In Depression, Dr. Michael D. Yapko demonstrates his approach to treating clients with this ubiquitous disorder. Depression often leads clients to ruminate on the past and to feel helpless to change their feelings or current situation. Using hypnotherapy, psychoeducation, and cognitive–behavioral therapy, Dr. Yapko helps clients to understand the nature of depression and to focus on potential positive events in their future.
In this session, Dr. Yapko works with a woman in her 40s who has gone through several major losses in the past year, including the end of her marriage and her job, resulting in her feeling that her life is all but over. Using hypnosis, Dr. Yapko does some guided imagery work with the client to help her see further possibilities in her life instead of focusing on the negative events of the past year.
Dr. Yapko's approach is to help the client become an agent in their personal fight to beat depression. Depression is classified as a mood disorder, but it affects much more than mood: it can affect all parts of a person's life, including their behavior, relationships, and physiology. It is a common disorder, making it important for all therapists to be aware of its symptoms and ways for treating it.
The goal behind activating the agent role in the client is to reduce the feeling of helplessness that accompanies depression. The therapist should increase clients' flexibility so that they can respond in new ways to the situations they face instead of feeling they "can't do anything," a thought pattern that usually leads to deeper depression.
Dr. Yapko's approach is to introduce clients to the notion that they already have the ability to choose, so the path to depression need not be the path a client follows. This approach teaches the client to be flexible in responses, to read situations better, and to know when a situation requires an emotional or a logical response. The main goal of therapy is to build positive expectancy to counter the hopelessness and to encourage a sense of agency—the ability to choose.
Dr. Yapko uses cognitive–behavioral therapy combined with Ericksonian techniques involving hypnosis to treat depression. Some psychoeducation is involved because it is important to make sure that the client understands the nature of depression, as the client cannot beat what he or she does not understand. Light hypnosis is used to guide the client through a series of images of positive future life events. This is inspired by Erickson's use of hypnosis to help introduce new possibilities to clients and shift their focus away from past pain toward positive alternatives.
Knowledge about depression is important for both therapists and clients. Dr. Yapko suggests reading up on depression, and viewers can use the suggested reading list as a start. He recommends checking the bibliographies of these books for other good resources.
Michael D. Yapko, PhD, is a clinical psychologist and marriage and family therapist located in Solana Beach, California. He is internationally recognized for his work in depression and outcome-focused psychotherapy, routinely teaching to professional audiences all over the world. To date, he has been invited to present his ideas and methods to colleagues in 27 countries across six continents, and all over the United States. His clinical trainings are known for being practical as well as enjoyable.
Dr. Yapko has had a special interest that spans more than a quarter century in the intricacies of brief therapy, the clinical applications of directive methods, and treating the disorder of major depression. He is the author of numerous books, book chapters, and articles on brief therapy for depression and the use of strategic psychotherapies. These include Treating Depression With Hypnosis: Integrating Cognitive-Behavioral and Strategic Approaches; Hand-Me-Down Blues: How to Stop Depression From Spreading in Families; Breaking the Patterns of Depression; Hypnosis and the Treatment of Depressions; and Trancework: An Introduction to the Practice of Clinical Hypnosis, Third Edition. His works have been translated into seven languages.
Dr. Yapko is a member of the American Psychological Association, a clinical member of the American Association for Marriage and Family Therapy, a fellow of the Royal Society of Medicine's Division of Hypnosis and Psychosomatic Medicine (in England), a member of the International Society of Hypnosis, and a fellow of the American Society of Clinical Hypnosis. Dr. Yapko was honored to be chosen to write the authoritative sections on "Treating Depression" and "Brief Therapy" for the Encyclopedia Britannica Medical and Health Annuals.
- Culbertson, F. (1997). Depression and gender. American Psychologist, 52, 25–31.
- Lynch, J., & Kilmartin, C. (1999). Overcoming masculine depression. New York: Haworth Press.
- Pipher, M. (1996). The shelter of each other. New York: Ballantine Books.
- Real, T. (1997). I don't want to talk about it: Overcoming the secret legacy of male depression. New York: Scribner.
- Simonds, S. (2001). Depression and women: An integrative treatment approach. New York: Springer Publishing Company.
- Yapko, M. (1999). Hand-me-down-blues: How to stop depression from spreading in families. New York: St. Martin's Press.
- Antonuccio, D., Danton, W., & DeNelsky, G. (1995). Psychotherapy versus medication for depression: Challenging the conventional wisdom with data. Professional Psychology: Research and Practice, 26, 574–585.
- Dubovsky, S. (1997). Mind-body deceptions. New York: Norton.
- Whybrow, P. (1997). A mood apart. New York: Basic Books.
Treating Depression With Psychotherapy
- Beck, A., Rush, J., Shaw, B., & Emery, G. (1979). Cognitive therapy of depression. New York: Guilford Press.
- Clark, D., Beck, A., & Alford, B. (1999). Scientific foundations of cognitive theory and therapy of depression. New York: Wiley.
- O'Connor, R. (1997). Undoing depression. New York: Little, Brown.
- Yapko, M. (1992). Hypnosis and the treatment of depressions. New York: Brunner/Mazel.
- Yapko, M. (1997). Focusing on feeling good. An audio program for self-management of depression. Leucadia, CA: Yapko Publications.
- Yapko, M. (2001). Treating depression with hypnosis: Integrating cognitive-behavioral and strategic approaches. Philadelphia: Brunner-Routledge.
- Burns, D. (1999). Feeling good: The new mood therapy (Rev. ed.). New York: Avon Books.
- Greenberger, D., & Padesky, C. (1995). Mind over mood: A cognitive therapy treatment manual for clients. New York: Guilford Press.
- Yapko, M. (1997). Breaking the patterns of depression. New York: Doubleday.
Other Significant Relevant Readings
- Chang, E. (Ed.). (2001). Optimism and pessimism: Implications for theory, research, and practice. Washington, DC: American Psychological Association.
- Gillham, J. (Ed.). (2000). The science of optimism and hope: Research essays in honor of Martin E. P. Seligman. Philadelphia: Templeton Foundation Press.
- Goleman, D. (1995). Emotional intelligence: Why it can matter more than IQ. New York: Bantam Books.
- Hillman, J., & Ventura, M. (1992). We've had a hundred years of psychotherapy and the world's getting worse. San Francisco: HarperCollins.
- Jamison, K. (1999). Night falls fast: Understanding suicide. New York: Vintage.
- Kirsch, I. (Ed.). (1999). How expectancies shape experience. Washington, DC: American Psychological Association.
- Seligman, M. (1990). Learned optimism. New York: Knopf.
- Solomon, A. (2001). The noonday demon: An atlas of depression. New York: Scribner.
- Yapko, M. (2003). Trancework: An introduction to the practice of clinical hypnosis (3rd ed.). New York: Brunner-Routledge.
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