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Book review – ‘Lost Connections’

Depression is a widespread affliction in today’s western society and a condition I have treated on numerous occasions at Leeds Hypnotherapy Clinic.
Symptoms differ in degree between individuals, of course. And causes are varied too: people may feel trapped in an unrewarding job; they may be lonely; they may have suffered trauma or abuse in childhood or later years or there may be some other cause. Quite often clients themselves don’t recognise or understand the origin of their torment – it can be buried deep.
As a therapist I work with clients to identify the root of their depression so that we can begin to resolve their psychological pain.

Humans need hope

I build treatment on the simple premise that, where there is hope, depression cannot exist.
Of course, to those seemingly trapped in feelings of hopelessness and helplessness, delivering that hope can be challenging – but it is possible.
And hope, despite what Big Pharma might have had us believe for the past few decades, is not to be found in a bottle of anti-depressants.
It is with this narrative that I strongly welcome the publication of a new book by journalist Johann Hari – Lost Connections (Uncovering the real causes of depression – and the unexpected solutions).
It is a book I wholeheartedly recommend to anyone who feels depressed or even mildly down. Politicians and other influencers should also read it with immediate effect.
“We have been systematically misinformed about what depression and anxiety are,” writes Hari, who embarked on his lengthy research for the book after years swallowing increasing dosages of anti-depressants – his condition, he believed was caused by a chemical imbalance in the brain. While there can be a biological element to depression, he says, it is triggered by social and psychological causes – something that has been ignored for a very long time but which in many other cultures is blindingly obvious.
While therapists, like myself, can help individuals with their conditions, it is mostly ignored that it is within the remit of society as a whole to overcome this condition. Hari explores various options.

Essential values

Essentially, what is needed is hope and in a fair, open, kind and tolerant society, hope can be delivered. Such caring values still exist, of course, and they are held dear by most of us. Yet they can be easily negated by divisive attitudes exercised and encouraged by some in authority.
Humans have a choice, writes Hari.
“We can find practical ways to dismantle hierarchies and create a more equal place where everybody feels they have a measure of respect and status. Or we can build up hierarchies and ramp up the humiliation – as we are doing today.”
Lost Connections by Johann Hari is published by Bloomsbury. There is a Facebook page: www.facebook.com/thelostconnections
There are far more famous people than myself happy to endorse this book, judging by the dust jacket.
Elton John says: “If you have ever been down, or felt lost, this amazing book will change your life… Read it now.”
Simon Amstel writes: “It is very important everyone read this book and do what he says quickly as possible.”

And Ariana Huffington states: “A bold and inspiring book that will help far more than just those who suffer from depression.”
Why, I wonder, do I feel like I’m doing myself out of a job here?
Be happy.
Have hope.
Read the book.


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