Online Mindfulness Therapy for Depression
This service is for people who are highly motivated to change, who want to take charge of their life, but do not want to indulge in years of “talk therapy” or depend on medications.
At the Center for Mindfulness Psychotherapy in Boulder, Colorado, its founder Peter Strong has developed a unique strategy for working with persistent emotional problems such as depression, anxiety and trauma-related anxiety called Mindfulness Meditation Therapy.
Please feel free to email me to find out more about Online Mindfulness Therapy with me. During these sessions I will teach you how to apply mindfulness, including mindfulness meditation for promoting recovery from all forms of anxiety disorders, including Generalized Anxiety Disorder and Social Anxiety Disorder, Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder, depression and other forms of emotional suffering using the well-tested techniques of Mindfulness Therapy.
This approach is particularly effective and most clients notice noticeable reduction in the intensity of your anxiety or depression after the first few sessions with me.
Online Mindfulness-based Skype Psychotherapy is highly effective for controlling anxiety and depression without using drugs. Treat the cause of your emotional pain rather than just suppressing symptoms.
The principle healing factors developed during Mindfulness Meditation Therapy are Consciousness, which is vital for overcoming the reactive habits that cause anxiety and depression, and Inner Compassion, which is what accelerates healing and resolution of emotional suffering.
“I really don’t want to continue taking medications to treat my anxiety. I hate the side-effects. I feel that this online counseling has given me the tools I needed to stop my panic attacks. Mindfulness therapy has been very effective treatment for me – and enjoyable too!”
Online Therapy for Depression – Online Therapist for Depression via Skype
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Send me an email now. Tell me about yourself and how I can help you. Schedule a trial session via Skype now.
ONLINE THERAPY FOR DEPRESSION
Depression has many forms, and you should think of it as a spectrum of emotion ranging from mild mood changes on one end to clinical depression at the other end, which may require medical intervention. You should always consult a doctor id you are suffering from clinical depression. However, most people suffer from milder forms of depression that represent the difficulty in adjusting to the many stresses and challenges of life in combination with emotional problems experienced during childhood. Problems in our relationship to our parents, potential emotional and physical abuse create the foundations for depression for many people. You do not necessarily have an illness if you are depressed, you may simply be having a hard time adjusting to trauma or difficult core emotions relating to self-image and poor self-esteem.
ONLINE TREATMENT FOR GENERAL DEPRESSION & SPECIFIC DEPRESSION
For many, depression is more of a dysfunctional habit; the product of negative habitual patterns of thinking, negative beliefs and destructive patterns of behavior, including addictions. The good news is that habits can be changed, and Mindfulness Therapy is one of the most effective ways of working with the underlying core emotions that cause your depression.
Online Therapist Dr. Peter Strong offers Online Therapy via Skype for Depression. Mindfulness Therapy is very effective for healing the underlying cause of depression, anxiety and emotional stress. Now Mindfulness Therapy is available online via Skype.
Email inquiries welcome.
Specific Types of Depression that respond well to Mindfulness Therapy
- Online Therapy for Building Self-Esteem & Self-Confidence
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- Online Mindfulness Therapy for Bipolar Disorder
Managing our emotions more effectively
Emotions like depression and anxiety, or excessive worrying and fear, depend on negative core beliefs and ruminative negative thinking. Ultimately, we need to neutralize these negative beliefs and replace them with more functional positive and life-supporting beliefs and thinking. The issue, of course, is how do we do this? It is not sufficient to simply tell yourself to stop worrying or to stop having negative thoughts. If it was that easy then you would have corrected the problem long ago. We must take a deeper look at the mechanics of depression and negative beliefs if we are to make a beneficial change.
