PITTSBURGH (CBS) — An estimated one in 10 Americans suffers with depression.

For some, medication and talk therapy help, but a doctor has found a simple technique that also seems to work.

Just two years ago Nilou Siman couldn’t imagine that she could teach yoga.

“I wasn’t functioning; I wasn’t working, I didn’t really go outside,” said Siman, a depression patient.

Siman had struggled with depression since her teens but by her mid-20s she’d deteriorated to the point where she couldn’t even get out of bed.

“I tried just about everything, it never went anywhere. I have tried medications, everything and anything, even with the meds I was still depressed,” said Siman.

But that all changed when she started Future Directed Therapy.

“One of the goals of Future Directed Therapy is to activate parts of the brain that are a little more sluggish in patients with depression,” said Dr. Janice Vilhauer, of Cedars-Sinai Medical Center.

Traditional therapy tries to change irrational, negative thoughts about life experiences. With Future Directed Therapy, Dr. Vilhauer has patients take the focus off their past and look forward in their lives.

Her published study found that patients in Future Directed Therapy became less depressed and had less anxiety than those in traditional talk therapy. They were also eight times more likely to say that Future Directed Therapy was helping them enjoy life.

It’s a simple idea really, setting goals and pursuing them, but to someone who is depressed that sounds impossible.

“I thought I was doomed; I thought there is no way I could ever, ever get out of this,” Siman said.

Siman says before Future Directed Therapy she would never had done an interview, but now she wants to give hope to other patients who can’t see a future.

CBS News: Health News
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