From Depression to Contentment: A Self-Therapy Guide Paperback – 10 February 2019
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- Paperback : 156 pages
- ISBN-10 : 1615994351
- ISBN-13 : 978-1615994359
- Dimensions : 15.6 x 0.84 x 23.39 cm
- Publisher : Loving Healing Press (10 February 2019)
- Language: : English
- Best Sellers Rank: 304,919 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
- Customer Reviews:
"Have you been diagnosed with depression? Do you believe you're stuck with it, because of your genetics, your brain chemistry, your past or your circumstances? Luckily, you're not. In From Depression to Contentment, Dr. Bob Rich reveals how you can re-engineer your life to beat depression. The book is empowering, empathetic and written with great intelligence. The guide draws on many proven therapeutic tech-niques, and Dr. Bob adds something new and creative to each one, making them even more powerful. The author generously interweaves his own story of recovering from depression with other case studies and examples, making the book very relatable and easy to understand. The essential message of the book is that you can beat depression by improving the quality of your thinking, your behavior and your life. There are a couple of sections that appear to veer away from the main topic, but don't skip them, because they offer uplifting stories full of hope, inspiration and motivation. Overall, a wonderfully refreshing and practical self-help guide to healing from depression and living a fulfilling life."
-- Beth Burgess, psychotherapist, author of Instant Wisdom, The Happy Addict, and The Recovery Formula
"Dr. Bob Rich has created a simple and direct guide to beat back depression for good. Put forth in easy to digest bits, the approach uses small, effective steps to move past the overwhelm of depression. Written in a conversational tone, Dr. Rich expresses his personal and profes-sional understanding of the toll depression takes on one's life, while avoiding technicalities of the condition. If you're looking to move past depression without drugs, then this practical guidebook is for you."
-- Diane Wing, M.A., author of The Happiness Perspective: Seeing Your Life Differently
"Depression can be turned into a positive and can actually enrich our lives if we just try. It is not easy to acquire the skills and the knowledge necessary to learn to cope well and to recover, but this book will make the effort easier. Specific interventions - like guided imagery and mindfulness meditation - are suggested and explained. All-in-all, this is a valuable manual on how to live well with depression and acquire the right skills and knowledge that will tame the depression to a point where the person will live well without being affected by symptoms."
-- Alfredo Zotti, author of Alfredo's Journey: An Artist's Creative Life with Bipolar Disorder
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Dr Bob’s latest book–he has other published books to his credit as well–is eminently readable, rigorous and, first and foremost, practical. He has much to offer the person who suffering from depression. I, too, suffered from depression for a number of years. Many of the techniques Dr Bob offers in From Depression to Contentment worked for me as well–things such as making changes in one’s diet, the importance of regular exercise, sleep, progressive muscular relaxation, mindfulness meditation, forgiveness, constructive self-talk, guided imagery and social networks. I particularly liked his advice, ‘Whatever depression tells you, do the opposite.’ That reminds me of the metaphysical ‘law of indirectness’–a principle I often refer to on my blog–which advises that we should never attempt to put a thought or problem out of our mind directly but rather let the problem slip from the sphere of conscious analysis. Dr Bob takes that principle a little further and advises that we should do the opposite of what our depression is telling us. That makes perfect sense to me. Indeed, that particular gem of wisdom helped me immeasurably in my own recovery from depression.
Dr Bob stresses the importance of developing resilience and tough-mindedness and shows the reader how to develop those important qualities of mind. The book also contains much helpful and practical advice on how to process trauma and deal with relapse. He also discusses and recommends what is known as Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT), which is a transdiagnostic cognitive behavioural therapy that predominantly teaches clients acceptance and mindfulness skills. It is a form of therapy that has been shown to significantly improve primary outcomes. The author refers with consternation to the medicalisation of depression (‘human suffering’) and writes for the most part for the person who seeks a drug-free approach to the treatment of depression. However, at the same time he recognises that there is a place for medication with, for example, bipolar disorder. (In my own recovery from clinical depression, I used a multi-faceted treatment paradigm including many of the approaches and techniques recommended by Dr Bob, along with psychotherapy and, for a time at least, antidepressant medication.)
