During dinner with my kids recently my son got a text message. He choked back tears as he told us that a friend had committed suicide. Earlier this year, on Mother's Day, a 16-year-old friend of my daughter's took his life while at their boarding school. Neither of these young men appeared to be depressed or at risk of ending their lives. Their devastated families and friends are left with unimaginable grief, unanswered questions, and, most likely, a measure of guilt over what they did or didn’t do that might have contributed to, or prevented the tragic death of their loved one.
As a psychotherapist and energy healer I work with people every day who are struggling with depression. Very few of them will reach such levels of despair that they will resort to ending their lives, but many will live lives of quiet desperation, not able to find joy in everyday life, perhaps relying on some addictive behavior to provide a measure of relief from the constant pain of depression.
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For some, the depression is a result of some loss or traumatic life event, or perhaps a culmination of such events. For others, the depression seems to be part of their personal make-up; it has been present with them for as long as they can remember and there doesn't seem to have been any precipitating cause. My experience indicates that depression is almost always a symptom of some physical or emotional insult, whether the client is consciously aware of the causal event or not.
As the person on whom my clients rely for some relief from the stranglehold of their depression, I often felt as though I was letting my clients down. Although we made some positive changes in attitude and behavior, I sensed that we were not unearthing the real roots of their depression. Changes took place on a superficial level; healing was not happening at a level that allowed clients to experience deeply satisfying and joyful lives.
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We were working at the level of the conscious mind, dealing with the 3-7% of information that the conscious mind knows. Although I was using hypnotherapy, guided imagery and other tools to access the subconscious mind, which is responsible for the other 93-97% of our thoughts, feelings, and behaviors, the results were not clear and consistent.
Some clients experienced a measure of relief from anti-depressant medications but others were either reluctant to take medication or struggled with side effects that were worse than the depression itself. In a nutshell, my experience in treating people with depression using traditional methods of therapy was, in a word, depressing.