Depression Specialist in Vietnam – Cognitive Psychologist
Depression specialist in Vietnam, living in Ho Chi Minh City. I am a psychologist with a specialty in treatment of depression. The main method I work with is Cognitive Therapy. Also called Cognitive Behavioral Therapy or CBT.
I will introduce basic meditation training if my client is interested. A combination of CBT and Mindfulness meditation has proven to be very effective in reducing depression and especially for preventing relapse.
The use of Mindfulness meditation in combination with cognitive therapeutic methods, is called Mindfulness Based Cognitive Therapy or MBCT. The MBCT approach was originally developed as a means to preventing depression relapse in Oxford at Department of Psychiatry, University of Oxford.
I have extensive experience in both working with CBT and teaching Mindfulness meditation and combining these methods for the benefit of clients with depression.
Many people develop depression in our time. Stressful lifestyles and demands in work life and education and urban lifestyle take their toll on us. It is normal for our mood to swing a bit up and down during the weeks and months we pass through.
Most of the time our personal tools and techniques for regulating our mood does the job, and we stay reasonably balanced. However, it can happen that we find ourselves in the situation, where we have to acknowledge that our mood has been low for a longer stretch of time. Perhaps the mood has been low every day for a month. Then we are approaching a point where we have to consider if we have actually fallen into a depression.
If it is the case that we have become depressed, the most sensible thing to do is to search qualified advice and assistance to work on getting out of the depression again.
What does therapy with a depression specialist in Vietnam look like?
We begin by using some tests. Before our first session I will ask you to fill in three tests. One for depression, one for anxiety and one for stress. When there is some level of depression present, it is often the case that there is also some amount of anxiety and stress present. We build up an understanding of the severity of the depression, with support from the combination of the three tests. We try to map the roots of the depression and how it may be connected to other aspects of your life.
In our first session I will ask you to describe how your own experience is of your current situation. We will look at for how long time you have felt depressed. Whether it has already occurred earlier in your life or not. I will listen to what you say and share with you what I read out of the tests you submitted. We work towards creating a shared understanding of your situation and what caused it.
We will discuss the severity of the depression and the time perspective for getting better. I will most likely already at our first session suggest a plan for our work on getting you out of the depression.
Depression can be seen as a system we get stuck in. It is usually the case that there are several elements or factors that play a role in creating and maintaining the depression. These elements are our thoughts, feelings, the body and our behavior. We will involve all these elements in the work to reduce the depression.
Cognitive therapy for treatment of depression
We use Cognitive Therapy as the method to get out of depression. Cognition means thinking, and in cognitive therapy we take advantage of and utilize the influence thoughts have on our feelings. We work with the thoughts in a conscious, systematic and structured way. The goal is to step by step guide the feelings and emotions towards an appropriate and desired direction.
In other words, we apply deliberate use of thoughts that bring us in a better mood. It is not such a strange thing to do, since some negative thoughts most likely played a large role in getting us into the depression in the first place. We reverse the process and gain some insights and self awareness in the process. We learn some general tools about how to handle ourselves with regards to thoughts and mood that will last for life.
Being a depression specialist in Vietnam, cognitive behavioral therapy is my favorite choice of method for working with depression. We can combine the CBT with tools and techniques from meditation training, if my clients would like to work this way. The thoughts a person thinks about himself, about the world, about other people, about his past and future, plays a big role in depression. For that reason, we start working with thoughts already at our first meeting.
The role of thoughts in depression
Everyone has thoughts passing through the mind all the time. This stream of thoughts tends to be dominated by negative thoughts, when a person is depressed. Furthermore, it is a characteristic for depression, that the negative thoughts are repeated in the mind many times over and over. In CBT we call it “ruminating”. We say that the depressed person tends to ruminate.
Rumination simply means the phenomenon, that without the person consciously choosing to do so, the negative thoughts simply tends to pass by the field of attention again and again. The very fact that the negative thoughts get activated and repeated many times, makes them solidify in the mind. It becomes a vicious circle that grows stronger by itself.
We can think of it in terms of networks in the brain. The neural pathways that fire a lot get stronger. We all know this phenomenon from other situations of life. When we rehearse something many times, life French verbs in high school, we tend to remember them better. Same with negative thoughts. This is a basic characteristic of the mind. We need to become aware of it and learn to counter it in different ways.
Restructuring of negative automatic thoughts
Within CBT we work with negative thought patterns systematically, step by step. Firstly, we need to acknowledge that they exist. We need to see that they happen, they take place, a lot, and it has a consequence for the mood. Secondly, we have to train our ability to spot them when they arrive, and to see just exactly what is their content. Thirdly, we enter a structured discussion or dialogue with the negative thoughts. We challenge the thoughts and assess how realistic they are.
It so happens, that we often find that the automatic negative thoughts are not particularly realistic. They are usually definitely negatively biased, and tend to only take some aspects of reality into consideration. We confront the thoughts in a rational way, bringing good arguments to the table. We don’t hold back on bringing a positive bias to the table, if we assess that it is appropriate and realistic.
In this way, cognitive therapy is not about “positive thinking”. It is not a happy happy brain wash. It is rather a principle of introducing and enforcing a more balanced and realistic style of thinking. We do what we call “restructuring” of negative automatic thoughts, sometimes called NATs. We deliberately work up new perspectives and counter arguments and go in and confront the NATs with them. This is the center piece of cognitive therapy. This is the essence.
Cognitive Behavior Therapy is systematic and effective
Now, here comes the magic, of cognitive therapy. I call it magic with a twinkle in the eye, because, cognitive therapy is more akin to engineering than to the work of magicians. The cognitive work against depression is a systematic work of mental engineering. But the magic is, that when these NATs meet good and well prepared counter arguments, where they used to meet no resistance, they bend to them. The mind accepts good arguments.
The depressed mind accepts good arguments. If the mind believed in a negative thought 5 minutes ago, and then met a good counter argument that made it stop believing it, then the influence of that negative thought stops. Then we have one less negative thought to suffer from. All these negative thoughts that seem overwhelming to begin with, can be countered one by one and be changed.
In short, we identify the negative thoughts, and don’t let them pass any longer without an argument. We go against their dominance. The content of the negative thoughts is assessed, and we see where we can come up with good counter arguments. We go in to the discussion. We work to replace the negatively biased thoughts that often are unrealistic, with more appropriate and realistic thoughts. And, of course, we can add a touch of positive bias if it is reasonable. That is what the cognitive work against depression is about.
Other areas of the treatment of depression
The focus on thoughts plays a major role in the cognitive therapy. But we can bring other areas in to focus too. It is different from person to person what we end up giving some attention. It will always be determined by the degree of relevance for the purpose of getting you out of depression as quickly as possible.
The topics that can be important to touch upon can be your work life, social life, family situation,
It can also be relevant to look at the quality of your sleep and how much exercise you get. It is not my intention to bring myself in as a personal fitness coach, but the fact is, that an hour of speedy walking has the same effect of reducing mild to moderate depression, as a normal dosage of antidepressant medicine has. The effect of different kinds of exercise is worth taking into consideration when we battle depression. It matters that the walk is free and especially that it has very few side effects compared to SSRI medication.
Contact depression specialist in Vietnam
If you need consultancy from a depression specialist in Vietnam, for yourself or someone else, I am available for assistance. I am located in Thao Dien, Thu Duc City, HCMC, Vietnam.
You can go to the Danish language contact page and send a message using the contact form. We can take an introductory talk if you wish.
All meetings will take place online.