Monday, January 16, 2006

Depression and Experts - By Friedrich Asen

This article is about depression from an unusual perspective. It is about the powerlessness and hopelessness of modern psychological science and research. The importance of an holistic approach to mental and physical health will be explained.

Do you know, what really startled me since I was a child?

It is actually very simple but profound at the same time. I could see that there were problems in the adults' lifes. That was one thing. The other was that they never seemed to really get beyond them. My first assumption about grown ups was that they are really smart people. I mean, they were grown up and I was a kid. You admire them. Anytime they want they can turn on the TV or take the car for a ride, just for fun. They can go to sleep whenever they want or they can stay awake till the morning dawn. They are gods...

My father used to comment on the radio news. From what I could hear I realized that adult people are not what they seem to be. They lacked knowledge, although they heavily pretended to have some. Adults build huge hospitals, but the number of diseased people is increasing. They do a lot of research, but things get worse. They are holding big conferences, but there is no solution to poverty, hunger and pollution. The destruction of the planet continues, unhampered.

They scientifically study the human mind for years, but still they are fighting over minor issues and killing each other. Depression is rampant.

The experts are wearing white coats of authority and they look really impressive. But the picture is deceiving. They are as helpless as the rest. They have been told that depression is caused by some material disfunction in the body. They wouldn't admit it, but this theory is the cause of their own latent or acute depression.

There is one important saying: "Doctor, heal thyself". So, obviously, an expert treating depression in a person should be free of that mental condition himself. But is this really the case? Are our experts examples in their own lives? Have they achieved the peace of mind and the happiness that we are looking for?

To be quite frank: Our mental health experts are haunted by depression themselves.
Of course, their job is demanding and it is hard to stay untouched from all these unfortunate human destinies. But that is no excuse. For a health practitioner it is of prime necessity to become a strong, positive and loving personality. It is not enough to just "know" one's field of "expertise". Life operates on rules that cannot be managed properly just by some theoretical knowledge. A doctor abusing nicotine and alcohol is as unbelievable as a psychologist suffering from a minority complex, being arrogant and insensitive.

People tell me about their experience with mental and physical health practitioners. They feel ignored, misunderstood and treated like an innate object. That's how modern science looks at it's objects: things, which have to be manipulated into proper function. People feel that the experts lack self esteem and hide behind academic degrees and honors. They rightly perceive all this as symptoms of personal weakness. How to develop real trust in such a person?

The formal training in any given area was much less in former times. But that does not mean that we have become advanced. Modern education has created highly trained specialists in their respective fields, but being too much focused on a tiny segment of reality they seem to have lost the whole big picture. At the same time they have lost themselves.

A person is not just ears or heart or mind. A person is an individual being. And what does that mean? A person cannot be divided. A person is one. Treating a depressed person without this consideration will only lead to frustration and more depression.

Depression spreads like wildfire. People seem to get lost in the rat race and the competition. Survival of the fittest. They drown in the struggle for existence. The one and only thing a depressed person needs is unalloyed love and compassion. No one will learn this at university. The students will learn about material processes in the body, in the brain. But they will learn little or nothing about the person possessing the body or brain. In this way they will not learn anything about themselves, too. They will look at depression with the arrogance and helplessness of a lost soul. How should they be able to help?

A psychologist, a coach, a trainer, a priest, a doctor: they all have to understand what life really is. They have to thoroughly understand themselves first. They have to get rid of their own depression and hopelessness deeply buried in themselves. They actually have to become free and independent loving persons. That is the real challenge: How to transform oneself into a great personality. Theoretical knowledge alone is useless.

Friedrich Asen is a spiritual counsellor, coach and author since 20 years. He lives in Austria near Vienna. If you are looking for more quality information about the subject of depression, visit his website

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