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Overcoming Depression 3rd Edition: A self-help guide using cognitive behavioural techniques (Overcoming Books) Paperback – September 20, 2009
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A comprehensive approach * Counselling at Work * I strongly recommend this book as a workbook to accompany therapy or as a first choice for bibliotherapy for depressed patients. -- Ed Watkins, Institute of Psychiatry, London * Behavioural and Cognitive Psychotherapy * This is a book that is highly accessible to the intelligent layperson, very readable and extraordinarily useful. -- Robert L. Leahy * Journal of Cognitive Psychotherapy * It's an excellent guide to finding the way out of the misery for those affected, their friends and family. * My Weekly * Highly recommended. * The Sunday Times *
About the Author
Professor Paul Gilbert is the author of Overcoming Depression: Talks With Your Therapist; The Compassionate Mind and Compassion. Previously Professor of Clinical Psychology at the University of Derby and Head of Speciality, Adult Mental Health, for the Southern Derbyshire Mental Health Trust, he is currently based at the Mental Health Research Unit, Kingsway Hospital, Derby.
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I think one of the worst parts of depression is the shame associated with admitting that you have something wrong with your thought patterns. Ironically, this kind of thinking spirals in on itself and makes your depression worse. I was grateful to the author for pointing out that animals in captivity can also become depressed for many of the same reasons as humans. He points out the biological and evolutionary causes of depression and offers a very convincing approach to untying the Gordion knot of emotions that come with depression. He mentions self-compassion and a whole body (psycho-bio-social) approach to dealing with your depressive mindset.
Of course not everyone relates to the same author the same way and it could just be that my depression fits his therapy better than other authors. But I can say that I found his writing style to be "highly accessible...very readable and extraordinarily useful" as it says on the jacket cover. Using this book with a good therapist and with or without drugs, I think should help a number of people pull themselves out of the quagmire that is depression.
One small critique I have is that he stresses evolution too much throughout the book. The third chapter is "Causes of Depression: How Evolution May Have Shaped Depression." You can skip this chapter if you also do not give much credence to the theory of evolution. It will add nothing to your quest to recover from depression. I do not believe that depression in people evolved; I believe that we are created "as is" and that being separated from God is a root cause of many of the ills people suffer today. That "hole in the soul" causes pain and we try and fill it with all sorts of substitutes, including alcohol, drugs, porn, gambling, cheating, and possessions. So I believe that depressives are actually more sensitive to the pain of life that is the truth. I don't believe that life here on Earth was ever meant to be joyous, that we are to find our ultimate joy in Heaven.
That being said, I also don't think God meant us to be miserable! How can we work for His purposes when we are not even able to crawl out of bed and take a shower? This book may take more energy to read than most people will have when they are in the grips of depression. If you are being medicated, and you feel you can explore the reasons your mind betrays you and helps you slide into the black hole, do read this book. I think it would help tremendously, in conjunction with physical help from medications and perhaps counseling.