How can I help my sister who says cognitive behaviour therapy does little for her?

DEAR DEIDRE: NINE months ago my younger sister had a month-long breakdown. It was really scary as she was living abroad in Barcelona. 

My family advised her to come home, so we could help look after, which she did.


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She is 24 and I am 26. She is a graphic designer and worked for a brilliant agency out there but they pushed her really hard.

Now she is home with us and works freelance but she has spiralled into a depression. All she talks about is regret and her old life and she has started drinking heavily.

She is doing cognitive behaviour therapy (CBT) with a counsellor, but says it does little for her. How can I help?

DEIDRE SAYS: All therapy can be uncomfortable as it means exploring difficult feelings and memories. CBT is a treatment that helps people understand how thoughts and beliefs affect feelings and behaviour, and crucially gives coping skills for dealing with different problems. 

Encourage your sister to stick with it, but if she still isn’t benefiting she can get advice from Rethink (rethink.org, 0808 801 0525) who will be able to advise on alternative treatment. 

They also have a Siblings Network to support brothers and sisters of sufferers. 

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