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Unread June 16th, 2005, 09:47 PM
James Pretzer James Pretzer is offline
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Join Date: Jun 2004
Posts: 283
Default Handling "Even my thoughts are wrong..."

Julia,

The way you're handling it sounds good. Here are a few other thoughts that come to mind:
  1. When I'm helping the client deal with others' opinions, I usually start with something like "So, your friend thinks that someone who really wants to can pull themselves out of depression. What do you think of that idea?" in order to get them to start looking critically at the opinions.
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  2. "Examining the evidence" is often a good initial intervention. I might ask what evidence they know of that would support the idea that someone who really wants to can pull themselves out of depression. Then I would ask about evidence they see that doesn't fit with that idea.
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  3. I also like to think of good examples. For example, my understanding is that Abraham Lincoln struggled with depression for years. Does that mean that Lincoln was weak? Does it mean that he was a failure? Does it mean that he wanted to be depressed?
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  4. A different way to approach the issue would be to help the client summarize the progress you and he or she have made in eight weeks. Then you can ask them who's been doing the work (they have, you're the coach and they're the player, you can be helpful in many ways but they're the one who's carrying the ball, you can't carry it for them). If they've improved over the course of eight weeks and they've been doing the work, it sounds as though they're in the process of pulling themselves out of depression and it sounds as though they're turning out to be strong enough to do so successfully. Why didn't they pull themselves out of depression before this? Because they didn't know how to do it.

What other ideas do people have?
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