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Elizabeth Jeffries

Help for Depression

Posted by Elizabeth Jeffries

886 Days Ago

  Your present circumstances don’t determine where you can go, they merely determine where you start (Nido Qubein)

With the 10th October being World Mental Health Day, the quote above might offer a much needed signal of hope, perhaps when you are struggling to find some.

This, perhaps in spite of the recent results from the latest survey about the state of mental health and wellbeing in England which recently reported the following statistics about depression:

Since 2007 the experience of depression has increased in late midlife men and women (aged 55-64)

Depression has become more common in people aged 16-64 than in previous years (1993-2014)

Among the 7500 participants it was the most common professional diagnosis

Yet, what is depression exactly? Some people have described it as the common cold of mental anguish

Some may describe it in terms of a complex of symptoms experienced. These may include:

. Depressed Mood,

. Diminished Pleasure

. Decreased Appetite

 . Fatigue

. A sense of worthlessness

. Decreased ability to concentrate

. Restlessness

. Suicidal thoughts or plans

Others may consider the essence of depression as a defence against feelings, wishes and desires.

Yet others may attempt to describe it with the use of metaphors that attempt to capture a rich nature of the experience of depression

 . Falling into an abyss

 . Being over the edge

. Darkness

 . Lack of control

Perhaps all of these understandings encapsulate a sense of a lack of activity, a state of being below or less than normal – sunken, hollow and sad.

Whichever understanding of depression holds meaning for you, one thing seems clear and that is that often help to overcome these difficult feelings and experiences is sorely needed.

Referring back to the recent survey on mental health and wellbeing in England, the form of help that around half of those reporting having experienced depression were receiving was mental health treatment. In addition, the use of psychological therapies was reported to be generally increasing (since 2007)

So what kind of psychological therapy might help then? Well, as is so often the case it does depend on what sense you make of your depression.  

However, one popular approach which seeks to get to the root of depression is psychodynamic therapy. Here, the focus is to help understand, to gain insight into the origins and current function of a difficulty) this case depression). It focuses on the impact of life events, relationships hopes, and desires in order to help achieve this understanding

Another approach is Transactional Analysis Psychotherapy. Here the focus is on how we become who we are and how we grow and change during the life course. When working with depression this is an approach that will

 . Help you explore beliefs that may have a negative impact on yourself, and expectations for relationships and life.

. Explore the elements of experience which maintain the depression

. Examine internal dialogue and help replace self-critical with self-compassionate dialogues.

. Explore a sense of worthlessness and hopelessness by re-evaluating life experiences

A specific way of working within a Transactional Analysis is Relational Transactional Analysis. This is an approach which sees the significant agent for change as the therapeutic  relationship. It takes ideas about the patterns of thoughts, emotions and behaviours as being directly related to the patterns of relationships – internally and with others. It uses the therapeutic relationship to make sense of other relationships in your life. So, for depression (as with other difficulties) an understanding of how relationships shape us, and limit us, as well as how they can support and help is fundamental to finding a way out of an experience of depression.  

Here there are examples of psychological therapies which may help with depression. There are others. One of the ones I have described may suit you, may fit with how you understand, or want to understand, your depression, or you might want something else entirely.

The key point here though is that depression is not a singular entity and it doesn’t determine the rest of your life. It exists on multiple levels and there are many ways to find a way through it, to climb out of the abyss, and to have pleasure in life again.

You are at your starting point today. Now which way next?


Coughlin, P. (2017) Maximizing Effectiveness in Dynamic Psychotherapy, Abingdon, Routledge. (n.d.) Other Forms of Psychotherapy for Major Depression – Psychodynamic Therapy [Online]. Available at (Accessed 08 October 2016).

NatCen (2016) Adult Psychiatric Morbidity Survey [Online]. Available at (Accessed 08 October 2016).  

Pritzker, S. (n.d.) The Role of Metaphor in Culture, Consciousness, and Medicine: A preliminary inquiry into the metaphors of depression in Chinese and Western medical and common languages [Online]. Available at: (Accessed 07 October 2016).

Widdowson, M. (2016) Transactional Analysis for Depression: A Step-by-Step Treatment Manual, Abingdon, Routledge.



Elizabeth Jeffries

Article written by Elizabeth Jeffries - Manchester

I provide psychotherapy and counselling to individuals and couples. I also provide online therapy.

The main models of therapy underpinning my work are Transactional Analysis Psychotherapy and Relational Psychotherapy. Transactional analysis psychotherapy looks at how we become who we are, and how we grow and change during the course of life.... [read more]

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