What Lifts Depression Fast?
Why understanding it is key to recovery.
Posted January 27, 2021 | Reviewed by Lybi Ma
I had a new client yesterday who was nervous that our therapy would take the form of her talking, and probably crying, week after week, about all the miserable things that had happened and were still happening in her life.
I reassured her that this was not the way I worked. (Indeed, we human givens practitioners only ever book up session by session, because change can take place surprisingly fast.) It reminded me, however, of the time when I was contacted a few years ago by a young woman I’ll call Julia. She told me that she had been seeing a therapist for anxiety and depression every week for seven years. It was her next sentence that has always stuck in my mind: ‘And I’m starting to think that I am not getting any better.’
I told her that she was welcome to try the human givens approach, but that she would not be able to do both. She decided to try a session.
On arrival, she could hardly sit still and, indeed, she perched on the very edge of her chair, literally wringing her hands. She told me that she couldn’t control her racing thoughts and woke every day with a heavy, dead feeling in the pit of her stomach, which persisted all day. She was very quickly in tears and, when I expressed concern, was surprised because, she said, she always cried during therapy.
By the end of that session, she was relaxed and calm, amazed at how much she had learned about depression , how it arises from essential needs not being met, leading to a cycle of worry, poor sleep, loss of motivation, and deepening depression. I also explained what leads to chronic anxiety , and how to stop it. And then I relaxed her deeply— probably her first experience ever of fully relaxing—and guided her to imagine herself putting into place the changes we had discussed, which would enable her to open up a brighter future for herself.
Julia had enormous life resources, which we could build on. She had a supervisory role in a care home, a job demanding strong empathy skills. She had a chronic health condition, which she managed resolutely and with good humour. She was in a loving long-term relationship and had lots of interests. All that held her back was the relentless criticism she had received from her mother since childhood, which had fueled her lack of self-belief.
After one month, in which we rehearsed very different expectations, she was a completely different person.
We could have stopped our sessions there but, after seven years of hand-holding, she was frightened to do so. I spaced our sessions out, seeing her first after a two-month gap and then after three. At the latter session, she told me about a conflict with her boyfriend, which previously she would have ‘saved up’ to rail about in her weekly therapy session.
‘But I wasn’t seeing you for another five weeks, so I had to deal with it myself,’ she said. Using techniques and skills we had previously rehearsed, she very constructively did.
This convinced her that she was ready to stop our therapy, after just six sessions.
This is nothing unusual for HG practitioners. We expect to bring about significant positive change quite quickly, even when someone has suffered anxiety and depression for many years, has tried to end their life, or has suffered serious abuse. Indeed, practitioners will be sharing many of their inspiring stories at our summit in February. 1
1. The Lifting Depression Summit will take place online on 27 February 2021.