1. Demystification

While there is better public awareness of depression, we find that people often lack an understanding of THEIR depression. They know they are depressed, but not why. The mystery factor leads people to search for answers in the wrong places, potentially prolonging and worsening their depression.

It is our belief that depression is explainable in the vast majority of instances.

Effective therapy addresses any lack of understanding as a matter of priority. So if you are seeking therapeutic support for depression, make sure your therapist helps you make sense of it.

“I contacted Mark, so that I could explain to a professional person the challenges I was facing after my divorce. I wish I had done this much sooner…Mark has helped me achieve significantly more piece of mind in six weeks than I’ve been able to do in six years. ” Rob G

2. Depression: unmet emotional needs and poorly used resources

There are many ways of understanding depression. One of them is based on the Human Givens approach to mental health and wellbeing, which underpins our work at Conversations With Impact. The Human Givens approach sees depression as the result of:

·       Unmet emotional needs such as those for control, attention, emotional connection, intimacy, status, meaning and purpose

·       Inappropriate or poor use of our innate resources such as the misuse of our imaginations to catastrophise worst case scenarios

Lifting depression is therefore about meeting emotional needs and the effective use of our human resources. For more information on the Human Givens approach visit this website www.hgi.org.uk

3. No problem can be solved from the same level of consciousness that created it – Einstein

Einstein’s quote means coming out of a depression requires creative acts of thinking, behaving, feeling and use of resources, to fundamentally alter someone’s state of consciousness. For example:

  • If someone doesn’t know they are depressed, they need to become aware that they are
  • If someone’s depression is the result of an ‘internal’ factor such as low self-esteem, but their focus is on external causes, they need to know this
  • And if someone is so used to being depressed that they don’t know any different – a state psychologists call ‘learned helplessness’ – they need to be shown ways to unlearn their helplessness

Positively changing states of consciousness MUST be the job of therapy. When therapy fails to help someone, it is because it is attempting to resolve a client’s depression from the level of consciousness that created it.

4. Depression as an effect of trauma

We worked with a female client in her mid-twenties who had been depressed since her early teens. Despite several episodes of therapy and different medications, her depression remained severe. We established that prior to her teens she had been a normal, happy child. After some gentle questioning, our client asked us whether an attempted sexual assault when she was 13yrs old could be relevant. Yes, we replied, it could be. Previous therapy had failed to elicit this information. We helped our client process this trauma and her depression lifted.

Depression can be a symptom or effect of trauma, even if like our client the traumatic event occurred a long time ago. If trauma is not considered, then it goes without saying that the wrong approach might be taken.

5. Disentangling beliefs

“I knew even at primary school that I would be the one who wouldn’t go to university.”

A recent client expressed this belief to us in his very first counselling session. In our view, the belief would have been too advanced for someone of primary school age. We knew it must have belonged to someone else. What emerged in our work with this client was that he had been subjected to daily criticism from birth – by his parents.

Therapy disentangled his parent’s beliefs from his own regarding his capabilities. Not only did this lift his depression it also led to him enrolling at his local university.

The beliefs we have about ourselves play a significant role in our mental health and wellbeing. Therapy can help you discover which beliefs are truly yours and which rightly belong to other people.

Getting support for depression

If you are experiencing depression, we hope this blog enables you to start seeing it more clearly. To follow up on any points of interest, please do get in touch by phone as we’d be happy to give you some time.

We have written many other blogs on depression and related topics – see our blog list.