Depression Counseling

Depression Therapists Chicago

Depression counseling depicted by sad girl looking down

Depression is a common mental health concern that brings people to therapy. 

Symptoms of Depression Include:

  • Frequent sadness or crying spells
  • Not being able to experience pleasure in activities that were once enjoyable
  • Numbness and or Apathy
  • Loss of Motivation
  • Sleeping difficulties
  • Weight changes
  • Low self-worth
  • Thoughts about harming yourself
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Feeling hopeless about the future
  • Fatigue 
  • Thoughts of harming oneself

How Therapy & Counseling for Depression Can Help

Whilst medication is often a necessary component of depression treatment, research shows that therapy is just as useful in helping individuals recover from a depressive episode.Therapy can provide a safe place to explore your depression symptoms, triggers & reinforcing behaviors. Treatment will involve a holistic approach including cognitive restructuring, mindfulness, acceptance strategies, behavioral activation, exercise, sleep hygiene practices, dietary interventions and collaborative treatment with Chicago based psychiatrists.

​Cityscape Counseling is an ideal practice to receive therapy for depression in Chicago because our therapists have extensive experience using evidenced based behavioral therapies to treat both adolescents and adults with mild to severe depression across many levels of care. We have developed many treatment curriculums for skills development for individuals struggling with low self-esteem, severe depression, self-injury and suicidality. Additionally, we are well networked with trustworthy psychiatrists in Chicago who can provide effective medications to lower depression symptoms if necessary.

Treatment for depression can involve mindfulness strategies drawn from CBT, DBT & ACT.

Desperately drowning in waves of depression?

How the magic of mindfulness can help you reach the shore of contentment

Current depression rates are estimated to fall around 7%, with some age & other demographic groups reaching as high as a 10% prevalence rate. This means that it’s highly likely that someone close to you might be struggling with this devastating and oftentimes debilitating affliction.   

However, if YOU happen to be the one drowning in waves of depression, know that you are not alone and getting back to that shore of contentment is closer than you think. However, your journey towards that freedom you’ve been craving for so long will most likely involve a radically different approach than what you might expect. 

As of yet, no magic formula has been discovered that will completely eliminate your depression. According to the American Psychiatric Association, the best antidepressant medications are only effective about 30% of the time, and even in those cases, effective refers to “symptom improvement”, not total elimination of the disorder. The psychiatric community agrees that the most effective treatment for depression usually involves a combination of medications and THERAPY. 

This is where WE come in. Meeting with a mindfulness-based therapist can help teach you the most effective ways to manage your agonizing depression.

Pause for a moment to think about what your natural instinct might be if you found yourself stranded in the middle of the ocean with a series of waves relentlessly crashing over you. Most people would interpret this experience as dangerous and unpleasant, and would likely start vigorously moving their arms and legs around to try and somehow outswim the waves and return to shore. Even though most of you would logically realize that you probably can’t outswim the waves, your natural instinct would be to use all of your might to “fight against” and “get away” from those waves as opposed to spreading out your body and floating along WITH the current and waves towards the shore. 

Depression is much the same. When you notice any unpleasant thoughts or feelings that you interpret as “depression”, you probably use every strategy you can to resist and get away from those thoughts and feelings, strategies such as excessive sleeping, drinking, distraction, numbing, binge eating to name just a few. But just like struggling against the waves in the ocean usually won’t bring you any closer to the shore, struggling against your depression usually only enhances it or keeps you drowning. This is because A) reacting to your depression as if it’s something dangerous that need’s escaping, signals to your brain that something is wrong, and the resulting chemical reactions in your body such as an overproduction of cortisol only serve to enhance your depression symptoms, and B) most of the strategies you use to avoid your depression are harmful and counterproductive to re-attaining a life of peace.

Therefore, the best chance you have of transcending your state of depression, is something that most will find counterintuitive because it involves approaching, accepting and befriending the very entity you are trying to escape – by using MINDFULNESS. While mindfulness is a depression treatment approach supported by hundreds of clinical studies, it does have an element of magic to it, because in a way you are tricking your brain into believing that depression is “not something bad that the body needs to over-react to” but rather just a cluster of thoughts and bodily sensations our body can make space for. This trick of befriending instead of fighting one’s depression usually works in the long term – because A) the body stops excessively producing cortisol and allows the brain to return to a more content state, and B) all the energy you were putting into trying to escape your depression is now free to focus on building a life of passion, presence and purpose. 

Mindfulness “Magic Tricks” 

Next time you notice depression FEELINGS approaching: 
  1. Instead of resisting the feeling, intentionally turn toward and welcome the feeling with curiosity and compassion.  
  2. Practice adopting a curious stance by asking “what is this feeling?” “What is its shape?” “Is it moving or still?” “Does it have a color?”
  3. Practice adopting a welcoming stance by BREATHING INTO and STRETCHING WITH the feeling. Take a deep breath and visualize the air moving through your body into this feeling. See if you can stretch the part of your body where this feeling resides, taking note of whether the edges of the feelings shift as you stretch with the feeling.
  4. Practice a compassionate stance by placing a hand on the part of your body where this feeling resides and remind yourself that it’s okay to hold this feeling and make room for it. Imagine it’s the hand of someone who cares deeply for you. 
Next time you notice depressing THOUGHTS arriving:
  1. Recognize the thought as a random mental event, passing through your mind like a cloud drifts across the sky. Observe the thought without reacting to it or evaluating it.
  2. Treat the thought as if it were a “random message” that just popped into the “inbox” of your mind. 
  3. Disempower the content of the thought by thanking your mind for the thought “thanks mind”. 
  4. Try singing the thought aloud to the tune of a familiar song.
  5. Write the thought down on a post-it note and stick it somewhere in your immediate surroundings, say to the thought for example “you can hang out on my desk over there as long as you like but I am going to continue on with my day”.

Mindfulness has been shown to change the shape of the brain, and particularly shrink the areas involved with depression. However, like any exercise, practice and consistency is key to reshaping the parts of your brain that will transport you from depression to peace in the long term. 

if you’re looking for a Depression therapist in chicago, Cityscape counseling would love to work with you.

We know that seeking out therapy can be a daunting endeavor so we’re dedicated to helping you each step of the way. Start by calling or emailing us to set up your first appointment.