There was a time when depression was associated only with the late-middle aged and when its impact on society as a whole was relatively small. However, nowadays the scale of depression has changed dramatically and can now be experienced first by people when they are in their teens or early twenties. The World Health Organization estimates that by the year 2020 depression will be the second largest health burden on the planet!!

Perhaps some of this can be blamed on the changing times, the speed in which today’s society moves at and the stress that this places upon us as individuals. Our lives today are far more complex than they used to be. Technological advances, changes in the work place, changes within family and relationship dynamics, the financial climate and the fracturing of communities are only a few of many variables that can have an impact on our mental health.


Depression can take many different forms, and in its mildest could simply just be one of those days when we are feeling low, something that most of us experience from time to time. However, in its most severe form it can prove to be extremely debilitating, making everyday life hard to bear to such an extent that it can provoke suicidal thoughts. This would be likely be diagnosed as clinical depression.

Manic depression (bi-polar disorder), post-natal depression and seasonal affective disorder are other specific types of depression.

Some symptoms that can be characterised by depression are:

  • Anxiety
  • Feeling in a constant low mood
  • Excessive and disproportionate feelings of guilt
  • Physical aches and pains
  • Lack of self-esteem or self-confidence
  • Having a bleak view of the future
  • Failure to enjoy hobbies or activities
  • Agitation
  • Restlessness
  • Feeling helpless or in despair
  • Negative thoughts
  • Constant crying
  • Fatigue
  • Isolating yourself from others and rejecting support
  • Suicidal thoughts
  • Self-harming
  • Disrupted sleep patterns

Depression is not linked to one specific cause but is usually due to an interaction of biological, social and psychological factors. Therefore it is often the case that a multi-modal approach is taken to address each factor, for example, medication to address the biological component and psychotherapy to address the social and psychological components.

Medication has its advantages in that it offers a faster rate of symptom reduction. However, it is disadvantageous in that it reinforces client passivity which can lead to an over-reliance upon medication to feel better. There are also many documented side effects.

Psychotherapy can be seen as disadvantaged in that it may need a longer time scale for successful results to be seen and that there is a general reliance on therapist competence. However psychotherapy does also have many advantages such as: it is extremely empowering, it can teach you skills for mood management and coping strategies, and it showcases a reduced relapse rate. Furthermore, within therapy you get to learn a lot about yourself and develop your skills of self-awareness which is essential for state management.

My approach to combating depression combines Hypnotherapy with Cognitive Behavioural Therapy and Mindfulness based Cognitive Therapy techniques. These techniques have a proven track record of being used successfully in the treatment of depression, often as an adjunct to medication. However, if you have been diagnosed as clinically depressed it is vital that your GP is aware of your intention to embark on a hypnotherapy programme with me.

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