Trauma as a Seed of Depression

Sad-woman-looking-downIn my practice, people trace depression back to trauma most of the time. Emotional trauma is an overwhelming shock to a person’s equilibrium. Trauma might be linked to an emotional, physical, or sexual attack or witnessing such an attack. War, rape, murder, accidents, and even well-intentioned medical procedures might all lead to trauma. So can single or repeated incidents of shaming and other emotional and verbal attacks. Trauma can also happen when heartbreaking losses of any kind occur.

When people are traumatized, it often shapes their beliefs about themselves or life. These trauma-induced beliefs—such as “I’m never safe,” “I’m unlovable,” “I’m a monster,” “love is dangerous,” “I’m a failure,” “I’m helpless”—affect how people feel and often contribute to depression. Sometimes an individual’s belief is based on something that was true at the moment of the trauma: “I’m helpless” is true when a person is in surgery under anesthesia (where unconsciously-remembered thoughts can still affect us).

But beliefs that formed during a traumatic event are stored without information about what that means over time. So “I’m helpless at this moment” can become “I’m always helpless.” This underlying belief may contribute to depression and helpless behavior indefinitely. If this person doesn’t get a chance to talk about their helpless feelings and express their emotions, they could carry that belief into the rest of their life. It is trauma that turns time-limited events into a part of people’s belief system and identity. It makes sense that people would be depressed when they believe they have no personal power to create the life they want.

“I’m a Coward”

Trauma-related beliefs can be a formative part of a person’s personality, particularly if trauma occurs in childhood. The trauma-related beliefs can be so painful that the traumatized person has to develop ways to coping with the belief—and then the methods for coping become a new part of who the person is.

For example, say a child watches his mother get mugged and freezes in fear until it’s over. Perhaps in his child mind, he concludes, “I’m a coward.” Living with the belief that he is a coward is so painful that he deals with it by trying to prove he’s brave: picking fights and engaging in high-risk behavior. These behaviors give him a euphoric feeling of self-confidence and he gets some relief from the pain of the “I’m a coward” belief. The combination of euphoria and the desire to avoid the shame of believing he’s a coward keeps him trying risky things.

He is new to taking risks, so he and others begin to think of him with a new identity. Risky behaviors get him in trouble in school, which means other kids in trouble gravitate toward him while cautious kids avoid him. This makes it hard for him to do well in school and he develops an identity as a tough street kid with crime rather than college in his future. This trauma-belief comes to shape every decision he makes and pretty much everything about him: who he dates, what he does for money, where he lives, who his friends are.

In situations where he might feel vulnerable or scared, he doesn’t dare show it for fear of revealing himself as a “coward.” So when he experiences other trauma, he can’t express his vulnerable feelings, which keeps him from processing the trauma, causing each new trauma to incapacitate him further. When he does start to feel vulnerable, afraid, or sad, he uses drugs or alcohol to suppress the feelings and give him the high of confidence again.

At some point, this man may realize he is depressed, perhaps when a friend dies of an overdose, a woman he loves leaves him, or he ends up in jail or a hospital. At this point, unraveling his story to find what is causing the depression will be complicated. The depression he feels is caused by this most recent loss, but it’s also caused by drugs and alcohol, living a life that keeps him from reaching his potential, and the self-hate that has developed over the years through taking risks despite serious consequences. But ultimately, the depression began when he watched his mother get mugged. When that is resolved, and he realizes he never was a coward, that freezing was normal and even wise at that moment, he will feel much better. He will probably begin to feel free to redefine himself and make different choices for his life. But because his whole life has been based on the way he reacted to trauma and the way he continued to react to his reaction, he will also have to unravel and replace all the aspects of his life and self-image that were created by that initial belief and shame that he was a coward.

“I’m Worthless”

Another example: imagine a child who is sexually assaulted by an adult. That child may respond to the trauma by believing “I’m only worth something if I’m being used for someone’s sexual satisfaction.” It’s not hard to imagine that this child might become an adult who deals with this belief by being sexually available to many people, who she may not even find attractive, as a way of getting some temporary relief from feeling worthless.

Being sexual with many people becomes part of her personality and identity, both of which would have been very different if she hadn’t been assaulted as a child. When this method of coping with trauma stops working—maybe because she can’t find lovers anymore, or she gets caught compulsively having sex outside her marriage and loses her husband—she may become depressed. She will be depressed about the recent changes in her life, but again, ultimately, the depression comes from the original trauma, and from the problems caused by trying to cope with the original trauma.

