There are hundreds of books on the market that try to help you "overcome" or "put a stop to" depression. But what if depression isn't a "thing" to be gotten rid of? What if depression is a behaviour that, in the context of the life of someone who is depressed, serves an important function or acts as a signal that something needs to change? Learning to understand the function and interpret the signal of depression would, then, be a much more important goal than finding out how to simply make it go away. Living well even with feelings of depression would be a more productive--and probably more attainable--goal. This workbook marks a major development in the treatment of depression. Based on the acceptance and commitment therapy (ACT), an emerging new model of psychotherapy, The Mindfulness and Acceptance Workbook for Depression offers a new approach to depression. The central idea is that feelings of depression are not problems in themselves. What is a serious problem is the avoidance of pleasurable, productive activities. At first depression may set the sufferer up for this avoidance, but sooner or later the process becomes a cycle, and the avoidance behaviours start causing more depressed feelings. When readers use the techniques in this book to evaluate their own experiences of depression, they will find out how to make changes that may or may not decrease their depressed feelings but will most certainly enrich and improve their total life experience.
Kirk D. Strosahl, Ph.D., is associate clinical professor at the University of Washington School of Medicine and cofounder of acceptance and commitment therapy. He has worked for over two decades in primary care medical settings, collaborating with family medicine residents, physicians, nurse practitioners, and physician's assistants, and training family medicine residents.
Patricia J. Robinson, Ph.D., is a consultant and trainer for Mountainview Consulting Group in Yakima, Washington. She is a pioneer in ACT and in the design and evaluation of behavioral health services for primary care settings.