Exploring Your Options: An Overview of Therapies for Anxiety and Depression

Anxiety and depression are common mental problems in the US. According to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America, anxiety disorders affect 40 million adults— approximately 19% of the population. 

If you’re suffering from anxiety or depression, your mental and physical health is on the line. You’ll endure emotional distress, social isolation, insomnia, poor physical health, and low-quality life. Fortunately, effective therapies can help you cope with the symptoms and reinstate your mental health.

From traditional approaches like Cognitive Behaviour Therapy to modern techniques like Mindful Based Therapy, you’ve got options to overcome anxiety and depression. More importantly, you need a mental health professional to walk you on the recovery journey.

Let’s explore your options.

Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy: The Gold Standard for Treating Anxiety and Depression

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) is a form of talk therapy that helps patients become aware of negative or inaccurate thinking. As a mental health counselor takes you through the sessions, your view of a problematic situation becomes better, which helps you respond effectively.     

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy is the most preferred therapy treatment because it helps patients quickly identify and cope with a challenging situation. What’s more, you’re only required to attend a few sessions, which are done in a structured way.

How Can Cognitive Behavioral Therapy Help You?

Many research studies suggest that CBT patients enjoy improved functioning and quality of life. Since it has been developed from research and clinical practice, CBT effectively treats various issues.

Here’s how CBT helps improve your mental and physical health:

  • Effective treatment for anxiety or depression when medication fails
  • Helps patients cope with the loss of loved ones
  • Prevents recurrence of depression symptoms
  • Identify techniques to manage your emotions
  • Cope with other medical conditions
  • Learn coping methods for dealing with stressful life situations
  • Learn skills to resolve conflicts in relationships
  • Overcome trauma related to violence and abuse


Once you learn the above coping mechanisms, you can overcome or recover from mental health disorders. With that in mind, CBT is an effective therapy for depression, bipolar disorders, sleep disorders, anxiety, substance abuse, phobias, PTSD, and anxiety disorders.

The Principles of Cognitive Behavior Therapy(CBT)

CBT is anchored on a few core principles that include;

  • Mental health issues are partly based on faulty or unhelpful thinking patterns.
  • Learned patterns of unhelpful behavior are also partly to blame for psychological problems.
  • People suffering from mental health problems can learn coping mechanisms, relieve their symptoms and become more effective.

A Step-by-step Approach in CBT

Step 1: Identify the Challenging Situation or Condition in Life

You’ll spend time with your therapist to identify the session’s goal or problem. Since you’re having trouble with anxiety or depression, the therapist will engage you to understand your situation.

Step 2: Become aware of your emotions, beliefs, and thoughts about the problem

After identifying the problem, a mental health professional will encourage you to share your thoughts. In addition, the therapist will want to understand the meaning of the situation and beliefs about yourself and others. As part of the treatment, they may request you to create a journal of your thoughts.

Step 3: Recognize Inaccurate or Negative Thinking

Your therapist will also observe physical, emotional, and behavioral responses. The observation will identify thinking and behavioral patterns contributing to your problem.

Step 4 Reshape Your Negative Perspective and Inaccurate Thinking

The therapist will try to reshape your mind by helping you probe whether your current view of the situation is based on facts or inaccurate thinking. The reshaping stage is usually difficult for patients with a long-standing perception of life and themselves.

You can finally overcome your problem with continued practice and helpful thinking.

Dialectical Behavior Therapy: A Holistic Approach to Mental Health

Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT) is a talk therapy based on Cognitive Behavioral Therapy(CBT), specially created for people with intermittent emotions. DBT has a simple concept.

It helps you understand and accept your complicated feelings, learn skills to manage them, and make positive changes in your life. Dialectical therapy is anchored on the understanding that two things that seem opposite could be true.

Although accepting yourself and transforming your behavior seems contradictory, DBT will teach you how to achieve both goals at a go. In a nutshell, the main focus is to help people accept their lives and behaviors. Acceptance forms the basis for changing their lives and unhelpful behaviors.

