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When Life Goes Dark: Finding Hope in the Midst of Depression Paperback – May 20, 2012

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Editorial Reviews


"Winter's excellent book deals comprehensively with a topic affecting many people: He treats in a balanced way the role of nature and nurture, and explains differences between sadness, grief, and depression." (Susan Olasky, World Magazine, January 26, 2013)

"Winter helpfully surveys the field, explaining current understandings and research, sprinkling his exposition with illustrations drawn from his own life, both as a psychiatrist and as someone who has suffered major depression. He also draws on scripture, which can be particularly helpful to those who are religious and can find some relief and echo in the groaning and lamenting that scripture gives voice to." (Publishers Weekly, May 21, 2012)

"If you're looking for a book to help you learn how to help those suffering with depression, this will offer you valuable insight medically, psychologically and spiritually." (Adam Griffin, YouthWorker Journal, May/June 2012)

"When Life Goes Dark is an excellent treatment of the full range of distressed mood. Dr. Winter clearly has the gift of comprehending the whole person and uses it to bring coherence to a part of our experience that is too often treated superficially and simplistically. He gives a balanced and thorough picture of both who we are and how we are in times of distress. There is no 'flavor of the month' here, but a true picture of the problem of being human and coping with emotion. In doing so he provides an accurate and integrated look at the complete human condition and its savor. I particularly enjoyed the various contemporary and historic examples of people coping with the world and all its brokenness: personal, biological, social, spiritual. It's good to know we are not alone but travel in a very real company who've experienced everything we do and lived on." (Mark Cundiff Johnson, M.D., assistant professor in clinical psychiatry, Washington University School of Medicine, St. Louis, Missouri)

"Richard Winter's book, When Life Goes Dark, is a comprehensive and biblically based guide for finding hope in the midst of depression. It will be of great help to those suffering from depression and those who minister to them." (Siang-Yang Tan, Professor of Psychology, Fuller Theological Seminary, and author of Counseling and Psychotherapy: A Christian Perspective)

"This labor is a profound and life-giving walk through the valley of the shadow of death. Few people will escape the wrenching and sullen emptiness of depression or the exhausting triggers of anxiety--yet there is little available to help us address this heartache from a biblical, neurological, relational and spiritual viewpoint. Richard Winter offers not only decades of wisdom and knowledge, but the fruit of his own personal struggle with depression and anxiety. This is a tour de force of how to engage the reality of our struggles in the bright light of our relationship with Christ." (Dan B. Allender, Ph.D., Professor of Counseling Psychology and Founding President, The Seattle School of Theology and Psychology)

"Dr. Winter is both a careful thinker and a lover of God. His adept handling of the research and psychological literature, life experiences and the Word of God yield a book that will be a great asset to those walking in the darkness of depression and their companions along the way." (Diane Langberg, Ph.D., psychologist and author)

"Here is a readable, thorough, responsible and compassionate guide to depression and how God can make a difference. This book is ideal for pastors and sufferers, and really any who want to know more about the factors associated with depression as well as practical advice for finding Christian healing beyond the darkness. I now have another resource to recommend!" (Eric L. Johnson, Ph.D., Lawrence and Charlotte Hoover Professor of Pastoral Care, The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, and director of the Society for Christian Psychology)

"It is a special joy to be granted the privilege of recommending this excellent book. Richard Winter has written the most wise and careful meditation on sorrow, anxiety, depression and brokenness that I have ever read. His book is full of deep reflection on Scripture, experience and the most up-to-date scientific research on the troubles of the mind. Consequently, it will be a wonderful resource for every pastor, counselor, psychologist and psychiatrist, or simply for anyone desiring to be a kind and helpful friend to those who struggle with depression or severe pain and sorrow. Richard's sensitive use of personal stories and his drawing on many years of listening to and responding to deeply depressed individuals make this book come alive and make it extraordinarily useful to the reader committed to trying to bring hope to the hurting. His appeals to Scripture are never superficial but arise from a deep understanding of the biblical story of creation, rebellion, redemption and the expectation of consummation through which the Lord desires to shape and direct our lives. This book will be a valuable source of help for many years to come, both to those who are themselves troubled and to those who give their lives to serve the wounded heart." (Jerram Barrs, resident scholar, Francis A. Schaeffer Institute, and professor of Christian studies and contemporary culture, Covenant Theological Seminary)

"As a pastor for over thirty years, I must engage in my own personal battle with depression and anxiety while seeking to equip others to fight this good fight of faith. I have searched for a resource that is comprehensive enough to cover the spiritual, physical, psychological and relational dimensions of depression while remaining readable and accessible, especially to one like myself who faces depression. This is it! Dr. Winter has given his readers a priceless tool. For those simply wanting to grasp the dynamics and difficulty of depression or assist those who face it, here is a compass with which to navigate these dangerously turbulent waters." (Joseph Vincent Novenson, senior teaching pastor, Lookout Mountain Presbyterian Church, Lookout Mountain, Tennessee)

"Drawing on a wealth of experience in clinical psychiatry, counseling and biblical reflection, Richard Winter has produced a unique resource. It is worth the purchase price just for its carefully crafted inquiry into the role of the satanic. Depression in some form or other will almost inevitably come our way, either in our own experience or in the lives of those close to us. So read this book when the sun is shining and life looks good. Its practical wisdom will reduce the likelihood of these dark nights of the soul, and when they do come, provide a well-stocked toolbox for self-care, counsel, advice on treatment where needed and practical redemption. A must-have resource for pastors, counselors and all Christians who want to live well under God." (Glynn Harrison, Professor Emeritus of Psychiatry, University of Bristol, U.K.)

