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Depression: The Way Out of Your Prison Paperback – 17 Apr 2003


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Depression: The Way Out of Your Prison + Dorothy Rowe's Guide to Life + Beyond Fear
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Product details

  • Paperback: 344 pages
  • Publisher: Routledge; Third Edition edition (17 April 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 158391286X
  • ISBN-13: 978-1583912867
  • Product Dimensions: 19.7 x 16.2 x 2.6 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (53 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 29,447 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • See Complete Table of Contents

More About the Author

Dorothy Rowe is a clinical psychologist and writer who is renowned for her work on how we create meaning, and how the meanings we create determine what we do. Her application of this understanding to the problems of depression and of fear has changed many people's lives for the better, and has caused many mental health professionals to think more carefully about how they deal with people who are suffering great mental distress. She writes regularly for newspapers and magazines, appears frequently in the media, and is the author of over 15 books, the most popular of which are Depression: The Way Out of Your Prison which is in its third edition, and Beyond Fear which is in its second edition. Her latest book My Dearest Enemy, My Dangerous Friend is a radical examination of what is often the most important relationships in our lives, our relationships with our siblings, was published by Routledge in April 2007. What Should I Believe?, considers why our beliefs about the nature of death and the purpose of life dominate our lives, and was published by Routledge in October 2008. Her latest book, Why We Lie, was published by HarperCollins in 2010.

Dorothy was born Dorothy Conn in Newcastle, NSW, Australia, in 1930. She was educated at Newcastle Girls' High and Sydney University where she obtained a degree in psychology and a Diploma of Education. She taught for three years, married in 1956 and her son Edward was born in 1957. She returned to teaching when he was two but was offered the opportunity to train as a school counsellor (educational psychologist) and went on to become Specialist for Emotionally Disturbed Children. At the same time she completed her Diploma in Clinical Psychology. In 1965 her marriage came to an end, and in 1968 she and Edward went to England. She accepted a National Health Service post at Whiteley Wood Clinic, Sheffield, which was the clinic attached to Sheffield University Department of Psychiatry where Alec Jenner, already well known for his work on the biological basis of mood change, had recently taken up his post as Professor of Psychiatry. This began Dorothy's close scrutiny of the research into the biological basis of mental disorder. She became an Associate of the Royal College of Psychiatrists and is now Emeritus Associate of the Royal College.

Alec Jenner suggested to Dorothy that her research PhD topic should be 'Psychological aspects of regular mood change'. Quite serendipitously, the psychologist Don Bannister was busy introducing British psychologists to the work of George Kelly and Personal Construct Theory. Dorothy discovered that she had always been a personal construct psychologist without knowing it. Kelly had developed a technique called repertory grids which enabled the researcher to examine the meanings which an individual had created around a particular subject or situation. Patrick Slater, a psychologist at the Institute of Psychiatry in London, provided invaluable help to Dorothy in her research by his development of computer software which analysed grids.

In 1971 Dorothy completed her PhD, and in 1972 she went to Lincolnshire to set up and head the Lincolnshire Department of Clinical Psychology. Dorothy obtained a research grant which enabled her to continue her research. This research became the basis of her first book The Experience of Depression, now called Choosing Not Losing. Her second book The Construction of Life and Death (The Courage to Live) was published in 1982. A chance discussion with the manager of a health food shop led to her third book, Depression: The Way Out of Your Prison, now in its third edition. This book won the Mind Book of the Year Award in 1984. More books followed.

In 1986 Dorothy left the National Health Service to become self-employed. She moved to Sheffield where she lived for nine years. In 1995 she moved to London where she still lives. She writes regularly for Openmind, and intermittently for other publications. She is frequently interviewed on radio and television, and she has a great many conversations with journalists who phone her for advice and information.

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Review

...by far the greatest book that's ever been written on depression... -- Tim Lott

...should be required reading for everyone: there are few of us untouched by depression. -- Nigella Lawson, The Times

You can't go to a party without meeting at least two people whose lives have been changed by Dorothy Rowe. -- Linda Grant, The Guardian

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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