Benefits of Dialectical Behavior Therapy to Your Mental Health

DBT has proved effective in treating conditions associated with unhelpful or risky ways to control intense or negative emotions. Instead of dwelling on factors that cause the problems, DBT will teach you a healthier way to cope.

Besides anxiety and depression, DBT is also effective in controlling the following mental conditions:

  • Suicidal thoughts and behaviors
  • Borderline Personality Disorder
  • Eating disorders such as anorexia, binge eating, or pica.
  • Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder
  • Drug and alcohol problem

How Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT) Works

The approach varies from one therapist to the other; even so, DBT involves four main sessions:

  • DBT Pre-treatment: During the pre-treatment or assessment phase, the therapist will determine whether DBT fits you. It may involve several sessions to help you understand DBT. If you feel it’s right for you, the therapist will request you commit to the upcoming sessions. 
  • Individual Therapy: You’ll then start the weekly one-on-one sessions with your therapist. Usually, each session takes approximately one hour. You will work towards several goals, including replacing unhelpful behaviors. 
  • Skills Training in Groups: Your therapists will then take you through a skills training in groups session. You’ll learn crucial skills like mindfulness, tolerating distress, regulating emotions, and interpersonal effectiveness. 
  • Telephone Crisis Coaching: Lastly, your therapist will offer telephone coaching for support in your daily life. It means your therapist will be available on call at certain times between your sessions. For instance, they may encourage you to call if thoughts of self-harm re-occur.

A point to note: The success of the DBT approach also depends on your commitment. For instance, you should be ready to work hard at therapy and complete assignments. In addition, you should also be willing to participate in a group session with other patients.

Mindfulness-Based Therapies: The Benefits of a Calm and Centered Mind

Mindful Based Cognitive Therapy(MBCT) combines mindfulness meditation and cognitive therapy. The approach involves being aware of the modes of mind that result in mood disorders and simultaneously learning to create a new relationship with them.

Simply put, MBCT combines meditation practices with a clinical approach. The primary goal of the therapy is to recognize early signs of depression. The treatment will help you become aware of your emotions and equip you with proper coping skills to prevent a re-occurrence of negative thoughts.

How Does Mindful-Based Therapy Work?

Mindful-Based Therapy takes a group intervention approach that lasts up to eight weeks. A therapist will oversee the sessions with the following goals in mind.

  • To help you find clarity in the patterns of the mind and learn to recognize when your mood is off track.
  • The mindfulness practice helps interrupt the automatic connection between negative mood, thoughts, and bodily reactions like fatigue, further dampening your mood.
  • Transform your mind from critical and judgemental thinking to a mode of mind that is non-judgemental.
  • You’ll learn an approach to deal with difficult emotions and moods.
  • It’ll help you understand that through mindfulness, you can hold difficult and unwanted thoughts and embrace a perspective of warmth and compassion toward your challenge.
  • Mindfulness can help you live the moment, appreciate the simple pleasures of everyday life, connect with yourself, and experience being alive.

Multiple studies suggest that MBCT is an effective treatment to help people who have experienced several episodes of depression. It can also help reduce the severity of depressive symptoms, like improved sleep patterns and reduced urge for addictive substances. 

Although MBCT was designed to help patients cope with depression, it has proved effective in fighting the following conditions:

  • Low mood
  • Depression related to medical conditions
  • Recurrence of depression
  • Bipolar disorders
  • Being unhappy

Although the therapist will take you through group and class sessions, there’s much to cover beyond the sessions. The therapist will give you homework, which may include listening to voice notes and cultivating mindfulness in your daily life.

You’ll need to apply the MBCT skills in daily activities like exercising, home chores, or self-care routines to get the best from the program. 

Speak to a Compassionate Mental Health Professional at MindVibe

If anxiety and depression go untreated, it can wear you down. Some people might turn to drugs or alcohol, become a lone ranger, or expose you to health problems like stroke, blood pressure, or obesity.

To that end, consider speaking with a compassionate mental health professional to contain your anxiety and depression symptoms. At MindVibe, we treat our patients with the utmost care and compassion.

Contact us online or call us at 805.295.4292 to make an appointment. We are ready to help you regain your mental health

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