the mindful way through depression

The Mindful Way through Depression

QUICK OVERVIEW

Freeing yourself from chronic unhappiness (includes CD)

The Mindful Way through Depression draws on the collective wisdom of four internationally renowned mindfulness experts, including bestselling author Jon Kabat-Zinn, to provide effective relief from the most prevalent psychological disorder. This authoritative, easy-to-use self-help program is based on methods clinically proven to reduce the recurrence of depression. Revealing the hidden psychological mechanisms that cause chronic unhappiness, the authors gently guide readers through a series of exercises designed to break the mental habits that lead to despair. Kabat-Zinn lends his calm, familiar voice to the accompanying CD of guided meditations, making this a complete package for anyone looking to regain a sense of balance and contentment.

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Health Professional Review

Health Professional Reviewer: Lorraine Johnston, Mental Health Social Worker. Reviewed 26 February 2014.

Book Title: The Mindful Way through Depression: freeing yourself from chronic unhappiness

Author(s): 

Mark Williams, PhD is Professor of Clinical Psychology and  a research fellow at the University of Oxford, UK.

John Teasdale, PhD, is a retired researcher who has held senior research appointments funded by the UK Medical research Council. This is the second book on Mindfulness that he has co-authored.

Zindel Segal, PhD, is the Morgan Firestone Chair in Psychotherapy, University of Toronto. He has co-authored two other books on Mindfulness and depression.

Jon Kabat-Zinn, PhD is a scientist, writer and meditation teacher. He is founding executive director of the Center for Mindfulness in Medicine, Health Care and Society. He has written numerous books on Mindfulness. His work has contributed to the growing movement of mindfulness in psychology and medicine as well as institutions such as education and prisons.

 Date published: 2007

 Suitable for: People who experience chronic  low mood. The book would require an average level of literacy.

 Problems addressed: Chronic low mood, mild-moderate depression.

 Book Summary: Mindfulness training is a technique to help prevent and manage a number of disorders. This book applies Mindfulness to the problems of chronic  low mood and depression.  Mindfulness is a technique that links body, mind and emotion to overcome the power that low mood and depression can have when they take hold. The book begins by explaining why depression can be so difficult to overcome, and why it keeps coming back, by focusing on the links between mind, body and emotions. Part 2  shows how Mindfulness can shift old habits of thinking, feeling and doing. Part 3 helps focus the practice on dealing with the downward spiral of unhappiness into depression. Part 4 brings it all together in an eight-week program. There is an accompanying CD with guided meditations.

 Strengths:

  1. It explains at length how and why Mindfulness can be effective at countering chronic low mood. It also pulls no punches about the significant mind-shift that is required to fully engage with Mindfulness practice. It is not until page 228 that the practical eight-week program begins. This long lead-up helps to ensure readers have a good understanding of the process and are fully tuned in to Mindfulness before they start.
  1. The accompanying CD offers seven different guided meditation practices, so this is a real bonus.
  2. Therapeutically, the book is probably most valuable to people when they are well. The writers also make this point with a caution – “..it may be wise not to undertake the entire program while in the midst of an episode of clinical depression. Current evidence suggests that it may be prudent to…approach this new way of working with your thoughts and feelings, with your mind and spirit unburdened by the crushing weight of acute depression.” (p8).

Weaknesses:

  1. Lengthy paragraphs, often two to a page, could challenge a reader currently struggling with the cognitive impacts of depression.
  2.  Although the subject – the promise of a freeing from chronic unhappiness –  might be attractive to someone in the midst of a depressive episode, it could be quite difficult to summon the necessary mental focus through the fog of depression.

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