Fundamentally, negative thinking and associated beliefs are a form of habitual mental reactivity that has become established and that operates unconsciously, without our choice or input. An event happens and a thought or emotional reaction arises in consciousness and then we automatically believe and identify with the reaction. He says such and such and a reaction of anger or hurt or disappointment arises in the mind. We then become the anger or hurt or disappointment. This is the nature of habitual reactivity: There is a trigger, which is an objective phenomenon; there is a subjective reaction to that phenomenon; and then there is identification with the subjective cognitive or emotional reaction followed by becoming the emotional reaction. This whole reactive sequence from trigger to becoming depends on two factors: Ignorance, or unawareness, and blind identification, or attachment with your subjective reactions.
The first step in Mindfulness Meditation Therapy (MMT) is to develop a clear and profound understanding that you do not have to become your reactions, and that you do not have to be victimized by your mental reactions. There is no law that condemns you to feel depressed because a depressing thought arose in your mind; or worried, because a worrying thought arose; or angry, because an angry thought arose. It is only because of our blind habitual identification with these mental objects that we become their victims.
Therefore, the first and most important task is to awaken to what is going on and become aware of mental reactions as and when they arise. This is the first function of mindfulness training: learning to become vigilant and recognize a reaction as a reaction and stop right there, before it has the chance to proliferate into a full blown cognitive and emotional reaction. Catch the reactions at their initial stage, when they are still little more than an impulse. Learn to recognize the anger impulse and stop at that flash of recognition and before the impulse has a chance to manifest as a bodily reaction with accompanying angry thinking, angry speaking and angry actions. This is a skill that has to be developed, and success depends on catching the reaction early enough. But with practice, you will become more and more familiar with the subtle undercurrents and signs of an impending emotional reaction.
Depression feeds on negative thoughts that generate anxiety and a feeling of helplessness or loneliness or emptiness. Don’t be a victim of these mental objects, but take the initiative to learn to cultivate mindfulness of these mental reactions and catch them before they take hold. The same with fear reactions, worry reactions, stress reactions; reactions of disappointment, loss, sorrow, regret; anger, envy and jealousy; dislike, hatred, disapproval; or insatiable longing and wanting things to be a certain way. Rather than being a victim of your thoughts and emotions, learn to become an expert in recognizing what arises in your mind.
The second part of MMT is to learn how to respond to all these mental reactions after you have learned to recognize them when they arise. After Recognition comes Response and after Response comes Relationship.
The response phase of mindfulness starts by understanding that thoughts, emotions, beliefs, memories, perceptions, and, in fact, any contents that arise in the mind are simply that: contents, mental objects, things that take on a particular form depending on past conditioning. Ultimately, you are not your thoughts or emotions or any other of the bewildering variety of mental objects that arise in the mind through conditioning. Learning to see your emotions like this, as objects, rather than as you, introduces a very important shift in perception that is profoundly liberating. Suddenly, you begin to get the sense that you are actually much, much larger than your depression, anxiety, anger or other of the objects that form the contents of your mind. The reality of your being is more like the ocean or sky, neither of which can be equated to the fish or birds that arise in it. The ocean is not its contents; it is the space that is able to contain objects, and the variety of objects that it can contain is infinite; you are infinite. Needless to say, developing a sense of this new perspective about your true identity will have profound consequences on your general state of happiness. So much of our unhappiness and mental suffering comes from a very contracted sense of identity in which we cling to our habitual reactions, believing that we are our anxiety, depression, anger and fear.
Thus, the first part of the response phase of mindfulness is to see contents as objects to which we can relate, examine, investigate and hold in our awareness. The next part of the response of mindfulness describes the quality of that response. First and foremost, the mindful-response does not involve further reactions of thinking or emotions; it is a response on non-reactivity. The mindful-response is a process of opening to our experience, opening to our pain and suffering, our fear and depression or any of the objects that we have recognized as arising in consciousness. We learn to greet these objects as visitors, as guests that have something to teach us. We learn to hold our inner suffering as a mother holds her baby, with care and attention and lots of patience, and above all love. We make a space for the worry-thought, or the anger, or grief or sorrow. Just like the ocean or sky, there is plenty of room for all.
