Out of the Darkened Room: When a Parent is Depressed; Protecting the Children and Strengthening the Family

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9780316085496: Out of the Darkened Room: When a Parent is Depressed; Protecting the Children and Strengthening the Family

Depression spreads like a contagion through families, affecting everyones lives, especially childrens. The spouses of people with depression are several times more likely to become depressed themselves; their children are four to six times more likely. Drawing from a comprehensive, long-term study of resilient children from depressed families, Out of the Darkened Room outlines a wide array of prevention strategies, from the family meeting to open and sustained communication on the subject of mental illness. Dr. Beardslee weaves together his own personal and clinical experiences with the emerging scientific research, the key theoretical concepts, and the steps families need to take in order to make sense of the illness.

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Review:

To move out of the darkened room that is depression, a parent must first move beyond denial--about the disease itself, and about its toll on the entire family. Politely bucking traditional reactive psychiatric methods, Dr. William Beardslee presents his effective program of "preventive intervention," designed to work over the long haul. The goals are twofold: first, to bolster suffering parents with strong tools for healing; second, and most importantly, to promote resilience in their children.

A handful of pages cover the basics about medicines and therapy styles available for harnessing one's current depressive disorder. Beardslee strongly recommends incorporating both forms of treatment. But the majority of his praise (and page realty) is dedicated to teaching parents how to initiate and maintain powerful family communication. True healing begins with a family meeting, where parents speak honestly about their disease and invite children to discuss their own feelings, thoughts, and worries.

Throughout the book, in-depth stories from diverse families under Beardslee's professional wing illustrate the difficulties and rewards associated with this commitment to sharing. Beardslee's gentle, encouraging confidence in this process, supported by many additional research findings, sends a positive and optimistic message to those seeking help for themselves and protection for their children. --Liane Thomas

About the Author:

Dr. William R. Beardslee has been practicing psychiatry in Boston for 30 years. He is the Gardner Monks Professor of Child Psychiatry at Harvard Medical School and Psychiatrist-in-Chief at Boston's Children's Hospital. He lives in Massachusetts.

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