As complicated as these scenarios may seem, the origins of a given person’s depression can be even more complicated. Sometimes trauma isn’t involved in the origins of depression, but most of the time, with enough exploration, I find the roots of depression in trauma.

© Copyright 2010 by Cynthia W. Lubow, MS, MFT. 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.

  • Leave a Comment
  • Deidre

    September 4th, 2010 at 6:12 AM

    I am depressed right now and have been working with my counselor on this exact issue, trying to pinpoint exactly when this all kicked in. I would have to say that it happened right about the time when I was in a bad wreck a few months ago and could not work anymore. Not only was my way to make a living taken away but so was my sense of independence for a while. I am working my way back to where I was but I know it takes time to do that.

  • Cynthia Lubow

    September 5th, 2010 at 1:14 AM


    It sounds like you are on track, unless you have unresolved trauma from the accident. Having emotional trauma symptoms after a car accident is very common. You might consider being evaluated by an EMDR therapist. If the core of your depression is the trauma itself, and not just the temporary losses you experienced after the accident, having a few sessions of EMDR could make a huge difference! You can watch videos about EMDR at

  • Jayma

    September 5th, 2010 at 4:13 AM

    There are many roots to depression, with traima being but one. It may be a bit irresponsible to allow patients with clinical depression to believe that they have to find something that they can pinpoint that led them to this state. For many people this is unknowable. There is nothing in particualr that triggers depression in many people other than screwed up body chemistry in many cases. These are things that can be handled through lots of hard work with a therapist. But to make people believe that there always has to be some kind of known trigger point is simply not true.

  • Cynthia Lubow

    September 5th, 2010 at 11:48 AM

    Absolutely, there are people who are just born with brain chemistry that is the chief component in depression. There are also people who will never know the reason for their depression. But when depression starts after having a “bad wreck,” or any other traumatic event, it’s very important to explore the role of the accident/trauma in the depression.

  • M Levinstein

    September 6th, 2010 at 2:25 AM

    mom saw a huge accident years ago in which two people died.although she was not in a position to help them because they died almost immediatly,she blames herself for not having helped them even to this day.

    whenever she reads or hears about an accident she trembles and starts crying often saying that she could have saved their lives.i do not think this is to serious an issue to take her to there an alternative?

  • kennedy

    September 6th, 2010 at 10:54 AM

    I’m no expert but I think you can have a heart-to-heart talk with your mom regarding what actually went on during the accident and how any help from her side would have been of no use because the people actually died immediately.

    She can then be given time to think about this and hopefully she will understand that no help could have saved their lives and that sometimes things are just how they are, they do not change even if we want them to.

  • Deidre

    September 6th, 2010 at 2:19 PM

    Thanks for that information Cynthia. I am going to talk with my current therapist about EMDR and how that could benefit me. I appreciate the tip.

  • Leni

    September 6th, 2010 at 4:04 PM

    Please tell me in short why people tend to remember these traumatic events more than normal rememberance. It seems like something different is happening in a person’s brain that makes this possible.

    I would also like to know if the person is able to remember all the minute details of the event clearly. I just came across this blog, and am now inquisitive to know more. Thanks,
    Leni :)

  • TW

    September 7th, 2010 at 2:22 AM

    Revisiting and thinking about what exactly happened and going through the episode with a new perspective often shows a person what he or she missed seeing all the while. This will also, most often, result in the visibility of a solution that can help the person overcome the trauma and get back his or her normal life and stop thinking about the event after that.

  • Maggie W

    September 7th, 2010 at 4:37 AM

    Any time that you are faced with a harsh event or situation in your life it can throw you for a loop, get you off track. And for so many of us that has been when the seeds of trauma and depression have been planted, leaving many of us with years of therapy and working things out to get back to a happier and healthier place in our lives.

    But this is do-able!! You can undo those seeds of trauma and weed out the bad and foster only the good again. It may not feel like you can but this is something that can be overcome.

