Kalamazoo Depression Counseling

Depression Counseling – Therapists and Counselors in Kalamazoo, MI

Living with Depression

It’s not uncommon to hear someone comment that they are “depressed.” And while indeed they may be, what they are often really referring to are feelings of “bleh” or vague sadness after a rough day or week. Those feelings are normal. Stressful events definitely take their toll; our increasingly busy schedules and the resulting lack of downtime are difficult on the psyche.

But a bad day isn’t depression. Depression lingers. It eats into the ability to enjoy everyday life, and it causes the person suffering to struggle with finding pleasure in moments that would, in other circumstances, be pleasant and happy. While it’s not uncommon to go through a brief period of depression after a traumatic event, such as the death of a loved one, these feelings usually lessen with time.

However, if feelings of sadness or emotional numbness persist for longer than a few weeks, the individual might have an underlying condition. If feelings of depression are causing problems personally, at school, or at work, consider talking with a depression therapist at Thriveworks Kalamazoo.

Causes of Depression

Depression is a complex set of disorders. There are many common symptoms and applicable reasons for why it occurs. Some people experience depression because of chronic physical or other medical conditions. Others may suffer depression after dealing with the loss of a loved one, a major life event like losing a job, or a traumatic event. Still others experience depression and feel overwhelmed with sadness and loneliness for no clear reason.

It’s also interesting to note that anxiety and depression often occur together, in which case therapy becomes even more valuable a tool.

There are a number of factors that contribute to depression, including the following:

Abuse – Past physical, sexual, or emotional abuse can increase the vulnerability to clinical depression later in life.

Chronic Health Concerns – Sometimes depression co-exists with a major illness or may be triggered by another medical condition.

Genetics – A family history of depression may increase the risk. It’s thought that depression is a complex trait, meaning that there are probably many different genes that each exert small effects, rather than a single gene that contributes to disease risk. However, depression in genetics is complex and no one genetic factor has been linked to depression.

Social Anxiety – Social isolation that occurs either due to anxiety or voluntary withdrawal due to other mental illnesses can contribute to the risk of developing clinical depression. Social anxiety can also occur after voluntary or involuntary withdrawal from a family or friend group.

Substance Abuse – Alcohol and drug abuse are often misunderstood. Sometimes the people surrounding the person abusing the substance may attribute a moral failing to the person—and sometimes, the person themselves may make a moral judgement about their addiction. It’s important to realize that in neither case is the judgement accurate. Many people with a history of substance abuse problems develop major or clinical depression or other undiagnosed mental health issues that cause them to seek an escape from dealing with reality.

Types of Depression

Common symptoms associated with all types of depression can include:

  • loss or increased appetite
  • weight fluctuations
  • sleep changes
  • loss of energy
  • hopelessness
  • feelings of emotional numbness
  • loss of interest in regular activities

Each diagnosis has different qualifications and factors that determine the more exact nature of the person’s depression. A few possible disorders include:

Major Depression

The specific symptoms that qualify major depression have changed over the years, but currently included symptoms are: prolonged moods of sadness and loss of interest or pleasure in daily activities, and can have other common depression symptoms. The symptoms are present consistently during most days and the diagnosis is usually only made when the symptoms last for at least two weeks. Symptoms of major depression can be detrimental to a person’s life, especially to relationships either personal or professional.

Bipolar Disorder

Bipolar disorder consists of periods of mania followed by periods of depression. The mania side of bipolar disorder is the opposite of depression and can vary in intensity. Symptoms include feeling great, having lots of energy, irritability, etc.. However, alongside periods of mania, bipolar also comes with depressive mood periods that come with the same possible symptoms of lethargy, sadness, and hopelessness associated with many other forms of depression. The experiences of mania and depression are not short-lived and can trigger without warning or explanation. Sometimes the person loses touch with reality in psychotic episodes. The exact symptoms vary from person to person.

Psychotic Depression

Sometimes people with a depressive disorder can lose touch with reality and experience psychosis. This can involve hallucinations (seeing or hearing things that aren’t there) or delusions (false beliefs that aren’t shared by others), such as believing they are bad or evil, or that they’re being watched or followed. They can also be paranoid, feeling as though everyone is against them or that they are the cause of illness or bad events occurring around them.

How Therapy Can Help

Depression is painful to live with. But if you are suffering, you’re not alone, and therapy can help. There is no way to just “snap out” of a depression disorder or clinical depression any more than you can an iron deficiency or asthma. There are multiple treatments for handling depression that can with the right therapist, can improve your quality of life and help you work towards your own happiness.

