Monday, 14 May 2012


Depression is now epidemic today in the western world. 

·        1 in 6 men have clinical depression.
·        1 in 5 women also have clinical depression.

·        It is estimated 1 in 4 teenagers now have clinical depression.

·        Every person is likely to suffer a form of depression at some time in their life.

·        Only I in 9 people who have clinical depression seek treatment it.

Yet figures suggest the earlier that treatment is started, the easier and quicker it is to remedy.
Dr. Martin Seligman has made a study of depression.  His ideas dominate psychology in the USA and have caused a revolution in the treatment of depression in American in the last 10 years.
Until Seligman’s research it was widely believed that a person was powerless to change their circumstances.  It was believed that people are simply programmed to act and respond in certain ways that can not be changed.

Then one day his 5 year old daughter taught him a profound lesson.  Seligman and his young daughter were out weeding the garden.  He the busy phycologist was concentrating on the task at hand ... weeding the garden as quickly as possible.  His daughter on the other hand, was more interested in having fun.  She found delight in pulling the weeds and tossing them in the air and watching them flutter back to the ground.
In a cranky tone he reprimanded his daughter for not getting on with the task.  Work now.  Play later.  

His daughter a little upset but with the honesty of a young child finally came back to her father with a question.  “You know how I learned not to be whiney by the time I was 5?  Well, why can’t you learn not to be grumpy?”

·        This simple childish question changed modern phycology.   It set Seligman learning and studying how to become happy.

Depression robs us of happiness but if we can learn how to be happy it can act as a buffer to prevent depression. If we suffer depression happiness can help make antidepressant drugs more effective.
Happiness was not the only buffer Seligman found.  He ended with a list of 13 buffers to stress and depression.  The list includes: Courage.  Future mindedness.  Optimism.  Interpersonal skills.  Faith.  Work ethic.  Hope.  Honesty.  Perseverance. Capacity for insight.  Forgiveness.  Resilience and happiness.

Before Seligman’s work an America Psychologists could loose their licences to practice if they asked about a person’s faith.  Seligman found in his study of happiness that the happiest people are conservative Christians.
Since Seligman’s work it is now compulsory for Psychologists to take a spiritual inventory of all patients.  Faith is understood to be so helpful in the process of prevention and recovery that a Psychologist who does not do this with each patient they see is now considered negligent if they do not take this inventory.

It seems that science and Phycology are only now just discovering what Christians have always known.  We humans are wonderfully made by God but we made with design limits that can not be exceeded without real harm to ourselves. We are designed to be healthiest when we are in relationship with our creator.

No comments:

Post a Comment