  • Cynthia Lubow

    September 8th, 2010 at 12:11 AM

    Of course therapy is what I know best, so I may be biased, but M. Levinstein, I think your mother is suffering much more than she probably has to. If she has that strong a reaction that you see, she probably has other areas of suffering that you don’t see. I assume you and others around her have tried to reason with her, and have made no impression. I would strongly recommend her contacting an EMDR therapist. If this guilt is not connected to any previous guilt or trauma, you mother could be free of this suffering in a few sessions of EMDR. She owes it to herself to get this help. If she does have previous guilt or trauma getting triggered by this accident, EMDR can help that too–it just takes longer. Don’t let her suffer for decades with this, if you possibly can. It may be that she is punishing herself for her preceived guilt by not getting help. This is something she can work out with the therapist, if she just goes. Be sure the therapist has plenty of training and experience with EMDR. is a good place to start looking for a therapist.

  • Patrick

    July 25th, 2012 at 1:30 PM

    This is the first time I have looked for help outside of my friends and family. I suffer from depression, and I believe a host of other problems as well. I worry about the consequences of my life and I feel a significant fear and trauma about that. I feel like I’m in a never ending circle. I feel depressed about life, and that, and what I believe are other problems, paralyses me, so I can’t progress my life. I will seek help, the fear and trauma of some things is just horrific and I don’t know how to face everyday.

  • kim

    July 28th, 2013 at 7:22 PM

    my dad used to put me down for years made me feel a pest constsantly called me it and I witnessed him beat my mum up over and over again and house always smashed up I I have been depressed for years I cry and get angry a lot feel like im going mad just don’t want to live :(

  • admin2

    July 29th, 2013 at 11:39 AM

    Hi Kim,
    Thank you so much for your comment. We are concerned by the sentiments you’re sharing and want to make sure you have access to resources that may help. It is very important that you get in touch with professionals immediately if you are experiencing a life-threatening emergency, in danger of hurting yourself or others, feeling suicidal, overwhelmed, or in crisis!

    • Call your local law enforcement agency (911);
    • Go to the nearest hospital emergency room;
    • Call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255 (TTY:1-800-799-4TTY)- Call to speak with someone who cares; call if you feel you might be in danger of hurting yourself; call to find referrals to mental health services in your area; call to speak to a crisis worker about someone you’re concerned about.

    Please know that if you are international the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline might not be able to help you, but you can still go to your local law enforcement agency, and go to your nearest hospital.

    We wish you the very best,
    The Team

  • lisa g.

    June 27th, 2014 at 2:18 PM

    I was raised in an extreme religious cult. The abuse, on multiple levels, has caused emotional issues, anxiety, and addiction which has plagued my life. I was only 5 when forced into this cult… and wasn’t able to leave until age 26. I am 48 now. Thank you for writing this.

  • Cynthia Lubow, MFT

    June 27th, 2014 at 3:45 PM

    Hi Lisa,

    I hope you can resolve the impact of these multiple traumas in good EMDR therapy!

  • Kati's

    August 20th, 2014 at 7:01 AM

    Hi, my fiancé broke up with me without any important reason, that left me heart-broken, I’m so depressed and I feel so lonely, I feel that my life is empty and it doesn’t feel the same. I keep thinking of him and I badly wish he comes back, but this is not going to situation is becoming worse and worse with time, flashbacks are always there, we were planning our wedding in several months but not anymore now…
    The more time passes the worse my feeling is, although people told me I will forget and feel better with time, i don’t have friends, and he used to be all my life, we used to do all the activities together, now while I’m watching him happy and going on with his life, I’m feeling helpless and very sad, I miss him so much, and I feel so miserable and I’m unable to let take myself out of this depression and sadness, it is even becoming worse :( I’m starving for help

  • Cynthia Lubow, MFT

    August 20th, 2014 at 9:03 AM

    Hi Kati,

    Please find a therapist to work with–we can be very helpful when grief gets worse instead of better, and it sounds like you’ve tried managing it on your own–we all need help sometimes.

  • anna

    August 25th, 2014 at 3:19 PM

    I think the whole mental health system is a joke. 20+ years of therapy and meds and things are worse. People don’t really get better. Look at Marsha Linehan, she developed the gold standard of treatment for Borderline personality, yet she’s still in therapy. Robin Williams with all the resources possibly available to one individual, struggled for years before finally giving in. You don’t recover from mental illness. It’s pretty hopeless. The best hope is to keep staggering forward until finally giving up. That’s the only true end to it.

