Washburn University Depression Clinic

The treatments that are used in the Depression Clinic have been shown to be beneficial in scientific studies. The most effective types of psychological treatment for depressive disorders include both cognitive and interpersonal process therapies. In either approach, treatment sessions are typically once each week and last for one hour, although a different schedule can be negotiated with your specific therapist. Late in the spring semester, the graduate student therapists who staff the clinic will also be able to offer brief therapy services which have also been shown to be effective, but within a more limited scope.  

Research suggests that some people who are depressed report improvement  over time without formal treatment. However, it has been demonstrated that  an even larger proportion of depressed individuals will report significant reductions in symptoms and improvements in their ability to successfully cope with the challenges of everyday life following a course of either cognitive or interpersonal therapy. Research also suggests that combining psychotherapy with medications and/or a regular program of exercise is likely the most effective way of maintaining long-term positive changes. 

Through cognitive therapy, you learn about the various factors (situational, cognitive, emotional and behavioral) that maintain and exacerbate depressive symptoms, as well as develop active strategies for combating depression. In Interpersonal Process therapy, the focus is on social interaction, and the level of satisfaction you experience in relationships. You and your therapist will seeks to first identify, and then specifically address and alter, patterns that may be maladaptive and therefore decrease your ability to develop and maintain a healthy and supportive social network. 

The Depression Clinic offers information on disorders commonly treated within the clinic.

People with major depressive disorder experience feelings of sadness or difficulty enjoying things in their life for at least two weeks (and often much longer).

Other symptoms may include:

  • Change in appetite (possibly including weight loss or weight gain)
  • Changes in sleep (disrupted/too little sleep or sleeping too much)
  • Feeling tired all of the time
  • Feeling worthless or guilty
  • Concentration problems
  • Decreased interest in sex
  • Crying or tearfulness
  • Thoughts or actions relating to hurting or killing oneself

Individuals who are depressed may feel like they have to push themselves to do what they need to do to carry on with their lives. Other people who are depressed withdraw and give up important activities (e.g., call in sick to work, stop spending time with friends). Overall, individuals who are clinically depressed experience either significant distress over having their symptoms of depression and/or find that these symptoms interfere with their life in some way.

What is the impact of major depressive disorder?

Low life satisfaction Interpersonal problems with family and friends. Impaired work performance (or inability to work).

How common is major depressive disorder?

Kessler et al. (2003) reported that 25% of individuals between the ages of 18 and 29 years old have already experienced an episode of major depression. Research suggests that as many as 85% of these individuals will go on to have another episode of major depression.

What is dysthymia (dysthymic disorder)?  

Dysthymia is similar to major depression in that it involves feelings of sadness and depression. However, these feelings of sadness and depression are typically not as intense as in major depressive disorder and are more long-lasting. People with dysthymia report feeling down or blue more days than not for two years or more. In fact, it is possible for someone to suffer from dysthymia for 20 or 30 years or more. Besides chronic, low-level feelings of sadness, other symptoms of dysthymia may include: changes in appetite, sleep problems, fatigue, low self-esteem, poor concentration, and feelings of hopelessness or pessimism about the future. 

What is the impact of dysthymia? 

  • Elevated risk for episodes of major depression (as many as 79% have an episode of major depressive disorder occur during the course of their dysthymia)
  • Elevated risk of suicidal behavior
  • Interpersonal problems with family and friends
  • Impaired work performance

How common is dysthymia? 

In any given year, approximately 1.6% of the population experiences dysthymia (best estimate by the surgeon general based on the Epidemiological Catchment Area study and the National Comorbidity Survey).

GET IN TOUCH WITH Psychology Clinic

Psychology Clinic
Henderson Learning Center, Room 111
Washburn University
1700 SW College Ave.
Topeka, KS 66621

Phone & Email
Phone: 785.670.1750

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