Where’s this all coming from?

The core presentation concept and content of this website has been developed by counselling psychologist Denise Meyer (see site development), with ideas and advice distilled from 10 years experience working in a university counselling service with many students affected by depression.

The website, including the second version was further developed by Jeremy Christey between 2004 & 16 when he was chair of the University and Colleges division of the British Association of Counselling and who runs counselling services which specialise in Cognitive Behavioural Therapy.


Several sources have been instrumental in the development of the approach to this work. Their influence is likely to be so thoroughly woven into my way of discussing depression that each specific instance for acknowledgement is difficult to pinpoint.

Social constructionism

Kenneth J. Gergen’s An Invitation to Social Construction (Sage, 1999) articulates many of the ideas in earlier publications by him and others, such as Harry Goolishan and Harlene Anderson, which are the inspiration for the philosophy underlying the site approach.

Narrative therapy

John McLeod’s Narrative and Psychotherapy (Sage, 1997) shaped a framework within which to apply the social constructionist ideas of Gergen and others to therapy. Martin Payne’s Narrative Therapy (Sage, 2000) provided a useful overview of the specific narrative therapeutic approach developed by Michael White and David Epston, from which the concept of “externalising the symptom” inspired the depression character cartoon.

Cognitive behavioural therapy

An inspirational two-day workshop offered by Christine Padesky, Harnessing Hope and Reducing Relapse: engaging clients in cognitive therapy for depression (London 25-26 June 2003) distilled many of the cognitive-behavioural techniques included on these pages. These are set out in detail in the books she co-authored with Paul Greenberger, Mind over Mood and The Clinician’s Guide to Mind over Mood (both Guilford Press, 1995). I recommend Paul Gilbert’s excellent guide, Overcoming Depression: a self-help guide using cognitive behavioural techniques, to most of the depressed clients I see and his clear, sensible advice has also been highly influential in the way I discuss depression with clients.

General sources

Treatment suggestions throughout the site are based on the UK National Institute for Clinical Excellence (NICE) clinical guideline 23 Depression: management of depression in primary and secondary care, published in 2004.
Many of the ideas summarised in “How depression works” and “Tackling depression” are treated in more depth in Paul Gilbert’s Overcoming Depression: a self-help guide using cognitive behavioural techniques (Robinson, 2000).

Specific references

  • How depression works
  • www.who.int/mental_health/management/depression/definition/en/
  • Is depression affecting me?
  • NICE depression guidelines 2004
  • Clinical definitions of depression
  • www.who.int/classifications/icd/en/
  • NICE depression guidelines 2004
  • Depression biology
  • Nemeroff, CB (1998) The neurobiology of depression Scientific American 278, 6, 28-35 cited in Griffin, J & Tyrrell, I (2000) Breaking the cycle of depression: a revolution in psychology HG Publishing for The European Therapy Studies Institute.
  • Stress discussed in detail in Paul Gilbert’s Overcoming Depression.
  • Depression psychology
  • The term “self-bullying” is taken from Paul Gilbert’s Overcoming Depression.
  • Depression sociology
  • “Learned helplessness” research by Martin Seligman discussed in Paul Gilbert’s Overcoming Depression. See also Peterson, Maier & Seligman Learned helplessness: a theory for the age of personal control (OUP, 1996). Social comparison theory set out in Oliver James’ Britain on the Couch (Arrow, 1998).
  • Depressed thinking
  • “Self-bullying” is a term used by Paul Gilbert in Overcoming Depression.
  • A depression-inducing society?
  • See Oliver James Britain on the Couch (Arrow, 1998). See also Joe Griffin & Ivan Tyrrell Breaking the cycle of depression: a revolution in psychology (HG Publishing for The European Therapy Studies Institute, 2000) and Robert E. Lane The Loss of Happiness in Market Democracies (Yale University Press, 2001).
  • Depression & the meaning of life
  • Viktor E. Frankl Man’s Search for Meaning (Rider & Co, 2004; first published in 1959).
  • Depression in student life
  • Association for University & College Counselling (AUCC) Annual Survey 2002/3 published by the British Association for Counselling & Psychotherapy. Similar data in previous years.
  • Finding what works for you
  • The question “What is the smallest change that can make the biggest difference?” is a tool suggested by Christine Padesky in her training on cognitive therapy for depression.
  • Sorting out sleep patterns
  • Joe Griffin & Ivan Tyrrell Breaking the cycle of depression: a revolution in psychology (HG Publishing for The European Therapy Studies Institute, 2000) puts forward the case for a central role for sleep and dreaming in depression.
  • Understanding food and mood
  • General reference for this page is Amanda Geary’s The Food and Mood Handbook (Thorsons, 2001). Also Joseph R. Hibbeln Fish consumption and major depression. The Lancet, vol 351, 18 April 1998.
  • Checking alcohol and drugs
  • Annie Grant Alcohol and student success. AUCC Journal, special issue winter 2004. D Shaffer The epidemiology of teen suicide: an examination of risk factors. Journal of Clinical Psychiatry, 49 identifies alcohol and substance misuse as significant factors in youth suicide, with disinhibiting effects potentially precipitating a suicidal act.
  • Challenging depressed thinking
  • See further strategies in Paul Gilbert’s Overcoming Depression. “Going to the mood gym” refers to a link to the MoodGYM website of the Centre for Mental Health Research at the Australian National University www.moodgym.anu.edu.au.
  • Building support networks
  • Harris, T., Brown, G. W. & Robinson, R. (1999) Befriending as an intervention for chronic depression among women in an inner city. 1: Randomised controlled trial. British Journal of Psychiatry, 174, 219-224 and other research cited in NICE depression guideline 2004.
  • Medication pros and cons
  • Discussed in Paul Gilbert’s Overcoming Depression. See also NICE depression guidelines 2004, and further info at the Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency website, www.mhra.gov.uk
  • Alternatives
  • NICE depression guidelines 2004.
  • Books and other inspirations
  • NICE depression, anxiety and eating disorders guidelines, cited in Frude, N. Prescription for a good read. Counselling & Psychotherapy Journal, February 2005.