I’ve taken to watching what I like to refer to as the energy flow of the client. This can be literal (“have you eaten today?”) or more a matter of attitude (“you describe being frustrated and stuck”). I am aware that depression is strongly related to feeling blocked in life with no hopeful outlet. So — I watch the energy flow:
- Would exercise and sunlight (builds vitamin D which helps some depression) build energy?
- Would better nutrition build energy?
- Does the person sound more upbeat when discussing certain activities? Maybe they should do more of them.
- Would contact with friends build support? (lend energy)
- Does the person sound down after contact with certain people?
- Would medications allow more energy?
- Does the person want help getting unstuck from a dilemma?
There are plenty of official counseling theories out there (and I use many of them) but this guideline to watch the energy ups and downs often is key.