  • Joanne

    November 16th, 2016 at 11:32 AM

    Totally agree with u my partner experienced a bad life wen younger we were happy together untill we had an argument and he ended his pain and killed himself

  • Jill

    August 25th, 2014 at 7:48 PM

    It would be nice to balance the article with points about the benefits of trauma … things like creativity, insight, wisdom, motivation to change things, growth, spiritual growth, social change, humor and much much more. Life is full of trauma. People and society tend to ignore it until directly affected. Perhaps our society has mistaken expectations that cause frustration and adds even more trauma to society. In an ideal world people would cooperate more.

  • Thomas

    October 23rd, 2014 at 9:26 PM

    It is helpful to frame the difficulties one faces when struggling with unresolved trauma and the concomitant depression and anxiety in terms of “What happened to me?”rather than “What’s wrong with me?” This provides a different perspective and moves the thinking from there being a character flaw in oneself to the understanding that external forces beyond one’s control were responsible for the subsequent difficulties.

  • T

    November 13th, 2014 at 7:12 PM

    Depression is a survival instinct – there is growing research in this area but it can already been seen in clients.

    Depression is often the response to anxiety or high emotion. In a healthier person this balancing act works. But, traumatised clients have damage to the brain neurons – this affects the way serotonin or noradrenalin (for instance) works. Preventing the body from balancing itself out.

    Meds don’t particularly solve this issue – they don’t rewire the brain, they just help the neurons function better which allows therapy to be more successful.

    I wouldn’t say trauma is the seed of all depression. The brain injury brought on by trauma could also be sourced naturally for that person.

    I like emdr as a treatment for PTSD because it helps repair fractured neurons. But it’s not a catch all. I’m not too sure on its effectiveness for automatic thoughts which I think are better served with a combination of approaches.

  • Gerri

    March 19th, 2015 at 8:01 AM

    Absolutely: what happened to me over what’s wrong with me:

  • Kim

    December 8th, 2014 at 7:42 AM

    Depression can be triggered by traumatic life events and also can be caused by the brain’s neuron-related mechanisms. In both of these situations, it is important to seek appropriate help from professionals. Depression can lead to life and death-related situations and needs immediate attention.

  • mary l

    March 19th, 2015 at 3:14 PM

    I was first diagnosed with major depression after my husband died from cancer. i also have ptsd from a rape twenty years ago. with major antidepressants and years of therapy I m still depressed and angry alot. i turn my anger onto myself which doesnt go well. something happened twenty years ago, that i orefer not to talk or think about is affecting me now. weird how mind screws with you.

  • Julie Levin, MFT

    March 19th, 2015 at 8:00 PM

    Cynthia, I have had the same experience in my practice. Anxiety disorders and addictions too are sooo frequently rooted in trauma. Thank you for putting this into words so beautifully.

  • Keely

    June 13th, 2015 at 4:50 PM


    I understand that trauma causes depression I am the result of this… Although I am confused I have been having therapy for 2-3months and feel worse. Guess maybe what is uncovered – being in shock/denial for understanding your dad really was verbally abusive amongst a whole host of other trauma such as my uncle trying groping during the night. I guess what I am asking is – does therapy really help? Therapy has taken me into a deep depression so it is hard to believe it helps it has also made my coping mechanisms worse like eating and drinking which means I am
    Heavier which makes me more depressed so a vicious circle which I feel stuck in. Is MBCT a good suggestion? I am really wondering if psychodynamic counselling is really the answer?

  • Elaine

    June 14th, 2015 at 2:55 AM

    The purpose is to take you back to those most difficult times and how you felt and then to help you learn to manage and move on from those emotions x stick in

  • Stephanie

    September 4th, 2015 at 3:04 PM

    It was and is normal for me to feel worse before better. You’re not alone. Its worth it. I’m going through EMDR therapy. Its great for trauma processing….more gentle then talk therapy alone. Check it out if you can, I googled EMDR therapist in my area but ended up getting a referral from my Equine therapist for a good EMDR therspist. Equine therapy has helped me too, its with horses. Keep fighting, surrender and loving yourself…the light will come back. Sending comfort. ♡

  • Alexa

    June 14th, 2015 at 11:37 AM

    Thank you, Cynthia. I especially appreciate your inclusion of “well-intentioned medical procedures” as a source of trauma. I was born two months early in the late 1950s, and medical intervention both saved my life and left me with a lifetime of aftereffects. Such a paradox: that the necessary invasions both kept me alive and left my brain and being in a state of trauma that I’ve been working to soften for about 35 years now. I have learned that the basal state of my brain is one of depression — depression of function from the brainstem on up. I’ve come to think of the behavioural/cognitive expressions of what we call depression as “only the tip of the brainberg.” There is so much occurring under the surface, in the depths …

