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|Deconstructing Depression - Page 7|
As time went on, she became more able to avert the plunge to despair. A notable turning point was when a colleague from work told her she didn't want to join her for their regular Friday lunchtime walks anymore—she wanted to keep her time "flexible" so she could sometimes join other friends. Instead of falling into despair, Shawna got mad at what she felt was a betrayal. Getting mad wasn't an ideal reaction, but it was better than depressed and full of self-blame! Indeed, her anger actually seemed to lift her depression and allowed her some energy to decide what to do about taking care of herself at lunchtime without her friend's companionship. With that step to anger instead of despair, Shawna turned the corner in the direction of self-care.
What I've described isn't a therapy of dramatic moves, but of small steps—a kind of microtherapy—that focuses on subtle shifts in behavior patterns and daily attitudes. With time, it can create profound change in clients who staunchly resist interventions that seem too bold and threatening. This carefully calibrated type of therapy is, of course, always grounded in the clinician's attunement with clients' worldviews and an appreciation of the degree to which their actions can be influenced initially. But those who recognize the crucial differences among the many varieties of depression, and who have the patience to work carefully, will discover that being slow and steady is an underrated therapeutic virtue.
Margaret Wehrenberg, Psy.D., specializes in anxiety treatment, using a holistic approach for symptom management. She's the author of the forthcoming 10 Best-Ever Depression Management Techniques and of The 10 Best-Ever Anxiety Management Techniques. Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org. Tell us what you think about this article by e-mail at email@example.com, or at www.psychotherapynetworker.org. Log in and you'll find the comment section on every page of the online Magazine section.