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How to Shed Mental Health Labels and Create Personal Meaning

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New Book Explains How to Shed Mental Health Labels and Create Personal Meaning

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Today tens of millions of people believe that they have the “mental disorder” of “depression” and virtually everyone is convinced that, whether or not they have the disorder, that it exists in epidemic proportions, and that in many cases anti-depressant medications are the best solution for treatment. 

In Rethinking Depression: How to Shed Mental Health Labels and Create Personal Meaning  (New World Library, February 15, 2012), licensed psychotherapist and bestselling author Dr. Eric Maisel breaks new ground in the understanding of human sadness as he demonstrates that our society's label of depression as a mental disorder hinders our individual and collective progress. 

“In this book, I will ask you to think through what the term ‘mental disorder’ means, how the term is employed, and the implications of its definition,” writes Maisel. “When you call something a ‘mental disease’ or ‘mental disorder’ you imply a great deal about its origins, its treatment, its intractability, and its locus of control,” says Dr. Maisel. “The mental health industry has its reasons for calling life’s challenges disorders but you have few good reasons to collude with them.”

While Rethinking Depression takes on the “manufacturing” of mental disorders and the over-medication of our society, Dr. Maisel does not discount the real sense of sadness, frustration, exhaustion, and lack of motivation that have been rolled into a “diagnosis” of depression.  However, he does challenge those who are dealing with it to acknowledge the reality of unhappiness as an inherent part of life, and to begin to take control of their well-being back from the medical establishment by having their own existential program in place for dealing with it.

That kind of existential program is what the entire second part of Rethinking Depression is dedicated to helping readers create. Dr. Maisel walks depression sufferers step-by-step through the process of organizing their lives around what matters most to them. Each chapter is designed to help readers verify their truth and make it real by living in accordance with it, so they can eliminate much of the unhappiness that comes from inauthentic living.

“The experience of unhappiness is not one you want to prolong or, if you can help it, repeat,” says Maisel. “How to avoid that? Work your existential program. You take as much control as possible of your thoughts, your attitudes, your moods, your behaviors, and your very orientation toward life and turn your innate freedom into authentic living.”

Eric Maisel, PhD, is a licensed psychotherapist and the author of Rethinking Depression and numerous other titles including Mastering Creative Anxiety, Brainstorm, Coaching the Artist Within, and A Writer’s San Francisco. He blogs for the Huffington Post and writes for Professional Artist Magazine. Visit him online at

February 15, 2012 •  Pychology/Personal Growth •  256 pages • Trade Paperback
Price: $14.95 • ISBN 978-1-60868-020-7
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