Depression counselling – Hebden Bridge

Defining and Describing Depression:

Some insights for depressed or grieving individuals

Copyright (c) 2017, Jim Byrne and Renata Taylor-Byrne

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depressed-woman2Depression is construed differently in the three major schools of counselling and psychotherapy.  In our system, in Emotive Cognitive Embodied Narrative Therapy (E-CENT), which is the most holistic mind-body approach to counselling, coaching and therapy, depression is linked back to our origins in the animal kingdom, and out into the stressful market economies of the twenty-first century.  It is linked to our lifestyle ‘choices’ – (which are strongly steered by the mass media).  It is linked to the competitiveness of neoliberal politics, and an increasingly uncaring world of materialist values.  It is linked to our family of origin, and our current relationship support systems.  But most of all it is linked to our sense of serious loss or failure in the recent past.

Depression is difficult to grapple with, and depression can be defeated!

Our emotive-cognitive theory of depression says we have to distinguish between transient grief and stuck depression.

Grief is born into us, and was born into our ancestors.  We did not invent it.  And we do not cause it in ourselves.  It is triggered by particularly significant losses (and sometimes serious failures).  Grief is ‘depression’ which is appropriate to some significant loss or failure in the recent past. While depression is stuck-‘grief’ which is inappropriate to loss or failure in the more distant past.

Inappropriate depression could also come from exaggerating the degree of badness of a current or recent loss or failure; or refusing to accept its inevitability; or trying (in your mind) to reverse an irreversible loss or failure.

Image result“I didn’t want my picture taken because I was going to cry. I didn’t know why I was going to cry, but I knew that if anybody spoke to me or looked at me too closely the tears would fly out of my eyes and the sobs would fly out of my throat and I’d cry for a week. I could feel the tears brimming and sloshing in me like water in a glass that is unsteady and too full.” 

Sylvia Plath

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This distinction (between grief and depression) is equivalent to saying that there is appropriate depression (called ‘grief’, which gradually heals itself) and inappropriate depression (called ‘depression’, which gets stuck and needs some kind of psychological intervention).

Grief and depression are intense forms of sadness about real or symbolic losses (or failures), combined with a sense of hopelessness and helplessness.

Grief is a helpful emotion which has enhanced human survival; while there is also a kind of inappropriate-depression which indicates a grief process that is stuck, and which is not being processed over time; or an exaggerated sense of recent loss.

“Because that’s the thing about depression. When I feel it deeply, I don’t want to let it go. It becomes a comfort. I want to cloak myself under its heavy weight and breathe it into my lungs. I want to nurture it, grow it, cultivate it. It’s mine. I want to check out with it, drift asleep wrapped in its arms and not wake up for a long, long time.”

Stephanie Perkins, Lola and the Boy Next Door

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Jims-counselling-div2Jim’s Holistic Counselling and Psychotherapy Division***

If you need my help, then please contact me today:

01422 843 629, from inside the UK.

44 1422 843 629 from outside.

Email: drjwbyrne@gmail.com

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Blue-logo7Renata’s Lifestyle Coaching and Counselling Division***

Would you like me to help you to clarify and resolve any of your lifestyle problems?  Is so, please call me today:

01422 843 629, from inside the UK.

44 1422 843 629 from outside.

Email: renata4coaching@btinternet.com

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grief-and-traumaWhen clients present with grief about a recent (significant) loss or failure, E-CENT counsellors offer sympathy and understanding, and sensitive attunement to their emotional state.  Over time, we encourage the client to cry, to grieve, and to heal.  There is only so much crying that a person can do about a loss (or failure), if they are gradually completing their experience of that loss (or failure).

Stuck-depression is an unhelpful emotion: When client grief goes on for more than about eighteen months, we consider that the process is stuck and needs to be moved forwards.  Sometimes that stuckness is caused by trauma – arising out of the fact that the client was already overly stressed when they experienced the loss or failure in question.  So we assist this client by suggesting that we help them to work through a ‘desensitization process’, which involves relaxation and visualisation exercises.  Or we guide them through a process of getting in touch with their depressed feelings, naming them, describing them in words, and reflecting upon their growing understanding of what it means (to them) to have these feelings (about their loss [or failure]).

“We are healed from suffering only by experiencing it to the full”.  Marcel Proust

“One who is afraid to examine the past cannot see the future”. Taro Gold

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On the other hand, sometimes the process of grieving is stuck because of temperament/character problems within the client.  This normally takes the form of excessively strong demands that the loss or failure must be reversed, somehow – even if somebody has died, or the lost thing no longer exists.

In this latter kind of stuck-depression, we might use the Six Windows Model to teach the client to reframe their depressing loss or failure.  And/or we might recommend that they shift the focus from what they’ve lost to what they still have in their lives: a process of refocusing.

And we would tend to give some advice regarding diet, exercise, hydration, sleep habits, and other holistic lifestyle elements of the client-problem whole.

“Sometimes I just think depression’s one way of coping with the world. Like, some people get drunk, some people do drugs, some people get depressed. Because there’s so much stuff out there that you have to do something to deal with it.” 
Ned Vizzini, It’s Kind of a Funny Story

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Jim’s Holistic Counselling and Psychotherapy Division***

If you need my help, then please contact me today:

01422 843 629, from inside the UK.

44 1422 843 629 from outside.

Email: drjwbyrne@gmail.com

~~~

Renata’s Lifestyle Coaching and Counselling Division***

Would you like me to help you to clarify and resolve any of your lifestyle problems?  Is so, please call me today:

01422 843 629, from inside the UK.

44 1422 843 629 from outside.

Email: renata4coaching@btinternet.com

~~~

depressing-circumstances2Unlike the CBT therapists, we believe people are depressed partly because of their life circumstances, and partly because of their view of their life circumstances.  We help our clients to figure out what they can control and what is beyond their control, and to decide how to deal with both categories of facts.  We teach them to accept the things they cannot change, and how to do that accepting.

But the reframing process, or the refocusing process, are the most likely tools that we would use in most situations. And we use moderate Buddhist insights and moderate Stoic insights.  But we will never tell you “it’s all in your head!”

If you are feeling depressed, and would like one of us to help you to find a way out of your black cloud, then please contact us to set up a 45 minutes meeting.  Or email us to ask for further information.

Best wishes, and take care of yourself!

Jim Byrne and Renata Taylor-Byrne

February 2017

Email: drjwbyrne@gmail.com

renata4coaching@btinternet.com

Telephone: 01422 843 629

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