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Clinical Depression

Several psychological theories have been advanced to explain the source of clinical depression and recommend the treatment thereof. Each theory tries to establish the causes of depression and recommends the treatment of the condition. This paper discusses the application of psychological theory in the description of the source of clinical depression and its treatment.

According to Branon & Feist (2010), psychological theories clarify different causes of depression by analyzing the behaviors and stressors that an individual is exposed to. For instance, behavioral psychology theory asserts that depression is a learned experience and has nothing to do with the conflicts and repression of a person’s internal unconsciousness. Put in simple terms, depression is caused by the reduced number of pleasurable and rewarding activities that a person involves himself/herself in, leading to low positive reinforcement rates (Grohol, 2012). Peter Levisohn advanced the psychological theory in 1970s. It proposes that depression is caused by an amalgamation of stressors found within the environment coupled with the lack of personal skills to deal with the stressors. The theory further proposes that people who develop stress normally have low rate of positive reinforcement because they lack pleasurable and rewarding activities within their environment.

According to this theory, depression is a result of external stressors and a lack of ability to resist them. This means that any victim of the condition should be encouraged to be aware of the stress factors and be able to deal with them. Through unlearning, the patient will start to get high rate of positive reinforcement increasing the amount of pleasurable and rewarding activities that he/she participates. The theory proposes that people tend to repeat behaviors that are rewarding and pleasurable hence depressed patients should be involved into pleasurable and rewarding activities. It lessens the probability of depression.

Efficacy of Behavioral Psychology Theory

This theory is effective to the extent that the depressed person is willing and able to participate in the recommended pleasurable and rewarding activity. This means that whenever the patient is unable or unwilling to engage in the activity, then the theory cannot be effective. Similarly, the psychological theory needs to take into account the fact that the patient does not know anything about the cause of their condition and, therefore, the prescribed pleasurable and rewarding activities must be those that the patient used to enjoy before becoming depressed (Grohol, 2012). However, it can be established by asking the person about the activities they used to do previously.

Types of Therapy Used in the Theory

Therapist could use psychodynamic therapy to observe the unconsciousness and personal development of the patient. The effectiveness of the therapy depends on the relationship that the therapist builds with patient. This psychoanalysis could be used instead, only that will require more time. There are various types of therapies that can be used under this theory. First is the Cognitive therapy. This is intended at reversing negative thought patterns that are causing depression. The patient is taught on how to recognize irrational thoughts and replace them with good thinking. Cognitive therapy would be useful especially where the depressed person need a quick treatment within a time of sixteen weeks with homework assignments for self-evaluation (Branon & Feist, 2010).

Second is the behavior therapy which targets the patient’s habit that might be the source of depression. It exposes the patient to anxiety-causing situations so that they can get used to the circumstance in order to become comfortable with the situation. This kind of therapy is sometimes used together with cognitive therapy in treating depression. In this case, the therapy session incorporates both techniques.

Third is the interpersonal therapy. Since family or work issues at times cause clinical depression, interpersonal therapy can be used to treat it. The therapy focuses on addressing the issues that might be caused by family, friends, and workmates and aims at improving communication and support between these groups of people and the patient.

Finally, there is also the experiential therapy. In this therapy, the patient is taught by the therapist to identify emotional responses that are healthy and separate them from those that are destructive. This type of therapy depends mostly on the supportive and empathetic connection between the patient and therapist.


In conclusion, the possibility of successful treatment of a depressed person normally depends on how ready he/she is willing to cooperate. However, it must be noted that Psychological theory only tries to recommend psychologically tested methods of treating depression in an attempt to solve the problem. Additionally, solving depression depends on the diagnosis that the psychologist makes, and on whether causes are external or internal. Externally caused depression can be easily treated while internally caused depression is a different issue. Research has shown that a good number of depressed patients have successfully been treated through the application of the theory. However, those who are in a state of helplessness and hopelessness to the level that they cannot take the prescriptions of the theory are normally not treated.

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