Treatment Strategy: Cognitive Behavioural Therapy for Depression

"I used to belong to the 'sock' school when it came to dealing with depression – just pull them up and get on with things. But when I experienced it myself, I entered a new world"

Prof Lewis Wolpert, author 'Malignant Sadness', former President of British Association of Cognitive and Behavioural Therapists (BABCP)

Depression usually occurs as a very understandable response to specific events and in a particular context.

Many of the triggers in depression are long-term difficulties which may drain you over time. The most common triggers for depression are:

  • loss (for example, the death of a loved one, the break-up of a relationship, the loss of a job, ill health, lost opportunities, or a severe financial downturn). For some people, loss is very difficult
  • changes to your role in life (for example, moving job, children leaving home, increased responsibility and stress at work). These are particularly difficult when such changes occur without any choice.
  • conflicts in a relationship (for example, with your partner or a family member). These are especially difficult when 'cope' by subjugating your own needs and feel resentful that you are not being heard.
  • a sense that things are missing from your life (for example, a relationship, children, or a job).
  • failing an important exam, not achieveing adequately at work and feeling ashamed about the consequences
  • chronic physical illness or pain
  • jetlag or anything that disrupts your sleep

Sometimes depression seems to occur out of the blue, without any identifiable trigger or social factors. In this case, there are probably more biological factors at work, especially in bipolar disorder). In this case, you may be excessively critical about being depressed and 'coping' by avoiding getting support from friends and family.


What is depression?