Why yoga enhances therapy for depression

Psychotherapy and yoga are processes of awareness. The purpose and intention in meeting is for the client to establish influence which is advantageous and beneficial. However, implicit in the concept of awareness is the acceptance of any thought, emotional feeling or physical sensation which comes uninvited to the mind.

Depression is like chewing gum on the sole (soul). It can incapacitate thinking and doing and deadens feeling. Nearest and dearest family, friends and co- workers all have opinion. Positive thinking and jovial bullying to do this or that reinforces the loneliness and devastation for the one who did not choose to be under the cloud.

A student arrived at the office after a worried parent made the call and asked me how I could help her son. He had retreated to his duvet and abandoned his excellent attainment in school work. He did not know how to describe his state, he just knew he was in one and he wanted out!

Therapy that is effective is never the same twice. I may formulate ideas from a phone conversation but I need to be with someone suffering from and in a depressed state. This is contrary to all beliefs forming in the mind of the potential client, that no one will want to be with him or her. I said to the parent that if the young man could talk to me on the phone or come directly to a session, I would see him that day. The spontaneity can be valuable in breaking the inertia before fear, shame, anxiety inhibit the action.

Ironically, the hoops that must be jumped in getting assessment and treatment in the NHS service, IAPT (improving access to psychological therapies) can engender hopelessness and negative thinking.

After the first session the ‘win’ was the client wanted to return. After the second 90 minute session within 3 days, the parent called to say they were astonished and delighted at the difference. The therapy was creating optimism and importantly the client himself could generate words for his experience . Interpersonal work is not quick or easy. Lasting change will not come from a quick fix. Depression is not the same for everyone although there are checklists and guides for signs and symptoms which are helpful in stimulating action to gain help.

So what did help this particular individual? First, I needed to understand what comfort he was in need of and how he was doing the best he could by protecting himself and withdrawing (under the duvet). Secondly, I asked him directly if something he knew of had happened to himself (or someone close to him) recently or in the past and if he thought this may have something to do with how he was in hiding now ? The sessions are like old fashioned jigsaw puzzles or cryptic crosswords…. We think together until the person can once again think for themselves.

Please let me know if there is something which you would like to discuss.

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