By: Dr. Lea Martinell-Smith

It’s been awhile since we talked about depression which is honestly one of the most common concerns our clients are reporting and struggling with. Job stress, relationship concerns, financial strain and so many other life challenges can lead to feelings of stress, disappointment, sadness and depression. What do we mean when we say depression?  Depression can show itself in many ways. How can we recognize the signs of depression?  We can experience: 


  • Changes in sleep and appetite 
  • Feeling as though it takes a large amount of effort to do even the simplest of tasks
  • Irritability 
  • Isolating from others 
  • Feeling tired and having a lack of energy 
  • Difficulty with focus and concentration 
  • Engaging in negative self talk 
  • Feeling worthless or hopeless 
  • Physical symptoms like joint and muscle pain or weakness 
    • Headaches 
    • Nausea 
    • Gastrointestinal distress


Some individuals with significant levels of depression can also experience thoughts of harming themselves or others.  When having thoughts of harming self or others, there are 24 hour support lines that can provide support when we need it most.  Dialing 988 will connect individuals to our national support line. 

We know that depression has an impact on our emotions, thoughts, and behaviors.  Many of us experience negative thinking styles that can not only increase depressive symptoms, they can also bring about a sense of anxiousness that things may never get better or lead us to feel as though no one understands.  Confidence and self esteem are often impacted if we feel as though there is nothing we can do to feel better or change our life situation.

Depression is a common disorder and is not something people tend to just “get over.”  While talking with friends and family can be helpful, seeking support and guidance from a therapist can be important to build awareness for how this pattern developed and to learn healthy and effective coping skills in order to manage and decrease symptoms.

Many wonder what the therapy process is like and if it is helpful. Speaking with a therapist provides an opportunity for us to discuss all of our challenges without judgment and without being told what we should do to feel better.  Family and friends can be supportive and don’t want to see us unhappy.  They are therefore more likely to give us tips to feel better compared to working through our challenges in order to learn alternative and potentially new options for managing life’s decisions. It is important to feel comfortable with the therapist we choose and to also know they have the training and experience to support us through the challenges we face. Counseling is most helpful when coping skills are practiced frequently outside of sessions.  

Virtual Versus In Person Counseling For Depression in Tampa, Fl & St. Pete, Fl

In recent years the opportunity to choose how we receive counseling has grown and changed significantly.  We can now choose between in person and telehealth counseling.  Some feel they make more of a connection during in person sessions and others prefer the convenience of having an appointment that fits into their schedule without having to commute to an office, or even from the comfort of their own home.

In person sessions provide an opportunity to practice skills and utilize tools together in session, while telehealth sessions often will require a screen or document to be shared in order to work through some activities together.  If privacy in your home or work location is a concern, in person sessions may be more comfortable for clients to feel more able to open up about their challenges without worrying about being overheard.  

Both forms of counseling are beneficial for clients to receive support and information for the various ways to manage through a depressive episode.  

Treatment For Depression in St. Pete & Tampa, Fl can help us:


  • Gain awareness into how symptoms developed 
  • Understand impacts from our environment or the relationships in our lives 
  • Learn effective coping strategies for managing intense emotions
  • Learn ways to build confidence and self esteem.
  • Manage a current crisis situation
  • Learn to identify and change negative thoughts and self talk and replace them with healthier, more effective ways of thinking and speaking to ourselves
  • Learn to set realistic and achievable goals
  • Set healthy boundaries with ourselves and others
  • Build up our resilience and distress tolerance skills


Things we can start doing today to help decrease depression:


  • Set small achievable goals
    • If you struggle with self care, set a goal to increase hygiene and self care a little more than what you are doing now.
    • We often set goals that are potentially unreachable compared to where we are starting.  Marathon runners have to build up to competing at that level without injuring themselves making it difficult to compete. We all have to build up skills and self care to the level we would like to achieve one step at a time.  Just make sure we can reach those steps!
    • Want to go to the gym 5 days a week but aren’t going at all for the past few months?  Start with 1-2 days a week and build on that.
    • Want to get the house cleaned but can’t even figure out where to start?  Choose one small space, a night stand, a drawer in your desk, wipe down the counter, and you can keep going from there if you feel motivated or set another goal for a small space for later that day or the next.  Building up by starting small feels like something we can accomplish vs. feeling overwhelmed by looking at our entire home that needs to be cleaned and not doing anything.
    • Think about the goals you may have for yourself and see how many smaller steps you can break them down into.  You may find an easier, more manageable place to start on this journey.
  • Appreciate each step
    • Acknowledge everything you do from getting out of bed, taking a shower, going for a walk, etc.  Each step is accomplishing a goal and our confidence will grow with each step we take.
  • Build motivation
    • Finding it difficult to do anything?  There is a skill called “Opposite to Emotion Action” from Dialectical Behavioral Therapy. The idea is we take action in the direction of something helpful not hurtful.  
    • If depression has us feeling tired and unmotivated, leading with that emotion will keep us where we are.  Leading with the opposite emotion will help us get up to take that shower, go for that walk, reach out for help.
  •  Finding a counselor or psychologist
    • The psychologists and therapists in our offices in Tampa, St. Petersburg, Florida, and via telehealth have the training and experience to help you through the challenges of managing depression.
    • Contact your insurance company for a list of counselors that accept your insurance.
    • Look on Psychology Today (Psychology Today: Health, Help, Happiness + Find a Therapist) to find a therapist and read about their specialties.

Helpful Resources for Depression:

To learn more about depression here are some helpful resources







To learn more about the benefits of therapy for depression, check out our blog archive here. Or, call our intake coordinator to set up your free phone consult with one of our virtual therapists! Our team of caring therapists and psychologists would be honored to support you on your mental health journey and to help you create a treatment plan to work on depression.  You can receive the support you deserve from our Tampa, FL-based practice by following these simple steps:

  1. Contact Wellness Psychological Services 
  2. Meet with a one of our therapists
  3. Start finding joy in life again!


Wellness Psychological Services is proud to offer both in-person and online therapy for the residents of Florida. We can now also offer virtual services to almost all states, any that participate in psypact.  Our team also offers couples counselingdivorce discernment counselingsupport through a divorce, and mediation for couplesWe also offer mental health support services including anxiety treatmenttrauma therapydepression counselingOCD treatmentstress management, and testing and evaluation services for individuals as wellAdditionally, we are happy to offer eating disorder treatment,  PCIT therapyDBTchild therapytherapy for professionals, and health psychologyFeel free to learn more by visiting our blog page or FAQ today!

205 S. Hoover Blvd. Ste 202
Tampa, FL 33609
(813) 563-1155

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