The authors start this book with a
special note that is extremely important:
"Although we offer guidance for ways that you can help yourself to
fight depression, this book should not be used as a substitute for treatment
with a doctor or professional therapist."
I really appreciate seeing a book start with this type of statement when
it is written for mentally ill people.
The authors practice the
cognitive-behavior therapy style in their treatment sessions. Five keys to recovery from depression are
presented in the first chapter of the book.
Then the authors help the reader create a "course for
recovery" through the use of several exercises and checklists. The reader is helped to measure the depth of
their depression and creating a path for recovery through use of the five keys. These keys are: Thinking Key, Action Key, Biology Key, Relationship Key, and the
The remainder of this book is
broken into sections dealing with each of the above mentioned keys. After reading through this book, I feel the
order of the keys should be different.
I would have acknowledged the spirituality aspects of life first, then
the biology, thinking, relationships, and action keys.
There are several reasons for my
rearrangement of these keys. First,
people dealing with depression may be getting told things like "Just
Praise the Lord Anyway", "Don't acknowledge your depression."
and other such ridiculous statements.
The depressed person needs to know that depression isn't an indicator of
a poor spiritual life as is often implied in the church! Second, that person should be taught the truth
about some depression: it is a biological illness and needs to be treated that
way. Third, after the person is being
treated for a "medical condition" through the use of medication if
appropriate, they are better able to deal with the "thinking" part of
depression. It's easier to learn to
deal with negative thinking when the depression has lifted through medical
intervention. Fourth, dealing with
relationships and fifth, taking action to control future bouts of depression
are the next logical steps.
Recommendation. This book
is meant to be used in connection with a therapist. I doubt if any patient will complete all the exercises included
but there should be something for everyone.
I found the book easy to understand and read. It could serve to remind the patient of what was said during
their therapy sessions. It is one of
the better workbooks on coping with depression.
© 2003 Diana Pederson
Diana Pederson lives
in Lansing, Michigan.