From the theoretical orientation of Dr. William Glasser, founder of Choice Theory Reality Therapy (CTRT), depression is seen as a chosen behaviour not an emotion that you are victim to. So CTRT therapist would say you are DEPRESSING or even anxieting or angering instead of being depressed, anxious or angry.
All behaviour is purposeful in trying to get an individual’s needs met. All people can do is act to get their needs met in the best way they know how. Sometimes life throws us such difficulties in which we lack the necessary tools to deal with it that the best way we know how to get our needs met is to depress or to anger or to be anxious.
The brain is incredibly creative in coming up with solutions to meet our core genetically engineered needs of survival, love and belonging, power and control, freedom and fun. When a person is depressing their behaviour sends messages to those near and dear to them and often results in loved ones changing their behaviour to accommodate or adjust to the depressing person’s behaviours, in the short term.
Depression is not a native emotion but rather it is learned from a young age. From a young age, we learn that people will respond or become helpful to us if they feel compassion for us. So the human brain tends to be depressed in order to try to get a need met. Depressed people look sad, can’t move and can become incapacitated. You must remember how creative the mind is and that why so often people can have physical symptoms with no medical explanation – it’s a psychosocial response.
So how does a person learn to deal with depression? Treating a person who is choosing depression is by helping that person actually figure out what they want. Many people will say “But I’m not choosing to feel like this.” While they may believe that is true, all of our thoughts, choices and behaviours are chosen by us. How we feel comes from what we think and do. So while you cannot change your feelings directly, you can change how you think or what you do.
Often at the root of most personal issues whether it is depressing, anxietying or angering are relationship issues. Often we need to learn new more effective skills to get what we want and how to be with the people we want to be with. So by helping the client really figure out what he or she wants they can evaluate if choosing to be depressed is getting it for them … and if not the therapist and client can work together to find a better way. Often people think they want one thing and it’s really a symptom of another thing. A person must be clear on what they want and often a depressing person isn’t sure or if they are sure on what they want they don’t know how to get it and getting depressed seems like a good choice in that moment.
Treating depression is to identify what a person wants and how depression is getting them closer or further from what they want. Based on what the client wants we work towards them and take small steps to get there. Sometimes in this process a client may realize that what they thought isn’t at all what they wanted. In therapy, we can talk about new skills but there is always homework to be done in these new skills. A person then must implement at home what they are learning in the session or nothing will change.
Counselling is an active process in which the client is very much involved and does his part. Counselling is not something that is done to you but rather something that the client and therapist do together and then the client takes it home and does it on his/her own.
Counselling often involves working around a client’s goals. Goals are important, but more important is to know what you want and then evaluate if what you want is in your best interest and if it’s realistic, and then finally if you are willing to do what is necessary to get what you want. For example, a 5 foot 3 inch person may want to be a professional basketball player and become depressed because he cannot do it. So first it is interesting to evaluate if what you want is in your best interest. It may also be helpful to understand what is that makes the person think in becoming a basketball player. There may be other more realistic ways to meet those same needs … so on and so forth.
If you want a new way to deal with getting over your depression, contact us for a first appointment and learn how effective and practical counselling can be.