Depression has been identified as one of the major health issues of the 21st century. At any one time, one in five adults have symptoms of mild to moderate depression while one in ten adults suffer clinical depression.
The bestselling book Beating the Blues is based on Cognitive Behaviour Therapy (CBT), a highly effective treatment for changing destructive and unhelpful thinking habits and overcoming feelings of lethargy, hopelessness, and suicidal impulses.
This fully revised and updated edition takes readers through a proven step by step therapy programme for overcoming both low moods and more serious depression. The book is full of exercises, questionnaires and case studies demonstrating how to use the techniques in everyday life. There is also a chapter to guide families and friends in supporting their loved ones suffering depression.
Beating the Blues provides readers with an indispensable -how to' guide for leading a happy and balanced life.
Susan Tanner is a consultant psychologist and has specialised in the treatment of anxiety disorders and depression for over twenty-five years. She has created numerous treatment programmes for both inpatient and community settings as well as working as a consultant to many private hospitals, corporations, businesses and government agencies. She has conducted research, been a clinical educator in the School of Psychiatry UNSW and has been an invited guest speaker at international conferences. She currently works in private practice in Sydney.
Dr Jillian Ball is a Clinical Psychologist who specialises in the treatment of depression, bipolar disorder, anxiety and eating disorders. Over several decades, she has worked as a conjoint senior lecturer and conducted clinical research at the School of Psychiatry, UNSW. She has published numerous articles and presented her research at international conferences. She is co author of When Eating is Everything (1991) and Eating Disorders: A Guide for Family and Friends (1993). Jillian also has a private practice in Sydney.
Beating the Blues
Authors: Susan Tanner and Dr Jillian Ball
Question: Why was it important that you write and revise Beating the Blues?
Susan Tanner and Dr Jillian Ball: Beating The Blues was originally written as there were no Australian self-help books for depression on the market and we needed a book that was relevant to our culture not the US culture. The book was revised in 2012 as over the past twenty years since the first edition, important new techniques have emerged in improving depressed mood. The original techniques of cognitive behaviour therapy still remain in the new edition as important building blocks for self-help and these have been added to with new understanding and treatments for mood disorders. The book is written as an introduction for people who may not have known how negative feelings come about and what they can do to change them.
Question: Are you surprised that depression has been identified as one of the major health issues of the 21st century?
Susan Tanner and Dr Jillian Ball: It is not a surprise that depression is one of the major health issues of the 21st century for several reasons. A) Depression was previously not well recognised, or B) treated by medication alone which is less effective as it does not teach people new skills which CBT does. As well, C) In today's society many people have unrealistic expectations about what they can achieve, how the world should be and that they should not have to experience distress. Thus they do not cope when things become stressful and challenging.
Question: Who did you write Beating the Blues for?
Susan Tanner and Dr Jillian Ball: Beating The Blues is written for anyone who wants to learn better self-awareness, better self-control and most importantly how to improve the quality of their life without just relying on a tablet. It is also written for those who feel suicidal and overwhelmed by negativity and hopelessness. The book is also for family, friends and partners of those suffering with depression to guide in understanding the disorder and giving practical ways to help the person suffering. The book will empower you to feel more in control of your life.
Question: Can you explain how the book is based on Cognitive Behaviour Therapy?
Susan Tanner and Dr Jillian Ball: The book is based on Cognitive Behaviour Therapy because this is the most powerful non-pharmacological treatment for mood disorders. CBT teaches people how to rewire their brains by changing thinking patterns and emotional patterns that are unhelpful. Mindfulness meditation training, an additive to CBT therapy, is included along with the other evidence-based techniques.
Question: Can you talk about the exercises and self-tests featured in the book?
Susan Tanner and Dr Jillian Ball: The book takes the reader through a step-by-step set of exercises such as a daily mood diary, thought diary and activity diary. There are exercises to help with self-esteem, self-confidence and self-awareness. For example there are exercises to help you see how the way you think affects how you react and show you how to change these thoughts. Self-tests allow the reader to assess their own risk factors for depression and anxiety and understand the logical causes for their own depression.
Interview by Brooke Hunter