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Hand-Me-Down Blues: How To Stop Depression From Spreading in Families
     

Hand-Me-Down Blues: How To Stop Depression From Spreading in Families

by Michael D. Yapko, Jay Haley (Introduction)
 

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A powerful, family-based approach to understanding and treating depression that goes way beyond Prozac.

Many people have been led to believe that depression is caused simply by a chemical imbalance in the brain, and as a result they look to science for convenient answers, hoping that "a capsule a day will keep depression away." Unfortunately, this narrow focus on

Overview

A powerful, family-based approach to understanding and treating depression that goes way beyond Prozac.

Many people have been led to believe that depression is caused simply by a chemical imbalance in the brain, and as a result they look to science for convenient answers, hoping that "a capsule a day will keep depression away." Unfortunately, this narrow focus on biology and the use of medications has often led people to overlook other important influences, such as how our family can affect emotional health in powerful ways.

In Hand-Me-Down Blues, Dr. Michael Yapko carefully describes how the family can play a crucial role in the development of and recovery from depression. Parents introduce their children to various life experiences and inevitably reveal their own values, perspectives, and biases. Children typically learn to interpret life events in the same way their parents do, and their interpretations can be a basis for depression. Once depression strikes, it distorts family relationships, splintering families as it spreads from one person to another like a virus. Thus, children can "inherit" depression less from their parents' genes and more from their parents' attitudes and behaviors. Consider, for example, how the behavior of an emotionally inexpressive parent can affect a child who is hungry for eye contact, a smile, a hug and a kiss. The family that does not know its own power to hurt or heal its members is a family at risk for becoming overwhelmed and, yes, depressed.

Hand-Me-Down Blues describes the family as a powerful agent not only in the development of depression but also in its resolution. Without blame, the book shows how families can deal effectively with depression, armed with much more than a prescription. Part I describes the nature of depression, including both its biological and social origins, and introduces you to a family systems perspective— how depression can be a reflection of what's going on in a family. Part II covers how you can acquire depression from your family, bring this negative influence unintentionally into your marriage, and unconsciously pass it along to your children. Part III offers specific methods to help diminish depression's influence on your family, including being responsible to others, building family rituals, and developing realistic expectations. Dr. Yapko's solutions show you that you are not a victim and have more power than you may realize to change unhealthy situations and other people's responses to them.

Did you learn depression from your family? Maybe. But this is one family legacy you don't have to carry on. Hand-Me-Down Blues shows how learning effective problem-solving and relationship skills can reduce and even prevent depression— something no medication can ever do.

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"Without a doubt, depression is a prevalent and psychologically painful disorder often passed from one family member to another. This breakthrough book skillfully teaches families how to cope with and also prevent the spread of this disorder by providing sound wisdom and insightful guidelines that empower both parents and children to take responsibility to make better choices day to day. Again the false dichotomy of 'nature or nurture' is exposed, and the power of insight and choice exalted."—Dr. Stephen R. Covey, author of The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People and The 7 Habits of Highly Effective Families

"In Hand-Me-Down Blues, Dr. Michael Yapko combines current psychological research with good common sense. He explores how family members can help each other fight depression. Yapko is a sophisticated professional, but it's obvious he has been around ordinary families. His writing reflects both kinds of experiences. I highly recommend this important book."—Mary Pipher, Ph.D., author of Reviving Ophelia and The Shelter of Each Other

"A rigid family of beliefs posits that the proper treatment of depression is 'better living through biochemistry.' Dr. Michael Yapko, an internationally renowned expert, brilliantly argues for a broader view: Living better in families provides the real chemistry for happiness. Read this book and catalyze enduring change."—Jeffrey K. Zeig, Ph.D., director, The Milton H. Erickson Foundation, and president, Zeig, Tucker & Company Publishers

Library Journal
Mental health practitioners have long observed that depression runs in families. Clinical psychologist Yapko (Breaking the Patterns of Depression, LJ 6/1/97) discusses the interrelationship of depression, parenting styles, and family dynamics, contending that inherited depression cannot be solely explained in terms of genetic inheritance or biochemical imbalance. Social and behavioral factors play a major role; parents transmit dysfunctional patterns of perception and thinking to their children, who in turn continue negative attitudes and behaviors and unwittingly pass these on to their own children. Through clear explanations and case studies, Yapko illustrates that how families deal with life experiences can either predispose members to depression or insulate them from it. Yapko describes communication, problem solving, and critical thinking skills that individuals and families can learn and use to create healthy relationships and outlines methods of family systems therapy in the treatment of depression. Recommended for popular psychology collections.--Lucille M. Boone, San Jose P.L., CA

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781582380216
Publisher:
St. Martin's Press
Publication date:
03/01/1999
Edition description:
First Edition
Pages:
242
Product dimensions:
6.12(w) x 9.58(h) x 1.02(d)

Meet the Author

Michael D. Yapko, Ph.D. is a clinical psychologist and marriage and family therapist in private practice who lectures worldwide on the subject of depression. He is the author of five previous books and dozens of articles in which he describes active, skill-building interventions as vital to effective treatment of depression, including the authoritative section in the Encyclopedia Britannica's Medical and Health Annual. He is a member of the American Psychological Association and the American Association for Marriage and Family Therapy and a Fellow of both the Royal Society of Medicine in England and the American Society of Clinical Hypnosis. He lives with his wife near San Diego, California.

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