Discuss the typical symptoms and causes of clinical depression and with clear reference to any one specific counselling model – show how counselling can be used to identify and help to alleviate the problem in a client.

“ The sad one is present at the first opening of your eyes, the first conscious thought, that all pervading presence that you know will fill your day.”     ( John F. Mc Carthy)


The innocuous sounding word ‘depression’ refers to a potentially disabling illness that affects many but is understood by few. During any one year, one in ten people experience the sluggishness of mind, body and spirit, know as depression. Females are twice as likely to become depressed as males (Ainsworth, 2000 p.2). The following essay will examine the symptoms of clinical depression and thereafter discuss the factors that are believed to contribute to the onset of the disorder. According to Carlson et al (2000) there are two principal treatments for clinical depression, Cognitive Therapy and antidepressant medication (p.637).   This essay will explore the counselling model – Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT), which is viewed as the most effective psychosocial treatment for depression (Gotlib & Hammen, p.384).   In concluding a final comment on the enduring effects of CBT and its place in clinical practice is explored. This essay will begin with a definition of clinical depression.

The term ‘depression’ means different things to different people, and most of us would claim that we have experienced it at one time or another in our lives. This type of depression is know as ‘normal depression’ and may be experienced as a ‘blue mood’ a drop in self-esteem, feelings of wanting to give up, or a pessimistic outlook about the future (Austin et al, 2002, p.1). According to Feltham & Horton (2005) once depression has struck, there is a high chance of relapse (p.448). Generally speaking the term ‘clinical depression’ refers to any depression that...