Depression is rapidly increasing across the developed world as a serious health concern according to the World Health Organisation. It is essential to first define depression.
The current meaning of the word depression is characterised by an all-encompassing low mood together with low self-esteem, and loss of interest or pleasure in "normally" enjoyable activities.
This collection of symptoms was selected and termed as "major depressive disorder" by the American Psychiatric Association to assign a name to a mood "disorder". Its subsequent inclusion into the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-III), the bible of mental health has made it widely accepted term to describe a number of symptoms characterized with a low mood.
It is indeed an irony to find the American Psychiatric Association representing the Western paradigm on mental health who have only been aware of ego in their common culture some 100 years ago defining mental illnesses, while those in the East, particularly Buddhism, Hinduism and Sikhism have been studying the mind and its nature, as well as cataloguing their findings over a period of several thousand years have been simply ignored.
In fact, the definition of mental health in the West is at best vague and at worst misleading. According to current dominant medical practices, there is no universally agreed cut-off point between normal behaviour and behaviour associated with mental illness. What is considered abnormal behaviour or an abnormal reaction to circumstances differs between cultures, social groups within the same culture, and even different social situations.
A definition of mental health is that used by the World Health Organisation: "Mental health is a state of well-being in which the individual realizes his or her own abilities, can cope with the normal stresses of life, can work productively and fruitfully and is able to make a contribution to his or her community."
Surprisingly, there exists a precise definition for mental illness in both Buddhist and Sikh psychology, known as kalesh or mental/emotional afflictions. Within these paradigms the definition of mental illness or "Manmukhta or cognitive fusion", is of one who is fused with the content of his/her thoughts, emotions or/and body-image.
In other words, metaphorically speaking it's as though the content of cognition and the world about which one is thinking are combined or fused together until they are one. Western psychology is relatively primitive in its understanding of the mind and in particular consciousness. The confusion between consciousness and mind is such that consciousness is synonymous with mind and even thoughts.
While Eastern psychology has been developed over several thousand years of subjective research and documentation of the mind, ego and consciousness, Western psychology has only discovered the "ego" as a psychological model about 100 years ago compared to at least 2500 years by the Buddhists and 500 years by the Sikhs. Their psycho-spiritual healing practices have been tried and tested over almost three thousand years combined.
Mindfulness Based Cognitive Therapy, (MBCT) is one such healing practice that has been developed by leading scientists-practitioners by combining current psychological research such as cognitive therapy with mindfulness meditation frameworks as an 8 week course to treat patients suffering from depression, anxiety, stress and associated mental disorders with remarkable success.
Unlike the pharmaceutical companies who have an interest in relating chemical imbalances to depression, for it is easier to "sell" the highly addictive cocktail of psychoactive drugs to ill informed patients if they already believe they have a chemical imbalance and will need to take pills into order to restore chemical balance. MBCT and related courses help individuals discover the habitual and destructive patterns the mind has been conditioned into, and provide skilful means to develop a relationship to their thoughts, as opposed to operating from their thoughts.
We offer a range of courses including Mindfulness Based Cognitive Therapy, (MBCT) both to individuals and within groups of up to 12 individuals.
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