Professional Perspectives of Depression 

IndigoBlue Magazine interviewed psychotherapist, Elizabeth Ebaugh and interfaith minister, Rev. Dr. Anthony Farmer to capture their perspectives on depression.

The global intensity we are experiencing right now, along with the drive to be in a constant state of  motion, has led to various levels disconnection. We can experience a deep lack of connection with our family, friends, or co-workers, even though we interact with them on a daily basis. We interface more with technology than nature, creating an imbalance that can cause or worsen depression. Support systems can be lacking and according to licensed psychotherapist Elizabeth Ebaugh, “we are missing containers to hold families or systems and support expression and growth.”

For many, depression can manifest as anger or aggression. “We are struggling—young and old alike—to ask for what we need,” Ebaugh said. Frustration and fear can push others away, making the necessary support for working through depression more elusive. Part of the work she offers is learning how to express needs and feelings, and take responsibility for anger and fear in an environment that does not punish. “My role is to facilitate the healing process and help my clients get unstuck from their depression and no longer feel trapped,” she concluded.

“We are struggling—young and old alike—to ask for what we need.”

After practicing for 30 years, Ebaugh understands depression is multi-dimensional and can involve brain chemistry or a physical imbalance; be situational due to grief or trauma, especially from within our family of origin; or be existential as we struggle to find our place in life and our goals.

These dimensions are not mutually exclusive and all three—or others—can be at play. Helping clients means meeting their depression as a unique experience and supporting their capacity for healing and wellness. Ebaugh’s practice provides a holistic approach to help clients work through their depression and get to the other side. Treatment can also include psychotropic drugs in addition to helping clients along their path. “Depression can be debilitating, so medication may be needed to lighten the load,” she said.

According to Rev. Dr. Anthony Farmer, an interfaith minister, Reiki Master Teacher, and spiritual life coach, if we are experiencing life with a closed heart, we are not living within the heart space. Then we rely on our thought processes that tell us what we “should” or “should not” do. The heart provides the true guidance but our culture may not acknowledge spiritual imbalance as an important issue. Depression then can reflect an energetic imbalance and incorporating an energetic or spiritual perspective can complement clinical treatment

We may operate within systems or institutions that are designed to define us but we can struggle with being our authentic selves—sometimes a battle between the head and the heart. While the heart wants to explore, our thoughts may box us in to a defined set of parameters. “The result is we push down or depress our inner knowing and then shut down ourselves,” he said. 

While we are living with more conveniences, we are not living with a deeper level of satisfaction or fulfillment. Part of addressing our experience of depression may be to redefine our relationship with the systems and institutions around us. “Our inner self is trying to come forth and while we are depressing that inner knowledge, the imbalance will continue,” he added.

Letting our inner self be more free relies on becoming more courageous and taking a deeper look at what is no longer working for us. “The conversations are starting and we are opening a door,” Farmer said. While depression can be a common thread for many, the manifestations can be different—there is no one size fits all approach. Individualized solutions are key to deeper understanding of this complex issue.

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