About the Author

Dr. Richard Winter, husband and father of four grown children, is a psychotherapist, counselor and professor of practical theology at Covenant Theological Seminary in St. Louis, Missouri. A native of Britain, he trained in medicine and psychiatry in England and has lived in the United States since 1992. His books include Still Bored in a Culture of Entertainment and Perfecting Ourselves to Death.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 272 pages
  • Publisher: IVP Books (May 20, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0830834680
  • ISBN-13: 978-0830834686
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.8 x 8.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (13 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #363,117 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By A. Morgan on July 7, 2012
Format: Paperback
The combination of theology and psychotherapeutic methods have been uneasy bedfellows in the church. Some pastors reject any move to use secular therapy / counseling methods claiming that they have no place in the church. A pastor, they say, is neither qualified nor called to be a therapist to his congregation. Others argue that it is imperative for pastors to be aware of the counseling methods available in order to effectively carry out their role as pastoral counselors.

This makes Richard Winter's book very interesting. Winter makes a distinction between the christian understanding of reality and that of science and psychotherapy. He walks well, and effectively, the tight rope between the spiritual and the physical - the causes of sorrow which are rooted in the fall and sin, and the causes of sorrow which may be medically induced and lead to anxiety, worry, guilt, shame and even suicide.

Regardless of your view of the place of therapeutic methods within the church, pastors, leaders and others must be discerning of patterns of behavior which, while rooted in rebellion to God, might lead to something physically dangerous, both for the suffer and for others around them.

As a professional psychotherapist, counselor and christian professor of practical theology, Dr Winter helps the reader navigate the issue of depression both from a concrete spiritual reality and from a medical, psychotherapist position.

I believe pastors will find this book valuable in their role as shepherds to their people who may have family members or even spouses battling depression.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By smyles on June 27, 2012
Format: Paperback
This is a sensitive and beautifully written work useful to professionals and others
interested in a comprehensive report on depression, feelings, and life in Christ.
There is no doubt that Dr.Winter has a full command of the research and human complex
issues surrounding depression- highly recommendeed.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful By C. Anderson on August 18, 2012
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I found this book to be extremely helpful. As someone who has struggled with depression on an off for a number of years, I've read my fair share of books on the subject. It was refreshing to finally find one that looks at depression from a Biblical perspective without being overly...well, "Christian" in it's response. (What I mean is that the author certainly looks at depression from a Biblical lens, but he does not revert to tritely spewing verses and he does not condemn medication.) I think the main thing I got out of the book is that God meets us in our depression. It's not a groundbreaking thought, but looking at the verses on it was reassuring, and it was helpful to see that many Biblical heroes struggled with depression at various points. The only negative thing I have to say is that it is geared more toward pastors than people struggling with depression, but that was clearly the author's intent and is probably a much needed book in the church for that reason.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By L. Kinney on December 17, 2012
Format: Paperback
Richard Winter's "When Life Goes Dark" was a helpful read giving insight into depression, and how to cope with it. I am not a professional counselor by any means, but I do believe that this book would be a helpful resource for any counselor, or those who are in training, and looking for insight into depression. That being said, this is not a technical manual, it is very approachable and I would have no hesitation recommending it to anyone, as Winter writes in a clear yet informative manner.
I do highly recommend this book to anyone who wants to better understand depression, in their own life, or in the lives of those around them. Winter explains not only what is going on in depression and what can bring it about, but also offers hope and a way out. Winter does write from a Christian perspective and applies the gospel to depression and how it can help you overcome it. However, if you are not a Christian, please do not let that turn you away from this book, Winter writes as a Psychiatrist with decades of counseling experience and his insights into depression and its treatment are invaluable.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By amyfive on May 23, 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This book was written with compassion by a godly man who knows and understands depression. He doesn't give superficial solutions. He describes different forms and depths of depression, the contributing factors, and also the different ways to come out of darkness into the light. The author explores the different options for dealing with depression, from medication to therapy to just talking with friends about problems - and he discusses when each option might be appropriate or helpful. Under and over everything, though, he points the reader to Christ, forgiveness through Jesus, and loving relationship with God. I appreciated this most of all. There is no hope apart from Christ - and everything helpful in the book is helpful because it points the reader to Jesus without superficial sentimentality. Real, solid hope. I highly recommend this book.
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Format: Paperback
As a pastor and professor of practical theology, I have had the opportunity to counsel people struggling with depression. I have also wrestled with it myself. Because of that, I have read numerous books on the subject. Nothing has been more helpful to me than When Life Goes Dark.

The author, a psychiatrist and therapist, has a comprehensive understanding of factors that lead to depression and of the various ways to help people find joy in life again. His understanding has come through years of study and countless hours of counseling people in the throes of depression. That has led to an immensely practical book with real-life examples, including his own that he tells in a remarkably open way.

I was helped so much by the book that I read it from cover to cover on the same day I purchased it. I was stunned at times by the way the author described my own situation as though he had walked with me in my darkest moments. More importantly, I found answers, profound ones that gave me hope in so many ways. The author has given those of us who suffer with depression, those of us who have friends and family who suffer with depression, and those of us who counsel people who suffer with depression, a resource unparalleled in the field. I will read it again and again and recommend it to everyone affected by depression.
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