Psychological therapies

The decision whether to take an antidepressant, or undertake psychological therapy, or combine both approaches, is very individual. Talk to your doctor about what you think will work best for you.

Two people talking in a psychology consultation

Cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) helps you change unrealistic, negative ways of thinking.
Image: Rob Marmion/

You can have psychological therapy with a psychologist, a psychiatrist or a GP who has done special training. It is important to find a therapist you feel comfortable with — this will help you get the most out of your therapy. Your therapist may use a combination of techniques.

Of the psychological therapies, cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) has the most evidence showing a benefit for depression. It helps you change unrealistic, negative ways of thinking.

Interpersonal therapy (IPT) also has convincing evidence of benefit in depression. It helps you find better ways of handling relationships with other people.

Other types of psychological therapies have not been studied as much as CBT or IPT, so it is difficult to say how helpful they are for depression.

You can also do CBT yourself through an online CBT program.

Books based on the principles of CBT can also be helpful.

For more information

  • National Collaborating Centre for Mental Health. Depression: the NICE guideline on the treatment and management of depression in adults (updated edition). London: National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence, 2010. (accessed 9 February 2012).