Paper Urges Physicians to Help People Identify, Discuss Depression

Depression is a psychological concern that affects a large number of people, yet many of these people are unaware of what the issue is, and still fewer people seek treatment. Though the ability of psychotherapy and other approaches to help clients understand and overcome symptoms of depression has been gaining ground in recent years, yet many clients remain unaware of the concern, or experience feelings of shame or other difficulty in connection with social stigma. Such issues can be greatly helped with a proper response from general practice physicians, suggests a recent paper published in the Journal of General Internal Medicine.

The paper singles out a number of objectives for doctors when working with clients who may be experiencing depression. Among these objectives, the paper’s authors note that using more than standard diagnostic surveys may sometimes be necessary to make an accurate diagnosis. The authors also suggest that doctors help their clients name the feelings of distress or unhappiness they experience, as having no verbal reference for such concerns can encourage patters of symptom neglect and treatment avoidance. The paper further points out that doctors can help clients greatly by removing any feelings of blame; though it may be helpful to explain that certain genetic, personality, and lifestyle factors may be involved in higher chances of experiencing depression, doctors should, the paper emphasizes, communicate to clients that they are not at fault for their symptoms.

Through helping clients find ways to identify and discuss their symptoms, the paper proposes, doctors may greatly help in the transition from early warning signs of depression to suitable treatment with a psychotherapist, a process that is currently often delayed or stopped altogether before clients find relief. By adopting these guidelines, doctors may be able to greatly aid the progress of mental health care.

© Copyright 2010 by By Noah Rubinstein, LMFT, LMHC, therapist in Olympia, Washington. All Rights Reserved. Permission to publish granted to

The preceding article was solely written by the author named above. Any views and opinions expressed are not necessarily shared by Questions or concerns about the preceding article can be directed to the author or posted as a comment below.

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  • dee dee

    dee dee

    May 23rd, 2010 at 9:23 AM

    All of this is great but I think that the one thing that I was most disappointed in when I was battling my own bout with depression is that no one encouraged me by saying that this was not my fault and that it was ok to have the feelings and thoughts that I was having but there are more therapeutic ways to deal with them instead of just holing up inside myself. I think that had someone worked with me and encouraged me that there was a better way I would have come out of that funk a whole lot more quickly than what I did. It was like everyone that I needed disappeared and di not know what to do so they went away. Don’t do that to your friends if they are going through this same thing. The only way to enjoy life again is to not check out and forget to be a part of it.

  • steve M

    steve M

    May 23rd, 2010 at 12:09 PM

    depression is now affecting a lot of people and the problem is that most people do not talk about it.why,most cases of depression are because of not actually talking enough about the to encourage this discussion is a good thing for sure.

  • Brett


    May 23rd, 2010 at 5:20 PM

    Sometimes we just feel so low that we cannot go on, at least for the moment. I is hard to explain what is happening to us…We just cannot describe the feeling. If such a condition is occurring regularly for you, it may well be depression that is actually bothering you. I know this because I had m brother go through this due to work-pressure… He used to put in a lot of effort and in spite of that he just could not get that promotion that he so wanted and that is what led him to the depression. He had to go through a lengthy recovery process,which in turn affected his career in a big way.

  • eliza


    May 24th, 2010 at 4:35 AM

    some great points made by this article- if the patients are allowed to name the problem that then gives them a feeling of ownership, a feeling that they now know what is going on and they can take the necessray steps to conquer that demon

  • dana H.

    dana H.

    May 24th, 2010 at 4:42 AM

    depression may seem to be a very small problem but it is also something that can quickly escalate into something very big and lead to a range of newer problems because there are just so many disorders that flourish in the presence of depression, both psychological and physical problems.

  • L.Curran


    May 24th, 2010 at 3:56 PM

    Discussion about a person’s depression by the medical professional it self would lead to clearing of a lot of things and will definitely be helpful in getting rid of the depression it self.

    Any person’s depression is compounded when he/she does not talk about it and keeps it within himself/herself.So talking and finding a solution to it is the best way forward.

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Title   Content   Author is not intended to be a substitute for professional advice, diagnosis, medical treatment, or therapy. Always seek the advice of your physician or qualified mental health provider with any questions you may have regarding any mental health symptom or medical condition. Never disregard professional psychological or medical advice nor delay in seeking professional advice or treatment because of something you have read on