I must confess that I NO LONGER SEE DEPRESSED PEOPLE. I quit!
Every time I used to see a “depressed person” in my counselling office I get stuck. Depressed people often see themselves as a problem and their loved ones often see them as a problem. And the goal of therapy is to fix the problem, to get rid of it, right? Well, no wonder so many depressed people have suicidal thoughts. If you are the problem, the only way to get rid of the problem, is to get rid of you. This is where I, as a therapist, got really confused. So I thought about it for a long while and now I am admitting to the world that I am a therapist with years of training and practical experience and I don’t really know how to work with depressed people! But I am not quitting my profession just yet, because I do work with people who STRUGGLE WITH DEPRESSION. People who struggle with depression have a problem. This problem is depression. And the way people cope with depression (ie., drinking, drugs, isolation) brings a lot of pain into their lives. But the good thing is that when I view depression as a problem that comes in to people's lives and robs them of joy, then a range of possibilities becomes available to help person find new ways of coping with this dark force.
So, as a therapist when I see clients STRUGGLING WITH DEPRESSION (not depressed clients), I am much more equipped to help them find new ways of coping with depression and re-inviting joy, peace, and balance into their lives. This is why in my private practice I NO LONGER SEE DEPRESSED PEOPLE but I DO SEE PEOPLE WHO STRUGGLE WITH DEPRESSION and this perspective makes me a more effective therapist!
Katya Sivak, BA, MA
Registered Clinical Counsellor