Dr Bob also refers to the importance of spiritual care. By ‘spiritual,’ he is not referring to ‘religious’ in any formal, organisational sense. On the contrary, the word ‘spiritual’ means non-material or non-physical. The English word ‘spirit’ comes from the Latin spiritus meaning, among other things, breath, breathing, air, inspiration, character, spirit, life, vigour and courage. Spirituality does not require or depend upon notions of supernaturalism or religion. On the contrary, spirituality is all about the development of a healthy mind, emotions and will. The author refers to his own study and application of the teachings of the Buddha but, again, the emphasis is on the application of a naturalistic approach to life and the problem of suffering. After all, Buddhism, in many of its forms, is not a religion, but a system of mental cultivation. Manly Palmer Hall once wrote, ‘In Buddhism we have what is probably the oldest and most perfectly integrated system of what we now call psychology.’
The spiritual philosopher Alan Watts referred to Buddhism as ‘something more nearly resembling psychotherapy’ as opposed to its being a religion or philosophy as those terms are understood in the West. In a similar vein, Professor Huston Smith, in his seminal The World’s Religions (New York: HarperCollins, 1991), wrote that Buddhism, in its oldest form, is ‘uniquely psychological’ as opposed to metaphysical.
My only qualm–a small one at that–regarding Dr Bob’s treatment of Buddhism is the inclusion of some 12 pages on the subject of reincarnation. Dr Bob is of the view that acceptance of the supposed reality of reincarnation helps in the attainment of contentment. Perhaps he is right in his position. Reincarnation is certainly an interesting idea; if it’s true, it helps to explain a number of life’s mysteries and apparent injustices. However, what actually reincarnates? The ‘soul’? Some ‘reincarnating ego’? One’s so-called karma? There’s no consensus on that matter, and most Buddhists do not appear to accept the reality of the soul. Anyway, Buddhists speak more in terms of ‘rebirth’ than reincarnation. Several Buddhist scriptures–and some quite early ones at that–describe ‘rebirth’ as being entirely in the form of a person’s influence or, perhaps, their enduring character. The historical Buddha was never one for metaphysical speculation. If asked about the matter of rebirth, I am sure he would have said something like this, ‘Does it really matter? The important thing is this present life now? How are you reincarnating today?’ Each day, and in every moment of the day, we can be reincarnated into newness of life. I find that idea extremely liberating.
Enough said. There is nothing in From Depression to Contentment that should offend either the non-religious or, for that matter, the religious. The ideas, teachings and techniques presented are capable of being used to anyone’s advantage. The author’s advice is based solidly on psychological treatment and experience, both professional and personal.
We all need healing, for suffering is part of being a human being. Our problems may be physical, emotional or spiritual, or more often than not a combination of those things. Dr Bob’s book contains much helpful advice on the phenomenon of healing at whatever level it may be needed. He tells his readers what they need to know, and what they need to do to receive healing. The book also contains a helpful bibliography and an index. The table of contents is well-structured, as is the book itself.
I feel privileged in commending Dr Bob’s book to anyone who is seeking a practical, self-help guide to the healing of depression.
Top reviews from other countries
In ‘From Depression to Contentment’, Dr. Bob Rich gives us, in clear simple steps, a way out, a guiding light. He knows this works, you just have to do it. Depression is not a label, pills are not a healthy way out, but there are steps that we can take that will start us on the ladder out of the pit. There is a fair amount of literature that will tackle any one of his suggestions in more detail, such as Matthew Walker’s excellent text, Why We Sleep, which is, surprisingly, about healthy sleeping. However, here in one simple pragmatic volume, are all those steps and how you should do them. Just as importantly, it is not only what you should do, but what you should not do.
What I loved about this book was it’s focus on meaning, there are some excellent passages on how important this is to mental health – I won’t spoil it for you, but this is a hugely important issue that can be neglected within this field, and Dr. Bob Rich explains it intelligently.
Dr. Bob Rich puts you back in control, does not accept the usual mantras and sops for the soul, and he wisely puts the issue of depression into its wider context. This is a timely and important text that makes a shrewd and significant contribution to this field.
The book covers more than just depression. It talks about dealing with life’s obstacles that lead to depression. Chapter two lists seven requirements for a contented life: healthy eating, satisfying sleep, regular physical exercise, regular fun, creativity, social connectedness, and meaning. With determination, things everyone can achieve. Some of these I need to work on. I found the chapter on relaxation and meditation recommendations very helpful with easy to use techniques.
In the About the Author page it states Doctor Bob’s major joy in life is to be of benefit to others, and I must admit this book’s contents were of benefit to me and will help other readers. While it is a relatively short book, those who read it will want to re-read it several times and probably keep it at hand for dealing with difficult times and situations. So when I found the pdf version he gave me to review helpful, I decided to buy the Kindle version.
Doctor Bob also talks about many problems plaguing the world and humanity that can cause depression, which is on the rise. I whole-heartedly agree with these views.