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Norman M.
Norman M., Principal psychotherapist in private practice. Newspaper contributor, over 2000 satisfied clients on JA
Category: Mental Health
Satisfied Customers: 2542
Experience:  ADHP(NC), DEHP(NC), ECP, UKCP Registered.
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My boyfriend is suffering with depression. he is seeing his

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My boyfriend is suffering with depression. he is seeing his doctor every two weeks. he broke up with me about two weeks ago, he couldnt talk to me so he wrote me a letter explaning that he has lost his confidence and i deserve someone who is strong and can look after me as he can barely look after himself and he cant truly love me if he cant love himself. at the end of the letter he said he loved me, and he gave me a hug and a kiss before he left. since then i have told him that i will always be here for him and support him and i wont give up on him because i love him, and that if he ever needs to talk i will be here to just listen. some days he will respond and talk to me, even if it only a little and others he can barely talk to me and will get angry.
Am i doing the right thing in trying to be there or am i making him worse? thats the last thing i want.
Submitted: 4 years ago.
Category: Mental Health
Expert:  Norman M. replied 4 years ago.

Hello, and thanks for visiting JA.

You are doing EXACTLY the right thing. However, medication alone is often not a complete answer so,
I’m going to suggest that he would benefit greatly from a course of Cognitive Behavioral Therapy. It is a form of therapy that addresses problems in a direct and targeted way and is brief compared with most other therapies.

CBT is based on the fact that what we think in any given situation generates beliefs about, and reactions to that situation, and also cause the behaviour and feelings which flow from those beliefs and reactions.

These ‘automatic thoughts’ are so fast that generally, we are unaware that we have even had them. We call them ANTS (automatic negative thoughts) for short.

If the pattern of thinking we use, or our beliefs about our situation are even slightly distorted,

the resulting emotions and actions that flow from them can be extremely negative and unhelpful. The object of CBT is to identify these ‘automatic thoughts’ then to re-adjust our thoughts and beliefs so that they are entirely realistic and correspond to the realities of our lives, and that therefore, the resulting emotions, feelings and actions we have will be more useful and helpful.

Cognitive therapists do not usually interpret or seek for unconscious motivations but bring cognitions and beliefs into the current focus of attention and through guided discovery encourage clients to gently re-evaluate their thinking.

Therapy is not seen as something “done to” the client. CBT is not about trying to prove a client wrong and the therapist right, or getting into unhelpful debates. Through collaboration, questioning and re-evaluating their views, clients come to see for themselves that there are alternatives and that they can change.

Clients try things out in between therapy sessions, putting what has been learned into practice, learning how therapy translates into real life improvement.

Please visit this website for much more detailed information on CBT:

http://www.rcpsych.ac.uk/mentalhealthinfoforall/treatments/cbt.aspx

If he cannot afford to see a therapist, there are good free CBT based self-help resources here:

http://www.getselfhelp.co.uk/cbtstep1.htm

In addition, be careful what you say to him . There are some things you can do, and here are some tips:

What you can say that helps:

I’m here for you – you’re not alone.

What causes your these thoughts and feelings is a real illness, and it can be treated..

You may not believe it now, but someday, this will pass and you’ll feel differently.

I care about you and want to help, even if I don’t really understand what you are going through right now, how you feel, and what you’re thinking

Don’t ever give up – just hang on one more minute or hour – whatever you can.

You are important to me. Your life is important to me, and to everybody who knows you

I’d like you to tell me what I can do now to help you.

We can get through this together

Don’t say:

Cheer up- it could be worse

Quit worrying about it – you’ll be fine

Your just imagining it, it’s all in your head.

Everybody feels like this sometimes

Why do you want to die – look at the life you’ve got.

You’ll just have to help yourself

I’d have thought you would be better by now.

Get over it and snap out of it.

Grow up and act like an adult.

What’s the matter with you anyway?


You’ll also find some helpful information here:

http://www.familyaware.org/

Best wishes, NormanM

Norman M., Principal psychotherapist in private practice. Newspaper contributor, over 2000 satisfied clients on JA
Category: Mental Health
Satisfied Customers: 2542
Experience: ADHP(NC), DEHP(NC), ECP, UKCP Registered.
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