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Wilma has been feeling sad for no apparent reason, and she has lost interest in many of the activities she once enjoyed. While she is able to function and solve problems at home and at her job, she has trouble finding the motivation just to get through the day. She spends her free time at home because it seems like it is just too much trouble to get out of the house. How might a therapist treat her using cognitive, behavioral, and pharmacological approaches?

A therapist might treat Wilma from a cognitive perspective by encouraging her to think positively, even if it does not come naturally. A behaviorist would encourage Wilma to develop goals and take part in activities that she enjoys. Pharmacological interventions would involve taking antidepressants.

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Feelings of unexplained sadness and loss of interest in once-loved activities are typically symptoms indicative of depression.

Cognitive therapy for depression would involve encouraging Wilma to think healthy, happy thoughts, even if she has to read them out by rote at first. According to cognitive therapy, a thought leads to a mood. Exchanging negative thoughts for positive ones will therefore help Wilma to feel better.

According to behaviorists, depression comes about as a lack of positive reinforcement. Therapy involves developing "short, medium, and long-term life goals" in order to increase positive awareness. A behavioral psychologist would encourage Wilma to plan more activities that she enjoys doing and have her track the effect that these activities have on her emotions. Wilma's behavioral therapist would examine the behaviors that contribute to her depression and then target them specifically.

Pharmacological interventions would involve prescribing antidepressant medications. Every patient in different, and it may take a few different attempts to find the right medication for Wilma. Wilma would need to understand that these medicines take time to work, and they may come with side effects that she will need to discuss with her doctor. Wilma may even feel worse before she begins to feel better once she starts her pharmacological intervention.

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