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Depression and the Essential Role of Therapy

Some common thought patterns and beliefs can cause and maintain depression. At Fresh Perspectives we’re trained to help you identify these.

You’ll learn to pay attention to and identify automatic habits of thinking that are unrealistic and unhelpful. We’ll help you replace these with more accurate and objective ones.

It can be exciting to realise that you are not your thoughts, you just think them! And that, standing like a porter at the door of thought, deciding whom to let in, whom to keep out, can bring you better days, stronger relationships and improved functioning across all aspects of your life. 

Dorothy Rowe, Australian psychologist, academic and specialist in the treatment of depression, has been nominated as one of the top one hundred thinkers in the world today. She argues that most of us feel depressed at one time or another, and that depression is a process we go through. She writes, however, that

The people who find it (depression) difficult to get out of are committed to certain ways of thinking. The long term outcome for people with anti-depressants – well some of them won’t get depressed again – but the ones that do get depressed again and again throughout their life. People who have gone into therapy and come to understand their ways of thinking, who learn how to change their thinking patterns, are the ones who can recover from it.

And

We do not see the world as it is, we see it as we are.

Bill O’Hanlon, US doyen of Brief, Solutions-Focussed Therapy expresses it this way

Depression isn’t something you have, it’s something you do!

How do YOU do depression?

Chances are that you —

  • Don’t go out or laugh much
  • Work work work
  • Find yourself withdrawing from people or interacting with others from behind a mask
  • Don’t do much exercise, “incidental” or structured
  • Have difficulties concentrating and remembering things
  • Don’t go out in the sun
  • Keep late hours and can’t get up in the morning, or have other sleep difficulties
  • Have a family history of depressive episodes over several generations
  • Have suffered a special loss, or a combination of losses, in recent years

What is Depressogenic Thinking?

Of all the factors causing and/or keeping depression in place, certain ways of thinking and particular belief systems predominate. Dr Michael Yapko, whose numerous books on depression include Breaking the Patterns of Depression, lists common cognitive distortions including

  • Overgeneralisation
  • Catastrophising and trivialising
  • Jumping to (erroneous) conclusions
  • Dichotomous or all-or-nothing thinking
  • Selective perception (seeing the world “as we are”)
  • “Musterbation” i.e. “Musting” and “shoulding”
  • Labelling and mislabelling
  • Personalising experience
  • Disregarding the positive

And some common depressogenic beliefs such as —

  • If I really want to do something I can (not necessarily!)
  • “Everything happens for a reason” (many things are random)
  • There’s a single “right” way to live and a lot of “wrong” ways
  • There’s only one right solution to a problem
  • I am responsible for everything that happens in my life
  • Other people are responsible for everything that’s gone wrong
  • I must solve my problems on my own
  • If I sharing them with others I’ll be a “burden” for them
  • My feelings are always trustworthy
  • I know everything about myself and everything I should do right now


A recent client provided a fine example of mistaken, though very plausible, thinking. She said,

Losing weight is easy.
I can’t lose weight.
Therefore I’m stupid
.”

This woman, a lawyer of some standing, nevertheless held a demonstrably false statement (there is overwhelming research that over 90% of dieters fail to achieve long term weight loss -) to be true. The thoughts she trusted kept her on the diet/binge cycle, eroding precious self-esteem. The Canadian philosopher, John Ralston Saul, tells us that “doubting is thinking.” Casting doubt on her own pronouncements was the beginning of the end of the client’s hopeless battle with her food and weight issues.

Just to make sure you read the first paragraph here is a summary of what we have said:

Some common thought patterns and beliefs can cause and maintain depression. At Fresh Perspectives we’re trained to help you identify these. You’ll learn to pay attention to and identify automatic habits of thinking that are unrealistic and unhelpful. We’ll help you replace these with more accurate and objective ones. It can be exciting to realise that you are not your thoughts, you just think them! And that, standing like a porter at the door of thought, deciding whom to let in, whom to keep out, can bring you better days, stronger relationships and improved functioning across all aspects of your life. 

 

Therapists...

Susan Hamilton
Susan Hamilton

For Appointments
please phone-

Rooms: 02 9328 1379
Tony: 0417 447 242
Susan: 0424 426 110

Susan is a Medibank Private Provider

Normal business hours

Unit 20/442-446 Edgecliff Road
'Karoola’
Edgecliff NSW 2027

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