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180 of 184 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The best book on depression I've come across
This book helped to completely change my understanding of depression and psychology in general. The biological/evolutionary and social explanation Mr. Gilbert offers for depression is something I have encountered nowhere else, yet is so basic and elemental and makes complete sense. This book clarified and simplified what was for me a dark, scary, overwhelming mystery,...
Published on 20 Mar 2006 by ssenerch2

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13 of 14 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars too much fashionable talk, Fennell more concise and practical
Having suffered periods of depression with occasional hospitalisation in the past thirty years I have been stable and episode-free this past few years, though with occasional "warnings" of mind-change that prompt corrective action being taken. I have basically learned how to manage myself, or at least the need to do so. After one such "warning" earlier this year I bought...
Published 8 months ago by Tom Older


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180 of 184 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The best book on depression I've come across, 20 Mar 2006
This book helped to completely change my understanding of depression and psychology in general. The biological/evolutionary and social explanation Mr. Gilbert offers for depression is something I have encountered nowhere else, yet is so basic and elemental and makes complete sense. This book clarified and simplified what was for me a dark, scary, overwhelming mystery, and helped me to finally see depression for what it is. I understand now that I'm not randomly and unfortunately afflicted with a strange disease that I'm powerless to affect, but rather all people have the potential to enter a depressed state, and similarly all people, including me, have the potential to live in a state of vitality/normality (whatever the opposite of depression is). It's helped me to see what conditions provoke depression's onset - and importantly, why - and which help heal and restore oneself. What a stroke of luck to have come across this helpful book and this wonderful author.
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178 of 183 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars mrsrochester, 29 Jun 2005
By A Customer
I only wish I had read this book when I was twenty, when I was first told to expect to have recurrent episodes of severe depression for the rest of my life, rather than now, at fifty-five. Since my diagnosis I've been reading everything I can get my hands on, and trying everything. Lots of things have been helpful, some haven't, but this beats the lot. It's all here: why people can get depressed, in terms of the evolution of the species, the development of the individual and his or her situation; and, in very concrete practical and sensible terms, what you can do about it. It pulled together a lot of what I'd found out from other sources. Obviously, it's different strokes for different folks, but for me this was a real find.
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201 of 212 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A mammoth task well done., 29 July 2002
By 
F. Martin (UK) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
Imagine you knew about this wonderful diet that helped the majority of it's adherents to lose the weight they wanted and keep it off, what would be your biggest problem? Convincing people it worked? Imagine also that it involved an incredibly simple technique.
Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) techniques appear to be in a similar position. Since Beck came up with the principles and developed CBT into a full therapeutic procedure for depression and anxiety, a steady stream of evidence has accumulated to support it's validity. On the other hand, the technique is so simple that the hardest part can often be convincing people that it could ever work.
CBT in a nutshell:
1. Depression and anxiety are caused and perpetuated by negative automatic thoughts which are overgeneralised, unrealistic and negative. e.g. "My boss just ignored me when she came in this morning. If she valued me as part of the team, she'd smile at me. She must be going to fire me. I'm a failure."
2. CBT involves nailing down these thoughts, thinking up alternative realistic constructive thoughts and writing it all down. "My boss did not speak to me this morning but this does not mean she does not value me. She normally smiles at me and I have not done anything for her to be displeased with me. It's upsetting to be ignored but it does not reflect on me as a person, she is probably just in a bad mood."
CBT is mostly about writing down stuff like that. Sounds simple and it is. Once you get your head round that, the next mountain to climb is finding and pinning down those negative thoughts. It's not rocket science, it's just a big head-f**k for most people to face the negative ideas that we instinctively want to run away from. e.g. "I'm a failure." It's the kind of thing that can take trained therapists weeks of hard slog with patients to achieve.
Overcoming Depression is a book that sets out to explain CBT techniques and get you to use them. Quite simply, the author does this by a process of hammering on at the same point repeatedly until it sinks in. Not in an obnoxious or unreadable manner, but in a sympathetic way that recognises that these topics are just plain hard to accept somewhere deep in that reptilian centre of our brains. Some of the theory is explained and we're given a tour of the various types of negative thoughts and styles of thinking that can lead to depression. The rest of the book is a very practical step by step guide to what to do about it, with examples and suggestions for exercises.
Paul Gilbert has done an admirable job and as someone who struggled hopelessly with depression until I learnt these techniques, I can thoroughly recommend this book.
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93 of 98 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars My thoughts!, 7 Feb 2006
By A Customer
I have found this book so helpfull - if only I had found out about it sooner. For the last few years I have had bouts of depression and refused to follow the traditional lines of treatment as I felt that this wasn't for me, but with the support of a cognative behavioural therapist and Paul Gilbert's book and some medication my life has been at it's best for the past 6 years, and at the age of 23 I feel i can now start to enjoy my life and cope with some of those day to day factors in life which used to make me feel like it was impossible to carry on, I have read and re-read this book and continually trying more of the skills and techniques. This book also makes you feel like your not alone, which initially was a huge factor for me, my partner has also read this book and it has enabled him to understand in a meaningfull way some of the difficulties I have had to face.
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184 of 195 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Astonishing and Compulsory, 13 Jan 2003
By 
Jonathan Posner (LONDON, England United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)   
It has become a matter of extreme importance for me to contribute some lines about this book. For this is a manual for our times (with regard to the mind, at least) which no one should be without, happy, sad or depressed. Professor Gilbert's insights into the way we think are peerless and jump out at you from literally every page. I suspect everybody who begins to read this will soon identify with a great deal, and if they don't the chances are that it will help them to understand someone close to them, if and when the need arises. The kind of vivid illumination Gilbert offers is both startling and precious in equal measure. He also writes with a kindness and gentleness that is palpable.
If you have the misfortune to become depressed (or even unhappy, which of course is a very different thing) you may well end up treating this book like a comfort blanket and taking it everywhere you go. If you previously didn't know (and cared even less) what cognitive behavioural therapy actually was, then this book will most likely turn you into a convert, pure and simple. And can this man write! Forget the Queen, this is the person I'd most want to meet.
My only disappointment is the unforgiveably po-faced title and a cover design that does Gilbert no service at all and would be more at home on a supermarket cardboard box. Thus is his publisher depriving him of readers. For both reasons you will want to wrap it in brown paper before taking it on the tube (but careful you don't go past your stop). What a shame, because this book really does deserve to be in every household, the ever-ready flask of brandy for when you're stranded in the snow.
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73 of 77 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Common sense approach to self help, 30 July 2000
I found the book very useful as it gives plenty of practical exercises, case studies and ideas to help combat depressed thinking. The sections on the origins of depression and drugs used in treatment are good background (especially for friends/family of the sufferer). Taking all of the thinking distortions in turn Prof.Gilbert gives clear advice and each chapter has short summaries (helpful if your concentration is poor). Just reading the book seems to work as a challenge to negative thinking in itself. A very good book for dipping into when bad thoughts cloud your mind.
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42 of 44 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The CBT Bible, 19 Oct 2006
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I used this book in conjunction with a Psychologist and found it to be the truest and most practical book on dealing with depression. It is in no way airy fairy or spiritual (I have no problem with spirituality BTW) it is practical advise on how to deal with your own issues and behaviour using CBT techniques.

