There are many types of treatment that can help alleviate the symptoms of depression. Two-thirds of people living with the condition never seek treatment, even though 80 percent of all people with clinical depression who seek treatment do see improvement within a matter of weeks. Not all treatments will work for everyone. Your doctor can help determine which method or methods are right for you. Below are brief descriptions about various types of therapies.

Talk Therapy

If you’ve never been to a therapist, you might be surprised by your experience. Just as there are many types of antidepressants, there are also a few different kinds of therapy. Counseling can help you get things off your chest that you didn’t realize were bothering you, help you identify destructive thoughts that get you down, help you understand where these feelings come from, and teach you how to cope with those feelings. A lot of people may feel hesitant about talking to a stranger about their emotions, but studies show that talk therapy is a very effective treatment modality. Plus, you don’t have to deal with the side effects of taking pills.

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy

Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) helps people find new ways of dealing with negative thoughts and behaviors. Instead of delving into the past to determine where a feeling or emotion comes from, CBT helps patients become more aware of how their beliefs or actions are contributing to depression. Once those are identified, a therapist will work with his or her patient to replace those negative attitudes with more positive ones. There may be daily or weekly exercises and guidance involved to help patients apply the skills they learn in therapy to the real world. More than 75 percent of people who undergo CBT for depression see significant improvement.

Learn more about CBT.

Interpersonal Psychotherapy

Interpersonal psychotherapy (IPT) for depression focuses on relationships. It addresses specific conflicts within your relationships and looks at how you relate to people in general. Relationships in this case refer to all kinds of interpersonal connections, including family, friends, coworkers, and even strangers. Short-term IPT usually involves up to 20 weekly hour-long sessions and is as effective as antidepressants.

Find out about interpersonal therapy.

Psychodynamic Therapy

When most people think of therapy, psychodynamic is the type that comes to mind. It involves getting to the psychological root of your depression. To do so, patients are asked to engage in a significant amount of self-examination and reflection on the past. One of the goals is to help people identify troublesome relationship patterns in their lives and understand where they come from. This can help patients see why they behave in certain ways and remove guilt or self-blame so they can move forward with their lives.

Understand psychodynamic therapy.


Psychoanalysis is a kind of talk therapy that focuses on the fact that most humans are unaware of the unconscious factors that lead them towards a particular emotional reaction or behavior. This intense form a treatment aims to find the point of origin for specific feelings and help them with his or her current situation.

Read more about psychoanalysis.

Problem-Solving Therapy

Problem-solving therapy is a type of talk therapy that doesn’t delve into the deeper meanings of life—it focuses on specific problems in the here and know. Normally used for short-term basis, this type of therapy could help a person with depression who is struggling with problems at work, in relationships, or particular symptoms of depression.

Learn about problem-solving therapy.

Client-Centered Therapy

Client-centered therapy uses a different approach to the doctor-patient relationship. In it, a therapist doesn’t remain objective, but rather offers unconditional support for his or her client so that a client is empowered to finding solutions to his or her own problems.

Find out about client-centered therapy.

Narrative Therapy

Narrative therapy explores the idea of a person’s story: multiple narratives being shaped by social, emotional, and political ideas. The goal of the therapy is to help enrich a patient’s story and help them realize the problems currently at hand do not define a person’s story.

Find out about narrative therapy.

Expressive Therapy

Expressive therapy uses the creative arts—music, art, dance, or writing—to allow patients to express their feelings through creative means. The focus on these endeavors is on the process, not the finished product.

Understand expressive therapy.