In Buddhist psychology, the response of mindfulness is described by the term metta, loving-kindness and friendliness. This is not a fuzzy idealistic kind of love, but a clear understanding that you can never overcome suffering with aversion and aggression. Pain will not go away through resistance and will power. Metta means turning towards your pain, facing your pain with open arms, or what is commonly called, “getting in touch with your feelings.” We all know the importance of doing this, but seldom know how to do it. The mindfulness response gives us a very direct way to get in touch with the feelings and other mental objects that make up our depression or anxiety or feelings of helplessness and emptiness.
Through mindfulness we have learned how to recognize our depression-causing reactions and how to respond to them as objects to be known fully and held in the safe spaciousness of metta. Next comes the development and cultivation of this compassionate and open relationship with suffering. Actually, we have done most of the hard work already in getting to this point. Now we simply maintain and sustain this quality of engaged-presence with the emotion. This is why we call the process Mindfulness Meditation Therapy, because we make the emotional object the very center of our meditation for contemplation and investigation.
We now embark on the profound work of listening, based on mindfulness, metta and stillness. The mindful-relationship is not about doing or trying to analyze or fix things, but about listening with an open heart and mind. It’s about allowing our inner emotions to unfold and express themselves in the way that they need to change, rather than according to any plan that we might have for them.
When you listen to a friend who is in pain, you don’t immediately respond by giving them advice. It is always better to listen first and create a safe space in which the person can express himself. It is the same with our emotions. Create a safe space for them and they will reward you by loosening their grip on you. Give them freedom and they will give you freedom. Often this simple action of non-doing, but rather responding by being fully present is sufficient to defuse the emotion. It unwinds and loses its compulsive energy, and eventually resolves by itself. It is not what we do that matters as much as the quality of how we relate to our core emotions, whether we react out of ignorance and unawareness or respond with mindfulness and full awareness.
In practice, I teach clients to recognize their emotional reactions and then respond with mindfulness and to do this throughout the day in mini meditation sessions of 2-5 minutes. Simply take a few minutes out to sit with your emotions and be completely there for them as you would for a child or for your friend. Learn to cradle your emotions and reactions with love and attention, rather than ignoring them or resisting them, which is our usual reaction. Do this many times throughout the day and see for yourself the difference that it makes.
It all begins by recognizing that you are not your thoughts and then proceeds to a caring relationship in which you respond to your thoughts and emotions with mindfulness and take the time to develop a relationship with your inner visitors as welcome guests to be embraced and attended to with love and attention. You do not have to change them, but you do have to be completely present with them. When this relationship takes form, the suffering will heal by itself, or if it does not heal immediately, then you will have established a therapeutic relationship that will facilitate healing in one way or another.
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What You Need to Know About Depression Medications
Take some time to read this article on antidepressants: https://www.helpguide.org/articles/depression/antidepressant-medication.htm
I would specifically refer you to this section:
Is depression really caused by a chemical imbalance in the brain?
You’ve seen it in television ads, read it in newspaper articles, maybe even heard it from your doctor: depression is caused by a chemical imbalance in the brain that medication can correct. The truth is that there is very little—if any—research to support this theory. It’s a triumph of pharmaceutical marketing over science.
While antidepressants do increase the levels of the neurotransmitter serotonin in the brain, this doesn’t mean that depression is caused by a serotonin shortage. After all, aspirin may cure a headache, but that doesn’t mean headaches are caused by an aspirin deficiency.
Mindfulness Meditation Therapy for Depression
Depression and anxiety are very prevalent problems in today’s society, affecting almost all of us at some time in our lives. For many, and estimates are as high as 40% of adults, depression can be a chronic problem that severely impacts the quality of life, happiness and personal relationships. However, there are many things that we can do to manage depression and one of the most important approaches is to work on changing the underlying patterns of negative thinking at the core of depression.
Mindfulness Therapy is one of the most effective tools for doing this, because it helps us tune in at a very detailed way into the whole process of habitual reactive thinking. Mindfulness also provides the right kind of inner space, the therapeutic space as it is called in mindfulness psychology that promotes the transformation and healing of the trapped emotional energy that fuels negative thinking.
