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Identifying and Treating Major Depression

  • Consider psychotherapy. There are a number of approaches to psychotherapy. Each has been proven to be helpful in combating major depression for at least some sufferers. Four major models of therapy are: (1) cognitive-behavioral therapy; (2) psychodynamic therapy; (3) interpersonal psychotherapy; and (4) systemic family therapy. Whatever model your therapist uses, the most important variable in predicting a successful treatment is whether you feel comfortable with the therapist and with what the therapist is doing. If the fit between you and the therapist feels helpful to you, it probably is.
  • Educate yourself about depression. Go to a Web site. Read a few books. Be open to the encouragement that can come with information and with the knowledge that others have come through the illness and are living successful lives.
  • Join a support group. Not only will you learn ways to take care of yourself, you will have the support of others who really do know what you are going through. Isolation is depression’s friend. The mutual support and concern of people who care about each other is its enemy.
  • A mental health professional can work with you to help you pick and choose the interventions that you will find most helpful. It’s important to remember that between 10 and 25 percent of women and between five and 12 percent of men experience major depression at some time in their lives. However lonely you may feel at this moment, you are most certainly not alone! Most people do respond to treatment. You too, can be helped.

    Identifying and Treating Major Depression

    Marie Hartwell-Walker, Ed.D.

    Marie Hartwell-WalkerDr. Marie Hartwell-Walker is licensed as both a psychologist and marriage and family counselor. She specializes in couples and family therapy and parent education. She writes regularly for Psych Central as well as Psych Central's Ask the Therapist feature. She is author of the insightful parenting e-book, Tending the Family Heart.

    Check out her book, Unlocking the Secrets of Self-Esteem.

    APA Reference
    Hartwell-Walker, M. (2020). Identifying and Treating Major Depression. Psych Central. Retrieved on September 22, 2020, from
    Scientifically Reviewed
    Last updated: 14 Jan 2020 (Originally: 17 May 2016)
    Last reviewed: By a member of our scientific advisory board on 14 Jan 2020
    Published on Psych All rights reserved.