August 12, 2014–The world is mourning the loss of an American, comedic icon, Robin Williams (1951 – 2014). Williams was known for his genius wit and versatile acting ability in roles from the zany Mork in “Mork and Mindy” to dramatic roles like Mr. Keating in “Dead Poets Society” and Sean McGuire in “Good Will Hunting.” Beloved as he was, hearing the news of how Williams died is equally disturbing. Williams battled serious and devastating depression that ultimately lead to his suicide.

Depression affects millions of Americans every day. Evidence of depression range from seemingly mild to quite acute and include symptoms such as fatigue, weight gain or loss, difficulty sleeping and working and a general lack of interest in life. It is not uncommon for otherwise healthy individuals to experience brief bouts with depression. However, if symptoms persist more than two weeks, you may need a clinical evaluation by a qualified health professional.

Depression is treatable and diagnosis is an important first step. Understanding what type of depression you may have is important in determining the right course of action. Medication may be necessary to stabilize symptoms, but counseling can be an effective and long term solution to managing depression.Screen Shot 2014-08-12 at 8.28.06 AM

I have worked with hundreds of clients experiencing depression and many of them contemplating suicide. Often times, clients believe that suicide is their only choice. However, what I have learned is that the vast majority just want the pain of depression to stop, not actually to end their lives.

Counseling can be very effective in helping clients learn how to take control of their pain and how to make significant strides toward a better life. Counseling can give a client the time and space they need to gently mourn their own life experience and look for ways to move forward in a heathy, more joyful way.

Personally, as much I loved Williams’ comedy, I will most remember his Oscar-winning role as a therapist in “Good Will Hunting.” I remember seeing the movie in college and being moved by his commitment to his client, Will Hunting. The movie so beautifully demonstrated how the therapeutic bond between a client and a good therapist can help clients overcome devastating trauma. Williams’ character, Sean McGuire, was able to help his client once and for all come to terms with his childhood trauma, allowing him to move forward pursuing a loving relationship.

If depression dominates your life, you can reach out for help. At Preston Place Counseling, Katrina Giries, MS, LPC, NCC treats depression. In addition to her clinical training at Timberlawn Mental Health Systems in Dallas, Katrina has been trained by The Ross Institute as a certified Trauma Therapist. The choice to get help is yours. Contact Katrina Giries, MS, LPC, NCC at (214) 677-4996 or via email at Katrina@PrestonPlaceCounseling.com. To get help with your depression, Williams said it best: “it’s your move, chief”.

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