Depression


Dr. Cadow co-authored a number of research studies (see Vita) on depression at the USC Medical School.  Working with over 250 depressed patients over a two year period provided her with an invaluable glimpse into the many faces and symptoms of depression.  She has years of teaching and training in Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT), the empirically validated treatment of choice for depression; she currently teaches this method to graduate students in clinical psychology in the Department of Clinical Psychology at USC. 


CBT is a useful technique because it helps people identify the often automatic negativity in their thoughts and provides a framework for converting irrational pessimistic thoughts into more reasonable and emotionally neutral thoughts.   People have their own way of generating these negative thoughts and often need help recognizing how they have become an integral part of their internalized dialogue, forming an almost seamless feedback loop between triggering emotional stimuli and behavior.  Certain negative, depressing thoughts may never completely disappear, but they can be significantly minimized and managed.


Dr. Cadow’s private practice patients quite often present with depressed feeling due to a life event (e.g., divorce, breakup with loved one, school or work problems, relationship or family problems, health issues) and/or have a long history of depression.  She works with a number of psychiatrists who can prescribe medication for depression, if needed.


Life Dissatisfaction


Dr. Cadow has worked with many patients who “have everything”, but are not happy. Especially in Los Angeles, often the people who are the envy of the rest of the population can actually be disenchanted with their lives.  These individuals may not have symptoms of depression, but they are unhappy about the choices they have made and the general direction of their lives.  Dr. Cadow’s book, “Rich and Famous but not Happy:  The Real Life Struggles of Celebrities,” describes their journeys to happiness and offers useful tools for those of us who are not rich and famous. (See book page.)


It is not always obvious what path will make us happy; in fact, often we are uncertain about what experiences we actually enjoy.  Some people have discovered a newfound joy at just eating something they really crave, like a simple pastrami sandwich, instead of the food they thought they “should” eat.  The simple pleasures of life may often be missed in the rat race of urban life.


Upon examination in psychotherapy sessions, the source of dissatisfaction may be a job, career, a major relationship, or a lack thereof, or a negative outlook on the world.  Determining the cause of dissatisfaction is often a complex process with no easy solution; instead, a number of interacting factors may be involved that need to be sorted out.   Within the privacy and safety of the therapy session, alternative options and plans can be explored with minimal risk.


© Barbara Cadow, Ph.D.  2015