The term depression is widely used to describe a state in which a person is unable to express himself emotionally to the point that his life is impaired or dysfunctional. Depression can result from any number of different causes, among them childhood trauma, loss of a loved one, failure in one’s marriage and loss of a job, to name just a few.

People suffering from depression have probably been faced with difficulties that are still unsolved because they’ve never learned to deal with emotional conflict. Recovery from depression involves three steps:

1) biochemical balancing and detoxification
2) emotional release and awareness
3) establishing confidence and grounding.

Emotional release and self-awareness are integral to much of the therapy here, especially the Tourist Program. Role play in a structured setting helps people overcome old childhood conflicts and learn new behavior in the present time. The person will go through ups and downs while allowing all their feelings. The Tourist family creates the loving bond that makes healing possible, in order to feel lovable in any situation.

Coming to grips with depression means leaving behind one’s former belief system. Instead of thinking that “repression is safe and needed for my own survival and that of the family structure,” the person needs to become aware that “expression of feelings is safe, exciting and unfolds my potential.” Working through a lot of traumatic situations of the past becomes a very self-empowering act and is an absolute “must” in treatment for depression.

Finally, the person needs to face their feelings and gain confidence  They can deal with life by applying the new tools he learned during therapy. It’s important that the person find their own solutions in difficult moments rather than being told how to act. This approach strengthens self-confidence and builds self-esteem, especially when the person knows that it’s safe to experiment and make mistakes, and that there is always a home – the Humaniversity – where one can feel loved and supported.

Is there the possibility of relapse, you may ask? Relapse is a word invented by psychologists. It means the person has gone back to their old negative behavior or pattern: when a junkie comes out of a detox program and goes right back to drugs, they relapsed; when a depressed person comes out of therapy and after a while feels bad and depressed again,they relapsed. But instead of saying, “I relapsed,” the person could also say, “I don't feel good.” “Relapse” officially indicates that the therapy was not successful or that the person needs therapy or support again.

The fact is that life always brings ups and downs, and that’s what relapse actually is: a human response to life – and completely unavoidable! Without it you don't live your life totally. It’s the individual’s responsibility to create an environment based on love and friendship where they are accepted with their ups and downs, and where they get support to deal with their conflicts.

Book Recommendations:
The Anti-Depressant Fact Book, by Peter R. Breggin, M.D.
Toxic Psychiatry, by Peter R.Breggin, M.D. (extended version)
Rethinking Psychiatric Drugs, by Grace E. Jackson, M.D.
Psychiatric Drugs Explained, by David Healy
Prozac Explained, by Joseph Glenmullen, M.D.
Let Them Eat Prozac, by David Healy