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Breaking the Patterns of Depression Paperback – September 15, 1998

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Breaking the Patterns of Depression + Hand-Me-Down Blues: How To Stop Depression From Spreading In Families + Mindfulness and Hypnosis: The Power of Suggestion to Transform Experience
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Editorial Reviews

From Library Journal

The rate of depression has increased by nearly tenfold in those born in the years following World War II, making it the most common psychological problem in America. Depression expert Yapko presents a book that will help put depression in perspective and equip sufferers with the skills and knowledge to heal themselves of this modern plague. The first part of the book is devoted to discussing the clinical literature on psychotherapy and antidepressant medication. Here, the causes of depression, its diagnosis, and its treatment are explained in language easily understood by the lay reader. The second part is devoted to explaining the patterns of thinking, feeling, and behaving that signal depression. Yapko effectively uses case histories as well as more than 100 exercises to assist the reader in building the skills needed to manage depression. While there are many other titles on depression management, this book is a break from the widely held view that depression is mainly a biochemically based disease treatable with medication. It should serve to complement such books as Colette Dowling's You Mean I Don't Have To Feel This Way? (LJ 1/92) or Sandra Salman's Depression: Questions You Have...Answers You Need (LJ 2/1/95), which focus more on using drugs as a treatment for depression. An excellent book; recommended for all collections.?Dana L. Brumbelow, Auburn P.L., Ala.
Copyright 1997 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.


"If depression has you in its grip, if your spirits need lifting, if tomorrow holds no promise of a better day, don't waste another minute: there's an antidote to feeling lousy and it's this book, Breaking the Patterns of Depression. Michael Yapko will help you unravel the mystery of depression and, more important, he will show you what you can do today to feel better immediately."
--Michele Weiner Davis, author of Change Your Life and Everyone in it and Divorce Busting

"Dr. Yapko has brought this book to all of us who battle the enemy of joy and peace--depression. And it is a wonderful guide. In it, he will teach you, as he has taught me, how to understand depression and how to defeat it. He will teach you how to look at yourself, the world, and the future in a new way. He will teach you that you can have a peaceful and meaningful life, and he will teach you how to do that."
--Dr. Lynn D. Johnson, Ph.D., director of the Brief Therapy Center, Salt Lake City, Utah, and author of Psychotherapy in the Age of Accountability

From the Hardcover edition.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 360 pages
  • Publisher: Harmony; 1 edition (October 1998)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0385483708
  • ISBN-13: 978-0385483704
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.8 x 8.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (37 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #701,076 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Michael D. Yapko, Ph.D., is a clinical psychologist and marriage and family therapist residing in Fallbrook, California. He is internationally recognized for his work in advancing clinical hypnosis and short-term, outcome-focused psychotherapies, routinely teaching to professional audiences all over the world. He has been invited to present his innovative ideas and methods to colleagues in over 30 countries across six continents, and all over the United States.

Dr. Yapko has had a special interest which spans more than three decades in the intricacies of brief therapy, the clinical applications of hypnosis, and treating the disorder of major depression. He is the author of twelve books and editor of three others, as well as numerous book chapters, and articles on the subjects of the brief therapy of depression and the use of clinical hypnosis in strategic psychotherapies. His works have been translated into 9 languages.Dr. Yapko personally describes some of these works in short clips on YouTube and his website,

Dr. Yapko is a member of the American Psychological Association, a clinical member of the American Association for Marriage and Family Therapy, a member of the International Society of Hypnosis, and a Fellow of the American Society of Clinical Hypnosis. He is a recipient of the American Psychological Association's Division 30 Award for Distinguished Contributions to Professional Hypnosis, The Pierre Janet Award of Clinical Excellence, a lifetime achievement award from the International Society of Hypnosis, and The Milton H. Erickson Award of Scientific Excellence for Writing in Hypnosis from the American Journal of Clinical Hypnosis. He is also a recipient of The Milton H. Erickson Foundation's Lifetime Achievement Award for Outstanding Contributions to the Field of Psychotherapy. He has been awarded the Arthur Shapiro Award for "Best Book on Hypnosis" three times from the Society for Clinical and Experimental Hypnosis for his books Treating Depression with Hypnosis, Hypnosis and Treating Depression, and Mindfulness and Hypnosis.