Mindfulness Therapy is, in some ways, like a cat-and-mouse game in which you develop the finely tuned attention of a cat, forever watchful and patient, as it sits in front of a mouse hole, waiting for its prey to emerge. In our case the prey are not mice, but the countless negative thoughts and emotional reactions that emerge from the shadows of our conditioned mind.
In Mindfulness Therapy and Mindfulness Meditation, we train our senses, continually refining them so that we become expert hunters, able to see the impulse to react before it takes hold. This is much better than staying stuck as the victim, which of course is one of the major contributing factors in depression. Rather than feeling helpless and waiting for suffering to grab us by the throat, we choose to face it by teaching ourselves how to become an expert hunter, and this means learning to become experts at recognizing the impulse to react before it is converted into unskillful action. In mindfulness psychology, we call this cultivating “mindfulness of the arising of mental phenomena.”
Depressed people often feel unable to cope with their emotional reactions to life events and tend to feel continually overwhelmed by them. Feeling overwhelmed leads to inertia and fatigue, which makes us less able to cope. Depression is a response in which the mind literally closes down and contracts, and withdraws from the world. But it is important to realize that this is not immutable, not truth, but simply the result of some pretty powerful conditioning that has caused us to become enslaved by our emotional reactions, negative thinking and beliefs. Beliefs, thoughts and emotional reactions can all be changed, but first we must learn to become a hunter and take the initiative to train ourselves to catch our negative thoughts “in the act.”
What next, after we have caught our reactions?
This is the crux of the matter. Developing the art of mindfulness of the arising of reactions is immensely important, but what you do next will define whether the reactivity will be able to change, transform and resolve itself, and whether you will be able to break free of its grip.
For those who follow the path of mindfulness, we choose to actively greet the reaction, the impulse that is stirring, the emotion or thought that is trying to take control. We literally greet it with, “Welcome. I acknowledge you. You are most welcome here, please take a seat.” We learn not to run away from the impulse, and not to react to it with aversion to the emotions stirring inside. We watch very carefully for the secondary impulses to become involved in the reaction or emotion, to become caught up in the story and identified with the contents of thinking. Mindfulness is not thinking about things; it is the direct awareness of things as they are, without an observer, without an ego evaluating, judging and commenting. This is what we call the Response of Mindfulness, the choice to be fully present and aware without becoming reactive. Reactivity is enslavement and leads to more of the same; it inhibits change. Responsiveness is freedom from thoughts and emotions and this promotes change, transformation and healing. Reactivity closes the mind; mindfulness opens both the mind and the heart, and it is in this therapeutic space that real change can take place.
Therefore, after Recognition comes Relationship, the acceptance of the right of our inner thoughts and emotions to exist, which is the foundation of love and compassion. Ultimately, nothing can resist this powerful presence, and everything becomes free to change and heal itself in the light and warmth of mindfulness. Quite simply, mindfulness heals because it is about caring and learning how to care for the suffering that lies within. This is not abstract love, but love directed at the detailed “mess” that is the turmoil of our mind. We choose, as the hunter chooses, to bring this healing spaciousness to each fragment of the mind; each negative thought, belief and emotion.
We choose to “sit” with each and give it the space in which to unfold, unwind and release its grip. In this therapeutic space of mindfulness, painful emotions, anger, hurt, guilt or fear are at last allowed to heal in their own unique way. They need the freedom to complete their dance, which is called cultivating the “mindfulness of the existence of that which has arisen.”
Suffering and the depression that results from chronic suffering is caused by not allowing inner pain to complete its dance and to do whatever it needs to do to attain resolution, and bring about the release of emotional energy that has become trapped and frozen in place. Completion requires inner freedom, which is the conscious awareness and presence that we call mindfulness. Mindfulness is the stage on which experience can complete its dance and come to a close. This is called cultivation of the “mindfulness of the cessation of phenomena.”