  • Jacinta

    August 4th, 2015 at 2:31 AM

    In my experience childhood trauma was the key to unlocking the solution of my road to recovery. I had been sexually assaulted at 4yrs of age and remember the details very vividly. What I hadn’t realised was that I was abused again at 6yrs and this was so traumatic that I had repressed the memory, only remembering glimpses of things not being right. My sense of security throughout my life has been severely impaired, causing difficulty in relationships with men, co-workers, parents, sibling and children. The therapy that has worked best for me has been NET (neuro emotional technique) and after several years of tears and tissues I finally feel liberated from the burden of past negative emotions. Now in my forties I had been searching for the right type of healing and it has had a profound effect on my wellbeing and how I relate to others. Retraining the mind takes work, but understanding and confronting the causes is half the battle. An analogy would be ‘you have to face the darkness, breakdown the barriers, to experience rebirth into the light’. Feelings of anger and resentment has subsided, symptoms of painful endometriosis have vanished and I am able to be more objective and positive. It’s definitely been a mind, body, spirit journey for me. I hope that everyone can find the method which helps them heal themselves

  • Barb

    September 4th, 2015 at 12:26 PM

    What are your thoughts on adoption as trauma? I am the adoptive parent of three beautiful kids and it breaks my heart to witness their struggles. They have good therapists and are all growing emotionally and spiritually but it is a long journey and they are so much more vulnerable to the difficult events in life. The trauma seems to be in the deep, deep sense of being rejected at a very basic human level – as my one daughter puts it, “there must be something really wrong with me if even as a newborn baby she (birth mom) couldn’t love me enough to keep me”.

  • David L

    September 4th, 2015 at 1:56 PM

    Trauma doesn’t affect us at the level of belief – trauma forms IMPLICIT memories, which are handled at the brain stem level and which cause reactions whenever the current environment can be associated with that at the time of the trauma. Thus if you were knocked down and passed out by a big black dog at age 3, many years later if you encounter a similar dog in a similar environment you will react with fear and perhaps freezing, even though the present time dog is friendly or behind a fence. It has nothing to do with your belief about the dog. A Somatic Experiencing therapist (see can work with these memories and desensitize them – EMDR can also be helpful.

  • Sally H.

    September 6th, 2015 at 8:09 PM

    Yes I totally agree.

  • Denise

    September 4th, 2015 at 7:01 PM

    Cynthia I just read your excellent article on trauma and was wondering if you could help me. I work in a Funeral Home and unfortunately we have had numerous suicides in the past couple of months, and this particular article resonated with what most of our clients have express due to the traumatic nature of the deaths. I was wondering if with your permission we might add this to our newsletter that we send out every fall. If this article can help the families we serve in any way then your permission would be greatly appreciated.
    Sincere thanks,

  • ann

    September 4th, 2015 at 9:04 PM

    i have had bouts of depression throughout my life. i think it probably started with a car accident at age 4. my father was killed and i lived. that’s a hard way for a child to grow up and i still have physical problems as a result of the accident. i have seen 3 different therapists at different times in my life, and each time they have helped so much. now i am a successful interior designer and life is good. in fact, just today, i started working on a project redesigning a psychotherapist’s office suite. (not my therapist, btw!) it’s so nice to be able to use my skills to help someone in a profession that has helped me so much in my life. my heart goes out to everyone who seeks help. in my book, they are all heroes.

  • David L.

    September 5th, 2015 at 2:58 PM

    Being adopted as such doesn’t have to be traumatic, but there are many aspects of it that MAY be traumatic. See the work of Peter Levine “trauma-Proofing your Kids, in print or on You Tube.
    When a child doesn’t bond with a human being in the early years, that’s a big trauma (see Attachment Parenting); when a small child is left alone for several hours or days, that’s a big trauma; many births are traumatic, and with adopted children you many not know what happened in birth; early surgeries can be very traumatic, as well as illnesses with high fever, etc. With a lot of love and good somatic therapy, many of these issues can be healed, but it can be a long process.

