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Doody's Review ServiceReviewer: Patricia E. Murphy, PhD (Rush University Medical Center)
Description: Directed to persons who suffer from depression, the author uses his experience of patient education groups to provide information about a variety of topics related to this illness.
Purpose: By offering information about the variety of factors that contribute to depression, the author hopes to suggest a way, within the debilitating symptoms of depression, for the reader to exercise agency in moving to recovery. The attempt to use education about depression to empower the patient seems quite worthwhile.
Audience: Although the intended audience is persons with depression and their caregiver, the reading requires discipline and might be more accessible to those with a college education. The author's skill in walking a fine line between symptom and the individual's responsibility to work towards recovery could make this a valuable book for trainees in mental health care.
Features: Early chapters introduce the reader to the "Catch-22" of depression, "The things you need to do to recover from depression are made difficult by the symptoms of depression." He masterfully walks through a variety of topics, like genetic predisposition, early child-hood development, and stress as contributors to depression. At the same time, with each topic he suggests "elbow room" which allows choice for response rather than being a victim of circumstances of the disease. He gently exposes the patient's responsibility for change as a reason for hope rather than a reason for self-blame.
Assessment: Allen uses the most recent research on chronic depression and communicates it in a user-friendly way. The clinician can trust that the volume offers the patient the best available information in a sensitive manner.