THERAPY FOR DEPRESSION

“Depression is like a heavy blanket that I can’t shake off. It makes it hard to get out of bed, to do things I used to enjoy, and to see the beauty in the world.”      – Unknown

We understand how incredibly difficult and isolating living with depression can be. At PULSE+ , we provide evidence-based therapy for depression led by an experienced clinical psychologist. Through individual sessions in a safe and understanding space, you’ll gain valuable insights into your condition, develop effective coping mechanisms, and rediscover yourself on the path to recovery.

What is Depression?

Depression is one of the most common mental health conditions. It can negatively impact individuals’ thoughts, emotions, behaviours, and physical health. People with depression will be generally more negative in the way they think and feel. They also tend to become less active and withdraw more from activities and social interaction. 

People with depression may also experience impairments in their daily, social or occupational functioning, such as:

  • Difficulty getting out of bed or leaving the house
  • An employee may take frequent medical leave or show a drop in performance
  • A mother may become less able to take care of her children or neglect household duties
  • A student may miss classes or assignment deadlines

Note, however, that “high functioning depression”; or persistent depressive disorder; is also common. This is where a person struggles with feeling depressed but still functions fairly well.

What is the difference between feeling depressed vs having clinical depression?

Just experiencing some depressed symptoms does not necessarily mean that someone has depression. Read on to  differentiate when depressed feelings are ‘normal’ and when further help may be required.

 Feeling DepressedClinical Depression
Duration / Persistence of sadnessTemporaryLasts two weeks or longer
Severity of  SymptomsMild; still able to experience positive emotionsModerate to severe; unable to experience positive emotions
TriggersSpecific stressful situations (e.g. breakups, loss of jobs, health issues)Can occur without any obvious trigger or symptoms continue long after situation is resolved.
Impact on Daily FunctioningMinimal.  Able to function and carry out responsibilities as per normal. Significant challenges or impairment.  

Note: This guide is not meant for self-diagnosis. A comprehensive assessment by a qualified professional is required for a proper diagnosis. 

What Causes Depression?

Depression is often triggered by a stressful life event (or possibly without this in some cases) combined with factors that make one more vulnerable to developing the condition.

Biological factors

  • Hormonal imbalances in the neurotransmitter systems that affect mood and energy, such as serotonin, dopamine and noradrenaline. 
  • Having a family history of depression

Psychological factors

  • Negative thinking styles
  • Poor coping responses
  • Having personality traits that makes one more susceptible to depression, such as neuroticism

Environmental & life stressors

  • Undergoing stressful life events (e.g. marital issues, unemployment)
  • Poor social support

How Can Therapy Help with Depression?

Psychoeducation

Following the initial assessment,  our psychologist will help you to  have a better understanding of your condition. This may include:

  • How your depression was triggered and how the symptoms may affect you
  • Treatment options
  • Explanation of how CBT or other therapies works in overcoming depression
Cognitive-Behavioural Therapy (CBT)

CBT is a therapy approach with the strongest research support of effectiveness in treating depression. The premise of CBT is that the way we think has a direct impact on how we feel and behave, and vice versa.

Depression generally makes people think and react more negatively, which contributes to the depressed mood. Specifically, they tend to have negative perceptions towards the self, others and the future.

CBT helps individuals to identify their unhelpful thoughts and behaviours; as well as to challenge and reframe them to more realistic, helpful thoughts.  

For example, instead of telling yourself “I’m a failure” when you do not perform well, you may say “I am a work in progress, and that’s okay.” or “I have learned something from this and I will do better next time.” Changing thinking patterns usually leads to improved mood and coping behaviours. 

Clients are taught CBT skills during sessions and are encouraged to practice them in between sessions. Accompanied by regular guidance and review with the therapist, clients can often see improvements in their symptoms within a relatively brief period. 

 

Behavioural Activation

When experiencing the symptoms of depression; such as low mood, lack of energy and motivation; a natural tendency for individuals is to become less active. They may neglect their daily responsibilities, and reduce going out or engaging in their usual activities (e.g. exercising). 

However, when their activity level decreases, individuals usually find themselves even less motivated and more lethargic. Guilt also accumulates from the missed responsibilities. By withdrawing from social interaction and their favourite activities, they may miss out on positive feelings and experiences. All these often lead to the worsening of depressive symptoms. 

Behavioural activation is a therapeutic approach often used to help reverse this vicious cycle of depression by encouraging individuals to engage more in rewarding and meaningful activities.

This can help to improve their mood as well as reduce the emotional and practical consequences of withdrawing from daily responsibilities and activities. Your psychologist will work with you on scheduling activities that you can engage in so you can put “Do first, feel good later” into practice.

