The Role of Family in Depression Treatment

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It is common knowledge that the health of the body depends on the health of the nervous system. Psychologists do a great job by helping people deal with their worries and fears because sometimes the patients have no one who could be trusted apart from the counselor. Previously, I have been working in the field of customer service and accounting. During this time, I was thinking that I am wasting my time doing a job that does not really matter. Helping people and making their lives easier and more comfortable have always been my genuine desire, and working as a counselor is a way to save numerous lives.

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The present paper is dedicated to the issue of depression treatment because in the 21st century, the number of people who suffer from this disease is as high as never before. Unfortunately, my personal experience clearly illustrates how important it is to get psychological help timely. The research paper answers the question on which way of engaging family members of a patient in the depression treatment is the most effective one. The literature review presented below covers such topics as an overall depression treatment, the role of the counselor, and the possible ways of engaging family in the treatment process.

Role of Counselor in Depression Treatment

To begin with, depression is an illness characterized by the feeling of sadness, apathy, and anger. This mental health problem has a strong negative influence on working capacity and sociability. The cause of depression lies in the fact that the brain of a patient produces too little serotonin. Patients suffering from depression are commonly registered with a psychiatrist because, in advanced cases, they might have suicidal thoughts. Nonetheless, a counselor also plays an essential role in assisting people with nonclinical depression to get over the disease.

Such scholars as Paradise and Kirby (2005) and Chilvers et al. (2001) emphasize the significance of counseling help. According to Paradise and Kirby (2005), counselors should employ cognitive behavior therapy techniques because this makes the patients change the common way of thinking and feeling that led to the depressed state of mood. Furthermore, Chilvers et al. (2001) conducted research on the comparison of the effectiveness of antidepressants and counseling. The results of the research prove that the efficacy of these two methods is equally high (Chilvers et al., 2001). The major difference between taking drugs and visiting a counselor is that the latter way of treatment is more preferred by the patients (Chilvers et al., 2001). Therefore, from this section, it might be inferred that the role of counselors in depression treatment could not be underestimated.

Methods of Treating Depression

The most effective treatments against nonclinical “mild-to-moderate depression” are interpersonal counseling and brief psychosocial support (Parhiala et al., 2019, p. 279). Interpersonal counseling stands for the short-term therapy that consists of several sessions during which the counselor and the patient are focusing on the personal relations and way of thinking of the latter. During the therapy, the psychologist expresses support to the patient and constantly evaluates his or her progress and state of mood (Weissman et al., 2014). One might argue that interpersonal counseling should be conducted only by well-qualified, experienced, and educated specialists in the field of psychology. Nonetheless, Weissman et al. (2014) believe that this treatment method could “taught to persons with little or no background in mental health [treatment]” (p. 361). The most important point here is that the personnel for this practice should be chosen carefully and trained appropriately because the personality of a counselor and his or her knowledge and experience does matter. Overall, interpersonal counseling is about communication between a specialist and a patient because the conversation is a way to understand yourself and figure out what could be changed or improved in life.

Family Members Engagement in Depression Treatment

People with depression are immensely vulnerable, and the support of family members and close friends is vital for their recovery. The problem is that usually, depressed people do not want to contact other people and might act aggressively. Nasser and Overholser (2005) argue that the support of the family members is even more critical and effective in comparison with one of the friends. Manczak et al. (2018) even call family support a “possible buffer” that could protect patients with depression from “disruptive events” (p. 926). What is more, the engagement of family members in therapy is necessary since the driver for depression might be tense relations with relatives, siblings, spouses, and parents. The study conducted by Sheeber et al. (1997) proves that depression in adolescents is mainly associated with family relationships.

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While analyzing literature on the role of family support in the treatment of depression, the author of the present research paper discovers that there is almost no information on what does “support of family members” means. It remains unclear whether this means the joint visits to the counselor or merely attempts to establish contact and understand the feeling and emotions of each other. Besides, it is not described in the academic literature what a counselor should do to assist a patient and his or her patients to improve communication and trust. These issues are to be discussed in the present research paper.


To conclude, the conducted literature review aimed at the investigation of three topics: role of a counselor in depression treatment, effective methods that could be practiced by a counselor, and effective ways of engaging family members in the therapy. The academic articles illustrate that a counselor plays a significant role in helping people with nonclinical and mild depression (Paradise and Kirby, 2005; Parhiala et al., 2019). The primary tool of a counselor is communication with a patient. It is crucial to establish a dialogue with a patient so that the psychologist and the patient could discuss the causes of the depressed mood and find a way how to fix it. Besides, a counselor should actively engage the patient in cognitive behavior therapy because it is a way to alter behavioral patterns that lead to depression and increase stress in the patients life.

The conducted literature review reveals a scientific gap that could be covered by the present research paper. More precisely, there are numerous pieces of evidence that family support is an indispensable component of depression treatment (Nasser and Overholser, 2005; Manczak et al., 2018; Sheeber et al., 1997). Nonetheless, none of the scholars indicates what family members should do to help a suffering relative and how a counselor could facilitate improvement of relations between a patient and his or her family.


Chilvers, C., Dewey, M., Fielding, K., Gretton, V., Miller, P., Palmer, B.,… & Harrison, G. (2001). Antidepressant drugs and generic counselling for treatment of major depression in primary care: randomised trial with patient preference arms. BMJ, 322(7289), 1-5.

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Manczak, E. M., Skerrett, K. A., Gabriel, L. B., Ryan, K. A., & Langenecker, S. A. (2018). Family support: A possible buffer against disruptive events for individuals with and without remitted depression. Journal of Family Psychology, 32(7), 926–935.

Nasser, E. H., & Overholser, J. C. (2005). Recovery from major depression: the role of support from family, friends, and spiritual beliefs. Acta Psychiatrica Scandinavica, 111(2), 125-132.

Paradise, L. V., & Kirby, P. C. (2005). The treatment and prevention of depression: Implications for counseling and counselor training. Journal of Counseling & Development, 83(1), 116-119.

Parhiala, P., Ranta, K., Gergov, V., Kontunen, J., Law, R., La Greca, A. M.,… & Marttunen, M. (2019). Interpersonal counseling in the treatment of adolescent depression: a randomized controlled effectiveness and feasibility study in school health and welfare services. School mental health, 12, 265–283.

Sheeber, L., Hops, H., Alpert, A., Davis, B., & Andrews, J. (1997). Family support and conflict: Prospective relations to adolescent depression. Journal Of Abnormal Child Psychology, 25(4), 333-344.

Weissman, M. M., Hankerson, S. H., Scorza, P., Olfson, M., Verdeli, H., Shea, S.,… & Wainberg, M. (2014). Interpersonal counseling (IPC) for depression in primary care. American Journal of Psychotherapy, 68(4), 359-383.

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PsychologyWriting. (2022, July 30). The Role of Family in Depression Treatment.

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"The Role of Family in Depression Treatment." PsychologyWriting, 30 July 2022,


PsychologyWriting. (2022) 'The Role of Family in Depression Treatment'. 30 July.


PsychologyWriting. 2022. "The Role of Family in Depression Treatment." July 30, 2022.

1. PsychologyWriting. "The Role of Family in Depression Treatment." July 30, 2022.


PsychologyWriting. "The Role of Family in Depression Treatment." July 30, 2022.