(Robinson, Berman, Neimeyer, 1990) Depression can appear at any age, but it is prevalent now among children and adolescents, especially when they are the offspring of adults with depression. It can also strike late in life and its symptoms of impaired memory, slow speech and slowed movement can be mistaken for those of senility or stroke.
Psychological treatment of depression assists the depressed individual in several ways. First of all, it helps to ease the pain of depression with addressing the feelings of hopelessness that go along with depression. That supportive counseling changes the pessimistic ideas, unrealistic expectations, and critical self-evaluations that create depression and sustain it. A qualified therapist is to help the depressed person to recognize which life problems are critical, and which are minor, and to develop positive life goals, and a more positive self-assessment. At last, the problem solving therapy changes the areas of the person's life that are creating significant stress, and contributing to the depression. Here can be a good impact of behavioral therapy that is aimed to develop coping skills, or an impact of interpersonal therapy that assist in solving relationship problems. (Weissman M.M., Markowitz J.C., 1994)
Unfortunately, in practice, many poorly trained therapists can't provide supportive counseling, that leads to little improvements in treating depression.
Psychotherapy is said to be helpful while being a part of the overall treatment plan, because, as researches show that in many cases unless the depressed person with the assistance of a therapist makes critical life changes, the depression still continues. This is explained by the fact of existence of internal and external changes, when internal changes are connected with problem assessment, self-evaluation, the evaluation of others, and the expectations the depressed person has for himherself, others and about life. It is an internal factor of hisher personality where there is a need to be fastidious with oneself. External changes in this case may be needed in problem solving skills, stress management, communication skills, life management skills, and the skills needed to develop and sustain relationships. (Carlson, Martin and Buskwist, 2004) They are connected with the system 'person - environment', and development of one's interaction skills with the surrounding.
The length of treatment will vary due to the severity of depression, the number and kind of life problems the person has to be solved. Many people tend to experience some relief within 6 or 10 sessions, while approximately 70-80% of the treated notice improvement only within 20-30 sessions. (Simon G.E., VonKorff M., Wagner E.H., Barlow W., 1993) Treatment sessions are usually scheduled once per week, that can be a rather unsatisfactory point for those who suffer from constant problems and need to be assisted more often. Many psychiatrists now doubt if therapy and cognitive training are as effective as dugs in the treatment of depression.