Lifestyle & Social Changes

To complement therapy, your therapist may recommend making lifestyle changes or incorporating activities that can help to improve your condition. This can include practicing relaxation strategies to  maintaining regular exercise, a balanced diet or sufficient sleep. 

 

Meet our Psychologist

Lead Clinical Psychologist

Dr Jaswyn Chin

Doctor of Psychology (Clinical), James Cook University Singapore

Bachelors of Art in Psychology, Murdoch University Australia

Registered Psychologist with Singapore Psychological Society (SPS)

Languages: English, Mandarin, Cantonese

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Dr. Jaswyn is a registered clinical psychologist with over 10 years of experience.  She has extensive experience providing intervention for various  a wide range of mental health issues from anxiety, depression, grief, insomnia, OCD, personality disorders, stress management to trauma. 

Dr Jaswyn adopts a person-centred approach to therapy where she believes in working collaboratively with individuals through the process of recovery. She is also trained in multiple therapeutic modalities including cognitive-behavioural therapy (CBT), mindfulness-based cognitive therapy (MBCT), acceptance and commitment therapy (ACT) and eye movement desensitisation reprocessing therapy (EMDR).

During her free time, Jaswyn enjoys music and plays the piano. She is also a keen learner of new languages and loves to travel.

Break free from Depression

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    PSYCH x TCM for Depression

    In conjunction with our PULSE TCM clinics, you have the option of adding traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) therapies which work through the physiological routes to reduce the symptoms of depression.

    By integrating TCM with our psychologist services, you would likely experience faster, amplified improvement in your symptoms while working on making the critical changes for long-term recovery through psychotherapy.

    FAQ

    What is the difference between a Psychologist and a Therapist or a Counsellor?

    A clinical psychologist usually has a Bachelor’s degree in psychology and a Master’s or Doctoral degree in clinical psychology. They would have received longer, more comprehensive training on psychological theories, mental health conditions, assessments, and therapeutic techniques. They are qualified to work with clients on a wider range of issues, from general life challenges, emotional problems, to mental health conditions.

    A counsellor or therapist, on the other hand, usually holds either a bachelor’s degree in counselling or psychology and/or a postgraduate diploma or master’s degree in counselling, which usually focus on general counselling or therapy skills. A counsellor or therapist typically helps clients on general life problems and challenges, such as stress, family or relationship issues. They may not have the resources or capacity to handle mental health cases such as clinical depression, anxiety or other diagnosed psychological conditions.

    What is the difference between a Psychologist and a Psychiatrist?

    Psychiatrists are medical doctors who have completed medical school with further specialised training in psychiatry. In practice, they focus on diagnosing and treating mental health conditions through prescribing psychotropic medications (e.g. antidepressants, anxiety medications).  A psychologist, on the other hand, aims to help clients improve through therapeutic interventions. They focus on psychoeducation as well as changing the way clients respond (think and behave) to improve their conditions.

    Psychiatrist consultations are usually much briefer than therapy sessions, typically ranging from 15 to 30 minutes. The session usually focuses on keeping track of the patient’s symptoms and responses to medication, and in adjusting the prescription. Some psychiatrists; although less common; may also provide psychological interventions.

    It is common for clients with mental health conditions to see a psychiatrist to help alleviate some of their symptoms through medication, and also work with a psychologist to make longer-term changes that will help them recover from their conditions. Our psychologist would refer a client to also see a psychiatrist whenever it is deemed necessary.

    How can I prepare for the first session?

    There isn’t anything specific required from you. Our psychologist would guide you through the session by asking questions to get the information needed. Simply show up on time or slightly early on the appointment day to fill out the necessary forms. 

    How long does therapy usually last?

    The therapy sessions at PULSE is up to 60 minutes. When needed, there is also the option to extend the therapy time (charges apply). 

    How many sessions will I need?

    This varies widely among clients and usually depends on many factors, including the severity of their conditions, or complications of their presenting issues, motivation towards the therapy work, and more. Some clients may resolve their issues within a few sessions, while others may need long-term support. As a general guide, four to eight sessions are more common.

    Where are you located?

    PULSE+ Allied Health clinic is located at Camden Medical Centre, by Orchard Boulevard MRT. 

    How can I book an appointment?

    Simply fill out our Appointment form below and we will get back to you to confirm the appointment. 

    https://pulseallied.health/book-an-appointment/

    How much will therapy cost?

    Please visit our Charges page for our rates.

    How can I contact you for other questions?

    If you have further questions, you may SMS or whatsapp us at 9831 9912 or email us at  psychologist@pulseallied.health.

    Have more questions?

    Visit our AskPULSE portal to ask our PULSE+ Allied Health specialists or PULSE TCM Physicians any questions about your health or our services.

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