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Recovery from Depression Using the Narrative Approach

Patients' stories about their own experiences of depression form the basis of this book about the ongoing nature of the illness and recovery from it

Patients' stories about their own experiences of depression form the basis of this book about the ongoing nature of the illness and recovery from it

This book is based on qualitative research on patient experiences of depression that the author undertook as part of the Health Talk Online research group.

Health Talk Online (originally DIPEx) is a non-advertising charity that provides free public access to interviews with patients about their medical conditions.

The theme of the book is that patients (the term the author reluctantly uses for clients of health professionals) try to make meaningful ‘narratives' of their journey into depression and recovery.

They use ‘recovery tools', both medical and non-medical, and enlist ‘recovery allies' to help them through the process. The author uses the ‘stories' of a group of patients to illustrate these points.

I think the use of the stories emphasises the ongoing nature of the illness and recovery.

I became a GP because I am interested in what people have to say so I enjoyed the descriptions of being depressed and the stories about how people struggled to make sense of the process and to bring about the changes that help recovery.

I particularly liked the short biographies at the end of the book that gave a little more information about the people whose voices are heard throughout.

The book gives a mix of descriptions of medical and non-medical treatments, and of both positive and negative experiences with health professionals.

This is not a book for people who want a quick description of the signs, symptoms and treatment of depression.

It is however a book for someone with a little more time, who would like to reflect on the treatment and understanding of depression and to learn more about the personal journeys of the people involved.

It is also a book that I found essentially hopeful, enjoyed reading and that stimulated thought about everyday practice.

Dr Clare Etherington

Rating: 4/5

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