I strongly recommend you use this book with a counsellor or therapist. As one other reader commented it can be a little overwhelming because it is so jam-packed with advice. If you are using it alone take it very slowly, read only a few pages a night max and take it from there.

Thank-you

G.
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52 of 55 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars It really does help..., 11 Mar 2007
By 
M. Williams (Middlesbrough, United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
Having lived what I always considered to be a rather charmed life, last year I was hit with a depression that lasted for 8 months. I felt as though my whole capacity for enjoying life had been ripped out of me and saw no way of getting my old self back.

My wife bought me this book and it helped me to make sense of what I was going through. However, having tried the techniques I soon gave up as I didn't believe the positive reframing comments that I was making and did not believe that such a method could solve what I considered to be largely external problems. I have to say, I saw no hope for the future at this point.

Luckily for me I found a Chartered Psychologist who, although expensive, helped me to climb out of my depression using the CBT techniques described in the book. The regular appointments meant that I had a motivation to do the exercises even when I thought they wouldn't work, as I needed to be able to discuss them at my next session. It turned out to be the best money I have ever spent.

I am now loving life and it's thanks to CBT. I was off work for a period of 5 months and thought I would never be able to go back to what had always been a career I loved. Now I have returned and feel better than ever. And I never believed it could be possible.

I thoroughly recommend this book and would suggest using it with a CBT practitioner. It gave me my life back.
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38 of 40 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Read this book if you're depressed., 6 Jan 2007
I read this book 6 years ago when I was in the midst of the wrost depression I have ever experienced. I was totally at rock bottom, no motivation, all the colour had gone from the world etc, etc. The reason why I think this book helped so much initially was the way it explained depression in terms if how it affects you physically, the way your thought processes lead to chemical reactions in your body that act to reinforce the depression. Once I could understand my depression more scientificaly and understand how it involved my psychological adn physical self it became easier to deal with. It also made me more motivated to carry out the cognitive behavioural techniques because I realised that even if I didnt believe the positive stuff I was saying it was still helping. I think this book played asignificant role in me geting better and I have since bought this book for every friend who has suffered depression. Its only a fiver or something, you might as well try it....
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Overcoming Depression (3rd Edition), 30 Mar 2011
This review is from: Overcoming Depression: A self- help guide using Cognitive Behavioural Techniques (Paperback)
How do you overcome depression? That is a question I have worked on with many clients and together we have often found the answer is specific to the person. So here is a self-help book which packs into less than 600 pages a comprehensive approach to overcoming depression.

The book deals with depression in four parts: cognitive information; active behaviour, supportive relationships and a collation of specialist topics.

Firstly, the informational chapters to explore and understand your depression: covering definitions of just what depression is and what it is not, through a catalogue of its roots and causes, and into descriptions of how your body, thoughts and feelings interact with depression.

Then the second part offers chapters on practical ways to change your behaviour. The exercises in being mindful are useful and immediately applicable, so are the suggestions for creating and practicing kindness and compassion. Other chapters pick out practices that CBT therapists will be familiar with such as recognising and changing unhelpful ways of thinking, using a journal to capture and reflect on thoughts and emotions and strategies for changing depressive behaviours.

In part three, the chapters on relationships address self-criticism and depressed ways of experiencing ourselves and suggest the use of several props to support behaviour change, such as flash cards, situation rehearsals, objectifying feelings and life scripts.

The fourth part of the guide focuses on specific problems that are associated with depression. Each chapter takes ideas from parts two and three and develops them into a helpful approach to counteract bullying, shame, guilt, anger, resentment and frustration. These chapters could be used independently and combined to address the needs of the user.

In updating and extending this third edition of his guide, Paul Gilbert has given us a well priced book, packed with information, suggestions and activities that guide the reader in how to overcome their own depression. Although the contents are comprehensive and plentiful, they remain accessible, allowing each reader to pick out the chapters that speak to them and to navigate their own route to well being. I anticipate that many of my clients will buy this book and benefit from the bibliotherapy it provides.
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