Other well-designed programs are available on the web and are described below. These programs teach strategies to manage depression. If you work through the program regularly, a step at a time, you are more likely to see good results. Using self-help programs may help you have a better understanding of depression and guide you to make changes in your life. How much you get out of a program depends on how much you put into it. Self-help materials may also provide more information about the treatments that are available.
Support groups for self-help In some areas there are self-help groups which provide very useful help also. One way to find out about the programs available is to contact the provincial or national Mood Disorders Association, or your local Canadian Mental Health Association office. Attending groups that provide self-help, education or support, and that are recommended by these organizations, may help you feel more supported in dealing with the problem. They may also help you to work through whatever treatment you choose.
Your doctor or therapist may have advice about recommended self-help programs you can do on your own or in a support group. Recommended self-help books These books may be available in your local library or bookstore and may be ordered through internet book sellers. References Andersson,G.
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Bibliotherapy Anderson et al. Unfortunately, such consensus is not so easy to come by. A number of scholars would dispute these descriptions, offer- ing a broader definition of self-help books, or bibliotherapy. Campbell and Smith include both nonfiction and fiction works among self-help books for psychological distress.
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The former, which correspond to those that Anderson et al. Although the subject of far less research, the latter merits mention in the delineation of bibliotherapy. Starker describes a continuum between informational and anec- dotal forms of bibliotherapy. At one end of this continuum lie informational sources that are comprised of empirically based directives for behavior. Simi- larly, Riordan, Mullis, and Nuchow distinguish between didactic and imaginative materials.
Imaginative bibliotherapy, on the other hand, incorporates the works of fiction to which Campbell and Smith allude. However, it may also include poetic and other inspirational forms of literature, fiction and nonfiction, that provide insight and understanding to readers. Johnson, Johnson, and Hillman also describe self-help books as ranging from specific thera- peutic procedures to inspirational prose, citing the Bible as perhaps the most long-lived form of motivational bibliotherapy.
Sommer describes the use of autobiographies in overcoming psychological distress. As articulated by Riordan et al. Pantalon offers a useful classification of such materials, which includes; a general self-help books, b problem-focused self-help books, and c technique-focused self-help books. In this scheme, general self-help books are those that address broad-spectrum emotional health and relationship issues rather than specific disorders.
Such books may provide general guidelines for well-being, but they do not include assessment or treatment exercises in a systematic approach. Starker might call such offerings descriptive bibliotherapy, in which authors present a number of wide-ranging suggestions that readers may or may not choose to follow.
In contrast, problem-focused self-help books target a particular dis- order e. According to Anderson et al. In , Glasgow and Rosen noted that self-help books have been based on Gestalt, rational—emotive, trans- actional analysis, and hypnotic methods of intervention. Examples of problem-focused bibliotherapy abound throughout this text, as this brand of self-help has been the subject of most empirical research in this area.
Finally, Pantalon describes technique- focused self-help books as akin to problem-focused manuals. Both include specific therapeutic techniques; however, in the latter case, these interven- tion strategies could be applied across problem areas. Pantalon cites The Relaxation Response Benson, , which perhaps best characterizes this form of bibliotherapy.
Starker might describe both problem- and technique-focused manuals as prescriptive bibliotherapy, in which authors mandate readers to follow authoritative rules and directives. Levels of Contact In attempting to define self-help, a larger issue looms than determining the modality i.
The others to be considered in this debate include health care practitioners, significant others, and the community of consumers themselves. Thus, contact with practitioners will serve as a starting point for our discussion. In reality i. Pantalon suggests that this is more likely the case with general self-help books, but that problem- focused self-help books are also oft used by individuals apart from any professional contact. Some authors in the self-help arena voice strong opin- ions as to the appropriateness of independent self-help usage.
Riordan et al.
As such, these authors question whether self-help materials should even be examined in isolation i. Perhaps Riordan et al. Interestingly, these researchers found no difference in effectiveness between this condition and a minimal contact condition in which practitioners interacted briefly to monitor progress, clarify procedures, answer questions, and provide general encouragement.
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Furthermore, these self-help conditions appeared to be as effective as therapist-assisted interventions in this meta-analysis. The extent to which therapist contact affects treatment outcome in studies of self-help programs is a question of ongoing empirical research— and one that many of the chapters in this text attempt to answer. In this article, the authors describe four levels of therapist—patient contact. The first level, dubbed self- administered therapy, involves contact solely for assessment purposes.
This is synonymous with the condition labeled pure or unadulterated self-help by Gould and Clum Glasgow and Rosen referred to the second level as minimal contact therapy.
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This might involve some therapist interac- tion at the outset to introduce the intervention materials. It may also entail subsequent check-ins, perhaps via telephone, to determine whether cli- ents are enacting the intervention as planned.
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The third level is known as therapist-administered intervention. Here, the therapist plays some active role such as clarifying or elaborating upon the material contained within the self-help program. However, the onus is still on the client to imple- ment treatment strategies. This refers to traditional psychotherapy in which the therapist conducts treatment that does not include use of a self-help program.
Contact with a practitioner may not be the only manner in which con- sumers of self-help programs potentially derive therapeutic benefit from the presence of others.
Guided self-help on the NHS
Lehane reports that clients have shared their self-help reading with family members and that such interactions are valuable. Simonds describes the case of a woman who discussed her self-help reading on relationships with her husband. This discussion subsequently led to a processing of feelings and mutual problem-solving behavior. Watkins presents a case study in which a woman using a self-help manual for panic disorder also interacted with significant others over the material contained therein. Watkins explains that this manual, Coping with Panic Clum, , actually includes explicit instruction for readers to adaptively engage with significant others about their symp- toms and the treatment strategies that the manual prescribes.
In fact, the manual advises readers to view such communication as a form of cop- ing.
Researchers have yet to systematically investigate the extent to which consumers of self-help engage with significant others over these programs or the extent to which such interaction may facilitate treatment outcome. As is the case with therapist contact, this remains a subject for ongoing empirical investigation. Employing qualitative research, Grodin , examined the ways in which women utilize self-help reading, interviewing participants as to which elements of this process they found beneficial and which they found dissatisfying.
It may also include other readers of these books who endure the same circumstances. Grodin describes this phenomenon as contrasting to the American therapeutic ideal of autonomy and self-responsibility in which dependence and reliance on others may, in fact, be seen as pathological. Paradoxically, women who read self-help books develop a stronger sense of self, not in isolation but by connecting with their constructed community of others. This suggests that the term self-help may be somewhat of a misnomer in that a variety of people, professionals and non-professionals alike, may influence the effectiveness of these interven- tions.
Similarly, Garvin et al.