36 of 37 people found the following review helpful By Mr. C. E. Andersson on 1 Jan 2009
Format: Paperback
I have read the negative reviews and they do not surprise me. Ms Rowe's books are not for the feint of heart nor for those not wishing to take responsibility for themselves.
Yes I do know what depression is, I know what it is to be in so much pain that death seems far preferable. Yes, I had a terrible childhood and had every reason to be depressed. However, Ms Rowe indeed showed me the way out of my prison. If people don't see that she gives clear methods for getting out, then they must not want to see them. What realised, and she taught me, was that my childhood had taught me to think in a way that was detrimental to my health, that was the cause of my depression(in fact manic depression - bi - polar disorder). thru reading her books I came to understand myself, why I was suffering and how only I could end it. And the way to end it was to take responsibility for my own recovery and two start the process of changing my thinking. Her explanation of ideas and meaning structures were the doorway for me. Today, I don't suffer from depression. I no longer think I was at fault for the abuse I suffered as a child and I am free of the vile thinking I had been taught. I freed myself with Ms Rowe as the guide. I would not be alive today if not for her books. Oh and I am drug free for depression and have been for years now. I also now have a 24/7 physical pain problem, am disabled, but still not depressed! I think differently and Ms Rowe showed me how. If her books are to be of help, one has to accept that the only way to change is by changing oneself and not relying on others to change.
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48 of 51 people found the following review helpful By Love_Books on 9 May 2005
Format: Paperback
This is the best book I have ever read about depression! (I have read a lot of them). While cognitive-behavioural type self-help books on depression made me feel even more miserable (for example, suggesting to think only good thoughts), this book was touching and inspiring- it show where these thoughts come from! Two the best things are, first: book very well demonstrates how the roots of our depression should be searched for in our childhood and family; secondly: the chapter about using antidepressants very persuasively demonstrates that anti-depressants alone won't help. Very inspirational book.
However, I am afraid that it might help only those who have already reached some understanding on relationship between childhood experiences and depression via psychotherapy or themselves. This book definitely is not for people who are looking for ready-made fast-working recipes.
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22 of 24 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer VINE VOICE on 7 Sep 2004
Format: Paperback
I have read this book twice - once in 2004, when I thought it was the worst book on depression I'd ever seen, and again more recently, when my views on depression had changed somewhat and I wanted to give it another chance.

I believe Rowe's aim is to help the reader understand how they became depressed, how they maintain their illness, and then use that insight to recover. That is commendable and it played a large part in how I recovered from depression (not using Rowe's book, but with the help of an excellent therapist).

Unfortunately, Depression: The Way Out of Your Prison doesn't work for a number of reasons:

* It assumes all depressed readers are the same. Rowe tells you what you are thinking and feeling - and in my case, most of the time she was plain wrong. This is invalidating and very unhelpful.

* Rowe's theories and opinions on depression are presented as fact. It's not a balanced book and there's no acknowledgement of biological and genetic factors, or of the role medication can play.

* The book has a harsh tone, basically telling you you've caused your own illness. I do think it's important to face up to ways you may have contributed to the depression - but Rowe's approach is one-sided and she seems to forget that depressed readers may already have low self-esteem and be vulnerable.

* There is no practical advice on coping with or overcoming depression. The whole premise of the book is that once you understand how you've built your prison, you can walk out. This is fairly useless if Rowe's "one size fits all" explanation doesn't work for you.

I was surprised by how many positive reviews this book has. Maybe Rowe's theories do apply to the majority, and I'm just a freak.
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48 of 53 people found the following review helpful By Mr. J. Parker on 9 Feb 2006
Format: Paperback
This book is written by a very wise woman. The basic premise of the book is that depression is caused by events in our life (mainly in our childhood) that have developed the 'mental idea' that we are somehow bad. This feeling of badness was constructed by blaming oneself for the past mistakes of others (mainly our parents) and oneself instead of being easy-going about mistakes and forgiving about oneself and others.
This thought process creates allsorts of justifications and rationalisations to sustain the ‘illusion’ of ones inherent badness which builds the fearful mental prison.
Of course this idea that one is bad is just a figment of ones imagination built over time but it becomes more real than the reality of one being a living, breathing, feeling, thinking loving human being. This self image of badness in ones memory prevents one seeing the truth and dominates ones (re)actions. It is in seeing the falseness of this 'mentally created idea’ that stops one 'believing' the illusion, then one becomes free of it.
This books show us how we can become free of it and shows us how it is just an idea in our heads. The books looks at how we hold onto our suffering for security and certainty purposes and that by letting go of it we would be free. However what prevents us from letting go is that we think it will reveal our so called badness; and so the suffering in a sense is confirmation we are trying to be good but are really bad. The book encourages to break free of this cycle.
It is this whole self destructive process that needs to be seen as a mere figment of ones imagination and not the absolute reality of our life. It is this we have mistaken to be true that creates the illusion.
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