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CBT Not Helping with Major Depressive Disorder

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From Canada: I’m 19 and was formally diagnosed with a major depressive disorder when I was 17, but I’ve been depressed as far back as I can remember. For the past 2 years I have flipped between medications, which I stopped taking last year due to no changes, and being treated with CBT. I’m trying to be open minded, but after going to counseling every week for two years with no changes, I’m out of options. I’ve been trying to find other treatment options, but everything I come across says CBT is the best. So my questions are; what are some other effective methods to treating MDD; should I find a new counsellor/therapist; and what are some of the better medication options for MDD?

CBT Not Helping with Major Depressive Disorder

Answered by on -


Yes, CBT does have the reputation of being the best treatment for anxiety and depression, but one size never fits all. It seems to me that 2 years is long enough to try a method that isn’t paying off. If you locked yourself out of the house, how many times would you shake the doorknob before you gave up trying to open the door that way? At some point it doesn’t make sense to stand there and do the same thing yet again.

Please do have a frank discussion with your counselor. What is your counselor’s analysis of why CBT isn’t working? Does he or she think you are doing your part? Does he or she have another approach? Or can your counselor refer you on to a colleague who can do something else?

I’m sorry. I can’t answer your question about medication without knowing a lot more about you than can be shared in a letter. Do discuss your options with the counselor and prescriber who know you best.

You are an important member of your treatment team. Please don’t be shy about asking questions and perhaps making some changes.

I wish you well.
Dr. Marie

CBT Not Helping with Major Depressive Disorder

Dr. Marie Hartwell-Walker

Dr. Marie is licensed as both a psychologist and marriage and family counselor. She specializes in couples and family therapy and parent education. Follow her on Facebook or Twitter.

APA Reference
Hartwell-Walker, D. (2018). CBT Not Helping with Major Depressive Disorder. Psych Central. Retrieved on March 24, 2019, from
Scientifically Reviewed
Last updated: 8 May 2018
Last reviewed: By a member of our scientific advisory board on 8 May 2018
Published on Psych All rights reserved.