Tuesday, November 3, 2009

The Social Dimension of Depression

I was more than happy to read Dr. Michael Yapko's new post on depression. Rather than see the illness as merely a problem of brain chemistry or disordered emotions, Yapko insists on the importance of the social aspect of the problem. Link here.

If depression is a feeling of being isolated from society, it makes perfectly good sense to say that people who lack social skills, who have poor relationships, and who are inadequately socialized can easily fall victim to it.

Why do mental health professionals ignore this aspect of the problem? Simply, because they have not been trained to help people develop their social skills. Psychiatrists are physicians; they see depression as a problem of brain chemistry. Psychologists are trained in mental and emotional processing; they see depression as a mental and emotional problem.

It remained for coaches to understand the importance of socialization and to work to help people improve their ability to get along with other people. Coaches understood that if you are brought up in one kind of community and move to another, the skills that were perfectly adequate in your community of birth might well label you as an outsider in your new social whirl.

It has nothing to do with good or bad parenting; it can be explained without referring to infantile traumas. Social dislocations cause depressive states, primarily because they produce anomie.

Long time readers of this blog know that I have often blogged about this topic. You will find some of my previous comments by following this link. Link here.

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