves. It can be caused by life events or by chemical changes in the brain. Although there are some common signs and symptoms shared between the different types of depression, they often vary from person to person. And to complicate matters even further, an individual might experience a different combination of symptoms from one depressive episode to the next. All of these variances mean that depression treatment options must be varied as well. 

The most common depression treatments fall into two main categories: medication and psychotherapy. Those two categories can be broken down into subcategories as well. Most people are aware that there are different types of antidepressant medications, but they’re often surprised to learn that there are different types of psychotherapy for depression as well. Believe it or not, “Tell me about your mother” is just one type of psychotherapy that can help treat depression. Here are four treatment types (plus a bonus treatment), each useful in addressing the symptoms of depression from a slightly different angle. 

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT)

Cognitive behavioral therapy is based on the idea that many psychological problems are, in part, the result of faulty thinking and unhealthy behaviors. Depression treatment with CBT aims to help patients identify problematic thoughts and behavior patterns and replace them with healthier ones in order to better cope with challenges and improve their quality of life.  Cognitive behavioral therapy helps the patient learn to focus on healthy engagement with their present reality. 


Psychodynamic Therapy (PDT)

Psychodynamic therapy is rooted in traditional psychotherapy and the idea that behavior is influenced by unconscious thought. Depression treatment with psychodynamic therapy helps patients explore the unconscious factors that may have contributed to the development of their depression, and to become aware of the impact these factors have on their behaviors and emotions in the present. PDT therapists encourage patients to speak freely and express fears, desires, dreams, and thoughts about current issues in order to help bring the unconscious to light.  


Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) 

Acceptance and commitment therapy (ACT) is a form of behavioral therapy that combines mindfulness skills with self-acceptance. Depression treatment with ACT helps patients to improve their relationships with themselves and the world by learning to maintain focus on the here and now, and to accept difficult emotions as a normal part of human existence. Acceptance and commitment therapy also involves the discovery of what is most meaningful to the patient and a commitment to actions that support those values with the aim of building a rich, full, and meaningful life. 


Interpersonal Therapy (IPT) 

Interpersonal Therapy begins with the premise that psychological problems center around personal relationships and that solving relationship issues can help improve symptoms. Interpersonal therapy for depression seeks to address relationship complications that arise from and contribute to depression symptoms. IPT helps patients learn to navigate current relationships in healthy ways, which strengthens their support network, contributes to positive experiences, and minimizes symptoms of depression.  


Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (TMS) Therapy for Depression

TMS is neither psychotherapy or medication. Instead, it treats depression with a series of magnetic pulses targeted to specific areas of the brain. The magnetic pulses activate brain regions involved in mood regulation. TMS has been proven to reduce symptoms of depression by at least 50% in half of patients with treatment-resistant depression, and at least 30% of those achieve full remission. Read more about our TMS therapy in San Diego.


Looking for depression treatment in San Diego? We can help. 

Whether you’re experiencing symptoms of depression brought on by a life event or have struggled with depression for years, we can help. At Pacific Health Systems, we offer a range of depression treatment options, including medication, individual psychotherapy, group therapy, Ketamine, Spravato, and transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS). We take a holistic approach to diagnosis, conducting thorough evaluations of physical and emotional symptoms, medical history, and more. Our comprehensive treatment plans are tailored to the needs of the individual, and we’re committed to helping each patient optimize their mental health so they can live rich and meaningful lives.