On the personal side, Dr. Yapko is happily married to his wife, Diane, a pediatric speech-language pathologist. Together, they enjoy hiking in the Great Outdoors in their spare time.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

162 of 169 people found the following review helpful By Just-a-girl on August 22, 2001
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
[Please read the whole review before buying the book.] While in the process of jumping through healthcare hoops to get into a therapy program, I asked my psychiatrist if there were any books or workbooks that I could start on my own. He said he knew of none, that what I really needed was therapy. Well, I'm still waiting to get into a program, but this book has been amazing! I will go into therapy prepared. I know what my problems are, and I know what I need to do to improve the way I think and feel. I am doing much of it on my own, with the help of dozens of exercises in this book.

This resource is so educational and EMPOWERING. It describes all sorts of distortions in thinking and feeling. The exercises help you make connections between how you think and why you are depressed. What I love about Dr. Yapko is that he is never condescending, and he never accuses the depressed person of causing their own problems. He does claim that depression is learned, but never blames or intimidates. Rather, he shows that there is hope in learning new patterns.

I have been in therapy before, and it involved rehashing feelings and experiences from my past. Dr. Yapko shows that what is more important to focus on is our process of thinking and handling events. Rehashing old experiences can just feed our depressive patterns. This explains why my last round of therapy didn't help me cope with my present problems!

This book has filled me with hope. There is a lot of information to learn, and many new patterns to develop. But all of that gives me hope for a better future. One of the exercises in particular has really opened my eyes to why I am currently in a depression. Knowing our vulnerabilities can explain when we fall into a depression, and can also help us prevent future episodes!
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70 of 71 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on August 29, 2000
Format: Paperback
My third bout with major depression in four years and I was a burned out house. I saw this book in a used bookstore and, being a good compulsive, decided to read yet another title on the topic. So, so glad I did.
I had done endless ruminating about "why" this cycle was occurring, endless dissection of my "inner life" and the like and though I had snagged many insights into my experience, I was still just a very depressed person with insights--I had no ability to link my discoveries with clear, new, hopeful actions. Like many people, I believed that constant introspection would eventually pay off, but after years of going through this painful loop I had lost any energy I'd begun with and had come to know that "understanding" does not automatically mean the thing that's understood is therefore changed.
Yapko will make demands on you with this book, but he is never harsh, flippant or vague. No new-age verbiage, childhood revisitation or typical shrink-speak. His demands are those of clear, solution-oriented actions. And honestly, he's a good guide. For those who feel like they've "tried it all" but are still caught on the spike of their own mind, try this book. I think you could get better. Good Luck.
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38 of 40 people found the following review helpful By Dr. Patrick McCarthy on July 10, 2001
Format: Paperback
As a therapist who sees lots of people with depression I am often asked for useful reading material to add to the therapy. Most depression self help books are of the "if you put your mind to it you can achieve anything" variety. Breaking the Patterns of Depression is the book that I most often recommend because it explains the modern understanding of depression, amplifies by giving realistic examples and gives specific instruction in practical skills that teach people how to learn new ways of thinking to not only treat depression but to prevent recurrence. I often tell people who are in a relationship to, if possible, have their partner read the book aloud to them for 20-30 minutes each day. This way of using the book has multiple benefits for both partners.
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43 of 48 people found the following review helpful By C. Farrell on August 1, 2004
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
A mind-opening look into the vicious thought patterns depressed people suffer from, this book has been more helpful to me than years of therapy *and* a degree in psychology. (Although I'm not giving up the meds just yet). I'm amazed by how clearly Yapko explains the cognitive distortions we have. The case histories he describes are priceless.

On the "negative" side, Yapko can be just a bit condescending at times; it's clear he thinks his way is the only way. And although he mentions other theories of depression, he favors the "nurture" theory of ineffective learned thought patterns, claiming that only a small percentage of depression is biochemical in nature. (Maybe next lifetime he'll be a woman and get to experience menopause. ;)

Yapko also has an unfortunate habit of calling depressed people "depressives," which is the kind of labeling we could do without.

The most serious criticism I have is that his "Learn by Doing" exercises are sometimes impractical, if not downright silly. For example, to learn about perceived control, Yapko writes, "spend a few days asking [a partner] for permission to do everything, such as 'Can I go to the bathroom?'". (Can you imagine how much your spouse would enjoy that after the third day?) Other exercises tell you to "interview at least a dozen people" or "sometime when you feel playful, experiment with trying to motivate people to do impossible things" like flying. What depressed person feels playful? Many of these exercises would be highly embarrassing, and certainly not within the realm of a depressed person's capabilities--especially those of us who are "older" and have physical disabilities. However, I do plan to complete the written exercises.

Having outlined these minor drawbacks, I have to say it's an excellent book--after all these years, I finally have hope about rising from the ashes of depression.
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