When we train in mindfulness, we learn to do this from moment to moment, cultivating mindfulness of the arising of experience, the dance of experience and the cessation of experience. When we allow this to proceed without interruption and resistance, then we can sublimate depression, anxiety, fear and worry, and release that trapped energy back into the psyche where it becomes available to produce action and change in our daily life and in our relationships.
This is not metaphysical speculation, not New Age idealism, but something that can be directly experienced and felt. I invite you to learn more about mindfulness, mindfulness meditation and Mindfulness Meditation Therapy, and apply these teachings to transform and heal your depression or anxiety.
Today, many psychotherapists, counselors and life coaches recognize the widespread need for education in the field of emotional management and self-help, and are offering this in the form of personalized coaching online, particularly through email correspondence and Skype sessions. Online coaching offers many advantages to the client, and convenience has to be one of the greatest reasons why Online Counseling is becoming more and more popular.
Another very important advantage of Online Counseling is that it empowers the client, allowing him or her to direct the process in a way that works for them. The very process of writing down ones thoughts and feelings and preparing for a Skype video session is therapeutic in itself. The Online Therapy process also helps both client and therapist focus on designing specific solutions to specific problems. Often this will involve exercises and “homework” assignments that the client can experiment with at home.
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Online psychological therapy is effective in reducing depression
Published: 6 March, 2017 by Black Dog Institute of Australia
A global meta analysis demonstrates the effectiveness and social potential for self-guided, internet-based depression treatment.
One in seven Australians experience major depression in their lifetime, yet up to 70% of people reporting depression symptoms will not seek treatment. This has a huge impact on the health and well-being of our community and is a contributor to our rising suicide rate.
An international meta-analysis, published in JAMA Psychiatry, has provided irrefutable evidence that clinically developed, online psychological therapy provides a highly effective and accessible solution to this growing problem.
Black Dog Institute Director Prof Helen Christensen, one of the study authors and a global leader in the development and delivery of online mental health tools, says this important finding cannot be ignored by our governing health bodies.
“This research clearly shows that self-guided, online psychological therapy is effective for most people experiencing depression, regardless of severity or background.”
“We know that a significant number of Australians with depression won’t, or can’t, access formal mental health treatment due to factors such as stigma, cost, availability of services and time limitations.”
“Self-guided, internet-based cognitive behavioural therapy enables users to engage with good quality mental health programs by simply accessing their computer, tablet or Smartphone.”
“They can undertake treatment where and when they feel most comfortable, and programs can be easily supported by a local GP as well as mental health practitioners.
“In Australia, e-mental health programs such as MyCompass are already widely available and have been proven to significantly reduce depression and anxiety symptoms.”
“Black Dog Institute researchers have conducted rigorous studies to show that e-mental health programs can be used to treat insomnia, reduce thoughts of suicide and prevent the onset of mental illness in young people.”
“The problem we have is not in developing good quality programs, it is getting the funding and support required to deliver them.”
“As mental health researchers and clinicians, we simply cannot understand why access to these cost effective and more user-friendly solutions are not being prioritised over expensive face-to-face therapy or medication-based treatment.
“Imagine the outcry if our governments ignored strong evidence about safe, accessible and non-invasive cancer treatments?”
“Our government and clinical organisations urgently need to start recommending these programs, and providing them with the same support and infrastructure as other medical treatments.”
“The World Health Organisations has stated that depression will be the biggest cause of health burden in the world by 2030. This is not something we can ignore as people’s lives are at stake.”
Does this interest you? Send me an email now. Tell me about yourself and how I can help you. Schedule a trial session via Skype now.
Peter Strong, PhD is a professional online psychotherapist, teacher and author based in Boulder, Colorado, who specializes in the study of mindfulness and its application in Mindfulness-based Online Psychotherapy for healing the root causes of anxiety, depression and stress.
Email inquiries welcome.
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Read my answers to questions posted on Quora about Online Mindfulness therapy for overcoming depression: