From Storied Mind – Recover Life from Depression – by John Folk-Williams
The first session I ever had with a psychiatrist proved to me that I could achieve a real change in psychotherapy. While in college, I had been immobilized by panic attacks and was desperate to get help. I spent three hours with a psychiatrist deeply engaged in the confusing mass of experiences I needed to unravel.
After listening for a while with great empathy and attentiveness, he interrupted and suggested a connection between two parts of my life I had kept completely separate. I felt instantly, profoundly, that he had hit it just right. Something shifted and opened up inside, and I knew exactly what had stirred the panic attacks. I felt deeply relieved and was soon able to resume my life.
[Here is a list of other effective tools.]
I think the power of descriptions and explanations, whether or not they
get at the fullness of the inner experience of change, is that they can give me important tools to manage problems.
Cognitive therapy, for example, has given me many effective tools for keeping myself from being overrun by obsessive negative thinking.
Mindfulness meditation in many forms has helped me gain distance and perspective from the flood of feelings and thoughts that depression can trigger.
Learning to accept rather than avoid difficult feelings has helped me expand the range of experience I can handle in everyday life.
Opening up through writing about depression has kept my recovery on track and helped me explore my life from many new perspectives.
These and a dozen other methods I could name help me cope with depression whenever it threatens to take control. They are tools that I have learned to use. I have usually gotten initial guidance in understanding what they are and how they can work from a therapist, and a great many therapy sessions are valuable because they give me such tools.
There are other types of therapy sessions in which deeper change occurs, and these seem to require the presence of a therapist for much more than teaching new skills. It’s in those sessions that the words and theories about thinking, avoidance, feelings and patterns fall a little short.
I like what John has written because it resonates with my experiences in coming out of the black box of depression.