A psychologist offers practical, down-to-earth self-help advice for victims of depression and their families.
Stone (How to Think Theologically, 2013, etc.), a practicing marriage and family therapist, writes in this eminently readable book that self-help “is exactly what’s needed to manage and defeat depression.” While he doesn’t advocate avoiding professional help, Stone offers numerous strategies and techniques enabling those with depression to take immediate, substantive action to solve their own problems. The authoritative, comprehensive guide begins with an overview of depression in a section that aims to remove the stigma of depression and help sufferers embrace a future of hope. The bulk of the book details the “four faces” of depression: physiological, cognitive, behavioral and interpersonal, or as Stone puts it more simply, “body, thoughts, actions, and relationships.” The author devotes several chapters to each of the four areas and includes specific examples of people who overcame depression. In the chapters concerning the cognitive area, he discusses errors in thinking that accentuate depression as well as ways to change negative thinking, control obsessive thoughts, create hopeful conversation, reassign blame, deal with guilt and confront the inner critic. In a particularly interesting exercise, Stone recommends creating a depression flowchart. “The depression flowchart,” he writes, “simply reverses the order of the flowchart for assembling a piece of furniture: you learn how you get depressed and therefore what not to do. Now you can design an alternative way of responding to life’s frustrations and uncertainties.” A final part of the book provides specific resources to help with depression, including suicide prevention strategies and ways to seek out and evaluate professional help. At the end of every chapter, Stone appends two very helpful sections, “Take Action” and “For the Family,” each containing specific steps an individual and family can take to most effectively apply the chapter’s content to their own situations. Also helpful are appendices that include a “self-rating depression scale” and suggested readings and references.
Well-organized and replete with examples and exercises; a highly usable aid for those with depression and for concerned families and friends who want to offer meaningful guidance.