Depression & Anxiety
Depression and anxiety are widespread today, and appear in peoples’ lives in many different forms. Good psychotherapy for depression and anxiety needs to be highly responsive to the particular individual’s experience of anxiety and depression.
…varies widely in different individuals. To deal with depression, it’s essential to understand how it affects the individual. That means exploration both of how the depression came about and how it manifests in the present.
Depression leads to a loss of vitality, as James Hollis tells us:
“Think of what the word means literally, to de-press, to press down. What is “pressed down”? Life’s energy, life’s intentionality is thwarted, denied, violated… Life is warring against life….”
In depression, the individual is thwarting her- or himself. He or she needs to explore how that happens. What within the person holds them back? Often, incorporating unacknowledged parts of ourselves into our conscious awareness can have an important role in lifting depression.
Jungians see depression as rooted deeply enough that mere attempts on the part of the conscious ego to “stay happy” or “keep positive” won’t be enough. Something deep and fundamental must change within us, to move us on.
Individual therapy that keeps bringing the individual back to his- or herself and his or her own story, and unique being can make a vital difference in dealing with depression
…is a huge issue in our time, which W.H. Auden labelled “the Age of Anxiety”. We live with a great deal of uncertainty, and often, people don’t know what to expect next, which serves to generate anxiety.
Having some anxiety is unavoidable: we can’t eliminate it totally. If we did, we would soon be dead. “Anxiousness” (alertness) keeps us aware and engaged with life. What we need is to keep anxiety within manageable bounds, and not to be overwhelmed.
The more uncontrollable the situation, and the bigger the stakes, the more anxiety we confront. These are very subjective factors. A person can be held hostage by anxiety about a risk that seems very real to them, but not to others. To truly deal with anxiety involves taking our own subjective states very seriously.
Tolerable anxiety differs greatly from disruptive experiences like panic attacks and acute social anxiety. Everyone experiences anxious feelings moving through life, but a person with crippling anxiety may be unable to move through life, or may confront grave obstacles to truly living.
Dealing with the Source
Anxious states often occur because anxiety is protecting us from feeling or experiencing something else. Anxious states may also hold bottled-up energy and vitality. Often, only understanding ourselves starts to create the room to move beyond anxiety. Depression and anxiety counselling with a receptive, competent depth psychotherapist can be one of the best ways to begin that process.