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Book Review - Getting Your Life Back
Getting Your Life Back
by Monica Basco and Jesse Wright
Touchstone Books, 2001
Review by Diana Pederson
Jul 29th 2003

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 Spirituality Key.

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.