  • mark

    September 24th, 2015 at 10:21 AM

    My father was physically abusive and emotionally unavailable and an alcoholic. My mother, while being the “better” caregiver, a rage-aholic and used me as a surrogate spouse. My grandmother was a hateful bigot & religious (staunch catholic) abuser. I remember at a very early age—before I was 5—that god could hear our thoughts.

    I’m 54. I have never been fired from a job and have always over-performed. I have been in therapy for about three years. I went in because I simply couldn’t cope with the dysfunction at work. In February (a few years ago) I lost my job. 3 months later I lost my apartment (of 30 years). At the most critical time, I needed some physical contact from my therapist. He wouldn’t provide it—I went in to hug him and he stiffened up. He said he didn’t conduct his practice that way. I felt traumatized, needless to say. We talked about it for a month and I decided to stay on—even though we discovered I was feeling traumatized every time I visited him for the next few months. So we spoke about that for several months. Fast forward to the latest year. Through an understanding of how transference works, I got in touch with severe pain in my heart. I was seeing him 3x per week when this happened. The pain hasn’t subsided since. I am now on medication (and it took me several months of living with this pain before I even considered it, based on the stigma attached to meds). I’ve gone down to 1x/week because of the cost. I lie on the couch and he sits at the head—basically, I don’t have eye contact with him. I think this matters. Essentially, I have a lot of anger because I don’t feel like I’m getting anywhere. All I have is intense pain, sadness and anger. Now, I have to write off the days that I have a session because I’m completely wrecked after seeing him. I have been unemployed (and that brings a whole other dimension to this scenario). Not only do I think I would fail spectacularly during a job interview, I feel like I’m not even motivated to look for work.

    Where I’m at today is that I dread going to sessions. I obsess about how badly I’m going to feel when I get out. I get angry & frustrated that, once again, I’m going to sit with my pain and won’t get any resolution—which makes it even more frustrating. I feel traumatized every time I go to see him. Recently, he told me we had to skip a session because of his schedule. I decided to skip the session before that one and it’s now the week after his scheduled cancellation and I told him yesterday that I wanted to cancel the appointment, but not the why. I’m at the point where I’m really questioning the process. I’m so tired of the pain and my life not going anywhere. And, yes, we’ve talked about suicide—many times. What doesn’t help is people saying things like, “it will pass”, or “you should talk to someone”, all the things one should be doing. It’s so frustrating because I’m not in a place to hear it. Finally, there was a previous commenter, Anna, who wrote that she didn’t think therapy worked. I also noticed that you didn’t address her comment. Why is that? It’s where I’m headed.

    I’d like to know if you think it’s time to leave this therapist. The problem is that I simply couldn’t afford going to another one, but I don’t know if I can continue with this one. And, if I do leave this one, what is to say that the same thing won’t happen again. What are your thoughts?

  • The Team

    September 24th, 2015 at 1:07 PM

    Thank you for your comment, Mark. We wanted to provide links to some resources that may be relevant to you here. We have more information about what to do in a crisis at

    Warm regards,
    The Team

  • Mark

    September 24th, 2015 at 1:38 PM

    Unfortunately, this is the kind of response I expected. Pardon my sarcasm, but it’s a typical non-answer.

  • Rae

    January 2nd, 2016 at 2:22 PM

    I know it has been a few months since your post and you may have already found an answer or solution. However, in the case that you haven’t, I wanted to offer you some thoughts on your situation. Please know I’m not a professional, so my advice comes only from my personal experiences.

    First let me start by saying you are important and you do matter! Unfortunately, websites like these give standard non-personal responses from their administrators because they don’t want to be sued for malpractice for giving you the wrong advice. And while that is understandable, it leaves little chance to offer someone direction or solutions. Therefore, it is up to the rest of us to step up and fill in the gaps.

    With that’s being said, let me address your question of whether or not you should stay with your current therapist – In my opinion, when you no longer receive a benefit from attending therapy with your current therapist, it’s time to move on, especially when it it has reached a point where you feel additionally traumatized by the sessions. When that happens, it becomes extremely difficult to remain open-minded to solutions, maintain trust and feelings of safety, and eventually reach a place of healing.

    Regarding your question about what can assure that it won’t happen with another therapist – There is no way to assure you it won’t happen again with another therapist. Everyone is an individual and sometimes personalities are simply not a good match, or eventually clash from differences in opinions, or there is a change in needs or expectations, etc. There is no fault or blame in that on either side, it just means that sometimes the process of finding and keeping a therapist can be difficult until you find the right one.

