When people think about treating their depression, many will assume that they have to take antidepressant medications. But in reality, talk therapy or psychotherapy is an effective option for many people with depression.

Psychotherapy involves different types counselling conducted by a trained therapist. This type of therapy can be used alone for mild cases of depression, or used in combination with medications in more severe cases of depression.

Cognitive behavioural therapy

One of the most commonly used types of psychotherapy is called cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT). CBT involves working with a therapist to look at false thoughts that may have negative effects on your mood and behaviour. In people with depression, most will automatically think negatively about a given situation, and this can have a major effect on their mood.

Here's an example that illustrates how negative thinking can affect a person's mood:

  • Two different people are going in to give a presentation in front of their boss and a client. The first person has positive thoughts of "I am going to do very well and this is going to be a great opportunity for me." This person feels happy and excited. The second person has negative thoughts of "I know I am going to screw up and I am going to be fired because of how bad I am going to do." This person feels sad and anxious.

We can see from this example that two different thoughts can have a major effect on the person's mood.

With CBT, the therapist works with the person to help find negative thoughts and to determine how many of these thoughts are false. By working through this with a therapist, the person starts to see how these thoughts affect their lives and don't help the way they feel. By replacing these negative thoughts with realistic and positive ones, it can improve the person's mood and help them cope with stressful situations.


Many people worry about how a therapy session is going to turn out. The key is to find a trained therapist that you feel comfortable talking to. With CBT, they will normally have weekly appointments for several months to help identify and modify these negative thoughts.