Depression for Christians

rcastaffDepression, Trauma

“Shouldn’t I be able to get over this depression if I just pray and read my Bible more?” As a Christian counselor I often reassure depressed clients that they are not spiritual failures. Everything is colorless in depression and God can feel far away. A Christian therapist will help you sort through the factors underlying your depression and bring God’s caring presence into the journey out.

What Causes Depression?
Some possible underlying factors are: 1) Negative messages you believe about yourself from toxic people in your past. Childhood abuse is especially damaging since you were forming your views about life.  2) Poor self-care where you give so much to others that you are drained with no energy and isolate to protect yourself.  3) Shame or guilt over poor choices and regrets.  4) The loss of a relationship or loss of a dream for your life.  5) Poor nutrition and sleep habits. 6) We recommend that you see your medical doctor for a physical to investigate if there are health issues contributing to your depression. Examples would be anemia, underactive thyroid or Epstein-Barr virus. 7) Sometimes there is a biochemical cause for the depression. Neurotransmitter chemicals in the brain might be depleted and for a few months antidepressant medication might be a good option to bring you up from incapacitating depression so that you can use the counseling to move forward again. Your counselor will help you find self care strategies so you can avoid depression in the future.

Suicidal Thoughts
The emotional pain in depression can be so unbearable that you might wish you could die just to stop hurting.  If you have thoughts about how you would end your life, a counselor can help you find a better way out of the pain. Suicide leaves unimaginable heartache for people who love you and the world loses the unique contributions you would have made in the future. The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline (800) 273-TALK (8255) is a free 24-hours hotline available if you or someone you know is in suicidal crisis or emotional distress. Press 1 for a dedicated line for veterans and their families.
Anger and Depression
For some people depression does not come with tears or feelings of sadness. Instead their depression is irritability and feeling like nothing in life interests them anymore. They are tired and every day is drudgery. This type of grumpy depression is especially common in men. For women reading this, if you think your husband has changed into a surly, uncaring jerk then it might be that he is struggling with depression. Call us to schedule a couples session so we can help you pull through this together.

How Depressed Are You?
Click here for a quick assessment about your level of depression. Are you depressed?

What Happens In Therapy
How do Christian therapists help you move through depression to embrace life again? First of all we invite God ‘s presence to guide us in the sessions. We will help you feel safe with God again if it seems He has let you down or abandoned you. Our values are based on the timeless wisdom of the Bible along with training as mental health professionals. We look at the messages you tell yourself. You might not be aware of some of them, but in therapy you discover how they are negatively guiding your choices in life. A few examples are:
No one would ever love me if they really knew me.
I am stupid.
As a Christian I must always put the needs of others ahead of my own needs.
I will never let anyone be close enough to hurt me again.
Horrible things have happened to me, but I can’t let myself feel my pain or rage because it will annihilate me.
I can never forgive those who hurt me because that would be like excusing what they did.
Therapy is the work of replacing these damaging assumptions with truth and to free you from their constrictions. Your therapist coaches you on how to view yourself differently and in new skills for healthier relationships with others.

For traumatic past events many of our therapists are trained in EMDR which helps reduce the emotions from the trauma so you no longer feel held hostage by triggers. EMDR has been widely used with combat veterans and is one of the most researched therapeutic techniques for post traumatic stress disorder.

How long does it take to come out of depression? Every person is different, but you should plan for at least 15 sessions to see what we can accomplish together in that time. If you feel good about the gains made during that time you may wish to end therapy or you might choose to continue for further growth. Our goal is to work ourselves out of a job with you by giving you tools to care for yourself and be all that God created you to be.

If you are searching for Christian counseling for depression in San Diego we have offices in Mission Valley, Rancho Bernardo and Carlsbad. Call today to speak with us about your needs and to schedule an appointment. 619 298-8722 x101

Psalm 61:1-2… ”Hear my cry, O God; attend unto my prayer. From the end of the earth will I cry unto thee, when my heart is overwhelmed: lead me to the rock that is higher than I” (KJV).