Meditation and depression
I am a Psychologist in Australia working predominantly in Pain Management and depression. I am currently doing my Masters looking at Buddhist approaches to mental illness. The focus being depression, bipolar and schizophrenia. As part of my research I am interested in interviewing practitioners using Buddhist approaches in their practice (i.e.meditation). You can email me at
I will be travelling to the USA in May 1999 to conduct interviews. I will aslo be travelling to Thailand and India, probably in 2000. I am also interested in discussing the Abhidhamma with anyone who is interested in exploring its meaning in relation to psychology practice. I learn best discussing things as opposed to reading only.
I am currently writing a case study on a client who has experienced depression over the last 30 years and whose previous treatment had little effect. medication serving only to isolate him further from his support network. In working with this client I began to refine my use of both mindfulness meditation and concentrative techniques. The use of a mindfulness technique as the initial intervention, to assist my client in observing the habitual mental patterns perpetuating his experience of depression. The clients ability to observe his thoughts without attachment and to see them as thoughts to which he did not need to act upon but could just observe resulted in great insight. Also using sensations as a focus enabled him to notice what it was at a physical level that indicated the presence of depression. In focusing on this without buying into the cognitions enabled him to notice that this indicator of depression (which he found difficult to verbalise but ”felt” as a constant companion during depressive episodes) was not a constant unchanging experience but rather a transient physical experience that disippated quickly upon maintaining awareness on it. This reulted in him experiencing depression as a wave that washed over him in minutes to reveal an open, spacious experience that resulted in new ways of relating to his day to day experiences. He stated that previously he would maintain this experience of depression for months not minutes and that it was obvious to him how his thoughts and behavioural patterns maintained his depression. This process took approxiametely three months over about eight sessions during which he was able to cease medication. He has not had an experience of depression other than the minutes of physiological sensation that would lead to his months of depression, for over six months. He cannot remember a period of being free from depression for six months in the last 30 years.
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