Depression is a mental health disorder that is characterized by negative thoughts, low or depressed mood, significant sleep and appetite changes, and a general disinterest in life and no pleasure in activities that were previously both important and engaging to the person. While face-to-face psychotherapy can go a long way in helping with depression, it may be difficult for the person or their caregiver to seek this help, because of a variety of reasons like stigma, cost of therapy and insurance issues and so on.
In such a case, alternative forms of healing can be a good first step, or even complement mainstream therapy. The best part is that the focus for these healing forms does not have to be on therapy, depression or getting better. There forms of healing help to get better without arousing the defenses of the person, as healing happens as a process, as and when one participates in these activities. The caregiver can also take part in all these forms of healing.
Laughter Therapy: It is very easy to start a laughter therapy club, all you need to do is write to them and they help you establish one. Laughter exercises help by releasing helpful hormones, expanding the lungs and are a good way to take in more oxygen. For a person who is completely inactive due to depression, this can be a good fun start.
Art Therapy: Humans have always expressed themselves using art. Right from cave paintings to modern art, our struggles and thinking have shaped our art forms. Art therapy is evidence-based and research suggests that engaging in art helps us to both process and express negative feelings in a way that face-to-face therapy might take longer to achieve. When engaging in art our resistance is low and that is why we feel healed after a couple of months of creative expression.
Music Therapy and Dance and Movement Therapy: For people from cultures that have bright, vivid religious rituals of dance and music, it might not fit well to sit in a room and discuss their concerns. Even regardless of culture, music is known to stimulate multiple areas of the brain that expand our thinking, make us better at problem solving and even more resilient. Dance movement therapy helps to use our body to reduce cortisol secretion, reduce stress and elevate healing.
Pet Therapy: Having a loving pet to spend time with can make a huge difference. Depression includes the internalized feelings of unworthiness, and an attachment with a simple being like a pet, can be a refreshing change. Pets love us unconditionally unlike people. Therefore, with pets, we can learn to love again and believe in ourselves.
All the above practices have shown evidence of being useful to heal not only depression, but other mental and physical health issues. Therefore, if you feel hesitant to try traditional therapy or if you want to combine it with something more, do feel free to try the above holistic healing steps and techniques.