Views on how to heal depression lie on a continuum. At one end is the medical model view, a syndrome and list of symptoms. This view holds that you are not responsible for the cause or the cure of your illness. While it seems nice not to be held accountable, with deeper inspection it is less desirable. Inherent in this view is a lack of empowerment to make a difference for yourself. Your role is seen as good self-care, taking your medication as prescribed and getting yourself to treatment. Psychotherapy may or may not be medical model-based. It depends on the views of the practitioner. But in this view there is little hope manifested in what you can do to bring about your own healing. Depression is an opaque, senseless phenomenon.
At the other end of the continuum is the holistic view that while not holding you responsible for having depression, does hold you responsible for empowering yourself to heal. The holistic view of healing gives the patient a role. It is to understand your symptom(s) symbolically in relation to your life. The physical symptom is itself a guidepost to its own symbolic meaning. Here the symbolic is more important than the physical manifestation. The symbolic, seen as the cause, becomes the treatment focus. It is your job to analyze beliefs experiences and circumstances to understand the mind-body meaning the symptom may be bringing.
For instance if you no longer have any pleasure in life, what is seen as more important than that lack of pleasure is the symbolic meaning of it. What part of you has closed itself off to pleasure? What needs to alter in your life? What are your beliefs or experiences that might lead to a lack of pleasure?
Answering such questions gives you an empowered role to play in your healing, because it gives you an opportunity to understand yourself in relation to your symptom and to then personally make a change in your situation. Taking symptom inquiries up from the physical level to the symbolic, or spiritual, level gives you the chance to take action at that level, based on the answers to those questions. The symbolic really is the spiritual. When you think about it, it is logical. The mind-body connection is the spiritual.
Making a change in your life based on your spiritual truth will not always result in a symptom going away. Often the symptom will occur less frequently, be less intense or have less impact on well being. Taking action on what truths you find at the symbolic-spiritual level is the key to your peace.
The holistic view gives a front-and-center healing role to the “patient” to understand yourself and take some action in your life based on the spiritual meaning of your symptom.
You are empowered to understand and change your life. When you bring your life into balance, you increase the feeling that all is well. There is greater life satisfaction. Satisfaction! That is another word for “happy”.