Our practice is technically located Portage, Michigan, just a hop and a skip from Kalamazoo. We welcome patients to our new location, where they will meet with Starr Bull, a licensed professional counselor who specializes in several areas, including therapy for depression.

Thriveworks Counseling Kalamazoo

People Love Our Providers!

Overall Rating: 5★★★★★ based on 15 5 1 15 reviews. See all reviews
Thriveworks Counseling Kalamazoo

Non-Judgmental and good listener – a rare gem!

Cassie met with my cousin for several sessions to discuss issues related to my cousin's childhood. Cassie helped my cousin assess her feelings in a balanced way . She was also very supportive, listening and providing feedback effectively without being judgmental. This was exactly what my cousin needed. A very rare technique among many counselors these days.
Thriveworks Counseling Kalamazoo

Professional and Relatable

Rudy was professional and approachable. He was able to point out beliefs I had that were interfering with my ability to enjoy my life, but did so in a respectful manner. He was an effective therapist, with a genuine, caring approach.
Thriveworks Counseling Kalamazoo


The best
Thriveworks Counseling Kalamazoo


The intake coordinator Brittany was AMAZING. She listened to my needs so she could match me with a therapist that could help me. She was incredibly kind and truly listened to me in a stressful situation.
Thriveworks Counseling Kalamazoo

Alex Ansell who was fantastic

Alex helped me more than I can say! He was sensitive and patient with me and helped we work through some very difficult issues. His knowledge and communication skills guided me towards a positive outcome that gave me great peace. Thank you so much Alex for being there for me!
Thriveworks Counseling Kalamazoo

Thriveworks team is awesome!

Heather has always been the person that many people go to for advice and help. When she isn't helping people at work she is helping people at our church. All of the staff at Thriveworks are great. I highly recommend Thriveworks Counseling.
Thriveworks Counseling Kalamazoo

Great experience

The experience from the persons answering the phone and emails to my counselor, Heather, have been efficient and very helpful. I'm very thankful for Thriveworks because I can count on you when I need you most.
Thriveworks Counseling Kalamazoo

Heather and Thriveworks are awesome!

Heather is super awesome and helped get me back on track with my anxiety! If you are struggling at all with mental health issues, Thriveworks and Heather are fantastic help!
Thriveworks Counseling Kalamazoo


Heather is excellent! Her professionalism and integrity are spot on.
Thriveworks Counseling Kalamazoo

Caring, compassionate, complete

After having several friends work with Heather I can honestly say there isn't anyone else I would be willing to refer those seeking counseling. She cares about complete healing and really takes the time to care. It shows in her interactions with her clients as well as in how her clients speak of her.
Thriveworks Counseling Kalamazoo


I would like to share something very personal with everyone so that you can find the help that you need. My husband was in the Marine Corps and served a couple of tours overseas. He suffered from PTSD from what he went through and losing some of his fellow Marines. He introduced me to Heather the wife of one of his fellow Marines. She has been a god sent during my time of grief. He passed away in July 2017, and I have been working through everything since. She has been someone that I can go to whenever I need an ear to listen or a shoulder to cry on. She doesn't judge me and my situation as to how I am handling it. She just listens and helps where she can. Heather is a person that gets it and will help you anyway she can. I can honestly say I am truly blessed to have met her and now call her my friend. Anyone who is able to meet her and get help from her is lucky. So if you are looking for someone I would highly recommend you setting up an appointment with her. You can't go wrong with choosing her as your counselor. So please if you are looking for help call today and get your appointment with Heather. You will never look back and she will help you look forward to the new future. She did that for me!!! I'm truly lucky to have her in my corner!!!
Thriveworks Counseling Kalamazoo

Great People

When you need someone who will listen and not tell you how to feel. Heather is there. She will take the time to listen and give you the help you need. She comes to the task as a very professional and helpful counselor.
Thriveworks Counseling Kalamazoo

Great Place

This place is a breath of fresh air for me. I went in with terrible anxiety and am already feeling a bit better. My counselor is very capable and the staff in the office is very friendly. Would recommend them to my dearest friends.
Thriveworks Counseling Kalamazoo

Need compassion?

Starr combines a strong professionalism with a caring and understanding spirit. She inspires change through her grace and practical wisdom.
Thriveworks Counseling Kalamazoo

Starr Bull

I have worked professionally with Starr for several years and I highly recommend her. Starr is extremely knowledgeable and compassionate. Starr is highly skilled in several areas of counseling and is a wonderful counselor.
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Thriveworks Counseling

Schedule your first appointment with a Thriveworks Counselor or Life Coach!

  • 524 E Milham Ave Suite B
    Portage, MI 49002

  • Mon-Fri:7AM-930PM

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