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From The CriticsReviewer: Christopher J. Graver, PhD(Madigan Army Medical Center)
Description: Depression is a common psychological disease with many options for treatment, including psychotherapy and pharmacotherapy. Nevertheless, many patients never seek professional treatment. In the growing trend of bibliotherapy, this book provides a self-treatment resource for individuals who suffer from depression or dysthymia.
Purpose: The primary aim of this book is provide a self-help resource for depression sufferers. It does so with an eye towards mindfulness-based cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), combining traditional CBT concepts with mindfulness and meditation.
Audience: Persons who have symptoms of depression, dysthymia, or a sense of an unfulfilled life and who are looking for a self-help avenue for treatment are the intended readers. There is no particular expertise or esoteric knowledge required to fully comprehend this book. The authors are outstanding researchers and pioneers in mindfulness-based treatment.
Features: This book takes a narrative approach rather than a lecturing approach. The authors convey the sense of a conversation with the reader and impart an understanding of the difficulties faced in depression. The book progresses from an introduction to mindfulness through exercises designed to facilitate awareness of the therapeutic concepts. Vignettes help readers associate with the problems and techniques that are introduced. Small shaded boxes in the margins highlight important concepts and a CD included with the book provides guided meditations. While there are recognizable components of CBT in the book, much of it isfocused on changing the readers' attitudes and ways of interpreting the world around them. It would have been nice to see more of the traditional CBT techniques to at least provide a foundation before leaping into mindfulness.
Assessment: This is a helpful book for readers interested in mindfulness and meditation approaches to treating depression. The CBT underpinnings are well founded, but there are not a lot of concrete examples or step-by-step methods as in traditional CBT. For readers who prefer a more structured approach to treatment, Feeling Good: The New Mood Therapy , Burns (HarperCollins, 1999), may be easier to follow. Nevertheless, this can be a good resource for individuals wishing to embark on a self-therapy voyage.