One of my jobs as a specialist in depression therapy is to help my patients make sense not only of the depression, but of the constellation of coping behaviors that have developed alongside it.
It’s not unusual for people with depression to hide their despair from friends, loved ones and family, even if the act of hiding makes the depression even worse. Interestingly, high achievers tend to be especially adept at this kind of “masking” behavior.
Why would someone hide such agonizing pain, when the benefits of reaching out and seeking help are so widely known? One case study captures the sentiments of many patients I have met:
It was clear that Jared was acutely ill with depression, but he also despaired for another reason: He blamed himself for his lack of control and for not being able to “figure it out.” He had always had a sense of interdependence, with a concern for the welfare of others. He therefore worried about how revealing his depressive state would affect his parents, concerned that they would feel responsible for his distress and, an even greater fear, that they would then castigate themselves for being ignorant of his condition.
In my experience, high achievers who suffer from clinical depression often evidence this type of social isolation, and self-punishing thoughts like these tend to be a common thread.
Any good therapy for depression must help patients contend with this masking behavior, and with the dynamics of their lives that may have inspired them to hide this pain. Often by understanding what lies behind the masking, patients can also begin to make sense of the depression itself, uncovering its roots in an overdeveloped sense of obligation to others.
Want to learn more? Contact my Philadelphia psychotherapy practice today.
Depression and anxiety hold us back, diminish our horizons, and in extreme cases, can end our lives. Since these are two of the most common issues in our culture, patients are constantly on the lookout for better ways to manage the overwhelming feelings they precipitate.
Conventional therapy remains the best-known treatment for depression and anxiety, of course, but now technology has begun to make some inroads. Consider MoodGYM, an online cognitive behavioral therapy program that seeks to help people manage some of the destructive thoughts associated with both disorders:
[S]tudies have found that online C.B.T. works as well as conventional face-to-face cognitive behavioral therapy – as long as there is occasional human support.
Of course that part about human support is crucial, not least because there are many dimensions of psychology that computers cannot address. Although the simplest, most standardized parts of CBT may easily be offloaded to software, the conversations that surround this work are essential for true healing. Therapists typically supplement CBT with deeper inquiry about the emotional components of depression and anxiety – where the symptoms come from, and what underlying factors may be fueling their power.
In addition, the relationship itself between the patient and the therapist can be one of the most transformative elements of therapy, leading to lasting improvement and going beyond workbook therapy to resolve some of the deepest issues we face. Working with a warm, compassionate therapist who is trained to truly hear and understand you, in a nuanced way that an app cannot do, can help you learn to relate more effectively and authentically with the people in your life.
To learn more about how you can find relief through depression therapy and anxiety therapy, please contact a Philadelphia therapist who integrates cognitive-behavior therapy and insight-oriented therapy today.
Welcome to the blog of Philadelphia psychotherapist Josh Dodes!
I created this space as a forum to share some of the most compelling news, ideas and developments in the field of psychotherapy, as well as a few of thoughts of my own about how talk therapy can serve us all more effectively.
Briefly: I am a licensed psychotherapist who has received degrees from Yale University and NYU, and has done post-graduate work at New York’s respected Psychoanalytic Psychotherapy Study Center. My practice is focused on helping patients understand some of the deeper issues that hold them back and influence their daily behavior, including struggles with perfectionism, depression, anxiety, low self-esteem and relationships.
Over time I expect this blog to grow into a sort of comprehensive resource for patients and their families who want to learn more about how psychotherapy works, and where the field is headed.
Feel free to bookmark this page and check back often, as I’ll be posting often in the coming months. Welcome aboard!