    Luckily, there are many therapists available with different skill sets, so hope for healing is obtainable. There are bad therapists out there, but there are also very good therapists out there. My suggestion is – interview a few therapists – if you find one you think could meet your needs, attend a session or two; if you are satisfied – continue on with that therapist, if not- keep looking. You may have to try a few until you find the right fit, but the search is worth your health and healing.

    Wishing you many blessings, and a steady course toward healing. ~ Rae

  • Michele W.

    January 2nd, 2016 at 5:31 PM

    Mark, get a new therapist NOW! A decent therapist would never put you through this – talking about not supporting you in crisis like he didn’t play a large part in it. He is about the money and not concerned with helping you. It may take a few tries to get the right one but you should see results in months, if not weeks, going 1-2 times weekly. Try someone younger who knows the latest techniques. This is my personal experience and what I read before trying therapy. Changed. My. Life. Blessings

  • Candyce

    January 3rd, 2016 at 7:41 AM

    I am not a therapist, I have had so much therapy, I was told I can help others.
    My first thoughts, “stop going” There are free mental health therapist. Go to your library and read books to learn about yourself. It really helped me to understand and gave me tools to work with.
    I pray a lot and read my Bible.

  • David L

    November 16th, 2016 at 3:18 PM

    Mark, there are lots of therapists that will work with touch, re-parentling, attachment issues. Find one and switch. I would recommend a somatic Psychotherapist or similar, but I’m prejudiced.

  • Anjum

    August 20th, 2018 at 3:33 AM

    I feel like i am suffering depression but i don’t know the cause for it and i do not what to do? For me its so difficult to talk to others about any help or any other thing I feel low , crying, angry, frustrated, etc Can someone help me in what to do next?

  • The Team

    August 20th, 2018 at 8:15 AM

    Hello, Anjum. Thanks for sharing your comment. If you would like to consult with a mental health professional, please feel free to return to our homepage,, and enter your zip code into the search field to find therapists in your area. If you’re looking for a counselor that practices a specific type of therapy, or who deals with specific concerns, you can make an advanced search by clicking here:

    Once you enter your information, you’ll be directed to a list of therapists and counselors who meet your criteria. From this list you can click to view our members’ full profiles and contact the therapists themselves for more information. Alternatively, you are welcome to call us for assistance finding a therapist. We are in the office Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Pacific Time; our phone number is 888-563-2112 ext. 1.

    If you are experiencing a life-threatening emergency, in danger of hurting yourself or others, feeling suicidal, overwhelmed, or in crisis, it’s very important that you get immediate help! Information about what to do in a crisis is available here:

  • Kath

    October 9th, 2018 at 1:39 PM

    Hi there. I have been mildly depressed at several times in my life but for the last two years it has been much worse. It started when I lost a good friend to suicide unexpectedly and on the same night my husband told me he was suicidal and had been narrowly avoiding a strong urge to suicide for a long time. There were a few other stressful things happening at the time as well but as you can imagine these two events were the most distressing. I was strong for my husband but aa soon as he responded to his medication I went downhill fast. I have been on different medications during that time and have seen Psychologist with little success. It occurred to me the other day after talking to my GP about seeing a psych again that I always go back to thinking about these two things every time I have a severe bout of depression. I was wondering if this sort of thing would be trauma. It was the most emotionally stressful thing I’ve ever gone through. My husband was diagnosed with bipolar two, is on limotrogine and has been fine without a return of symptoms for about a year. He has moved on but I can’t seem to for any extended period of time. I wonder if I’m just depressed or if it’s trauma. I can’t find anything online bout this exact situation so m quite confused.

  • Support Team

    October 9th, 2018 at 2:15 PM

    Dear Kath,

    If you would like to consult with a mental health professional, you can start finding therapists in your area by entering your city or ZIP code into the search field on this page:

    Once you enter your information, you’ll be directed to a list of therapists and counselors who meet your criteria. You may click to view our members’ full profiles and contact the therapists themselves for more information. If you need help finding a therapist, you are welcome to call us. We are in the office Monday through Friday from 8:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. Pacific Time, and our phone number is 888-563-2112.

    Kind regards,
    The GoodTherapy Team

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