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Out of the Blue

Six Non-Medication Ways to Relieve Depression

May 2014

Bill O'Hanlon (Author)


Alternatives to standard drug treatments for this common problem.

Depression is one of the most common issues that people bring to therapy. It is also a mental health condition with several well-known and readily available medications to treat it. That said, every clinician knows that medications do not work for all clients, and even if they do work they can often come with unwelcome side effects that are difficult and hard to bear. In short, medications are not foolproof.

Fortunately today, with rising interest in non-drug approaches, effective and easy-to-implement alternative strategies exist for dealing with depression in your clients, either in conjunction with medication treatments or on their own. Six of the best are presented in this book.

With his characteristic mix of insightful clinical anecdote and personal narrative, seasoned therapist Bill O’Hanlon lays out six of his go-to non-medication strategies for clinicians to use with their own depressed clients. These include “marbling” (training people to intersperse happy memories with sad ones so that over time they move away from a feeling of such negativity); challenging isolation in clients (helping them to see the benefits of the social world); and understanding neuroplasticity and how it can be used to your clients’ advantage.

Bill O’Hanlon writes from a place of experience. As a youth, he was so severely depressed that he contemplated suicide. His successful rise from that dark place, some 30 years ago, can be seen as the starting point for this book. Many of the strategies he used to overcome his own illness he now puts forward here, with compassion and wisdom, so that other clinicians may benefit.

Every depressed person experiences his or her own variety of the illness, and as therapists we need to help our clients discover their own paths to healing. Armed with the compelling, non-drug strategies in this book, clinicians will be able to do just that, opening up a new route to health and wellness.
Whether you routinely prescribe psychotropic drugs or would never think of doing so, this book may offer just the advice you need to advance your therapy work and make a real difference in your depressed clients’ lives.


"While O’Hanlon’s book is written for therapists, I have also recommended it to family members of depressed people; even the mildly depressed could make use of this book to help themselves." — Reader's Digest India

"Well, O’Hanlon has done it again. . . . His genius is to make something difficult, such as treating depression, look and become effortless. . . . All of his strategies are ones that therapists should use, especially with depressed people, because the steps are so powerful. . . . I love this book and, of course, recommend it. I will prompt all my students and anyone who works with depressed people to read it carefully." — The Milton H. Erickson Foundation Newsletter

"O’Hanlon does an excellent job of aggregating extensive research with stories from his own life, his teachers and clients, and those well-known figures who have been depressed and survived and thrived. He somehow manages to take all that data, both qualitative and quantitative, and put it together in an easy-to-understand and engaging read that gives clinicians very useful tools. . . . I am grateful that he has put together this valuable, well-researched resource." — PsychCentral

"Out of the Blue is filled with practical wisdom that therapists can immediately implement to help improve the lives and moods of clients suffering from depressive disorders. The writing is easy to follow and has the perfect mix of theory, recent research, reason, and compelling human stories that richly illustrate key points. This book will also be a terrific resource for family members and friends looking to gain insight and communication skills to support a loved one in the midst of a crippling episode of depression." — Kathi Kemper, MD, MPH, Director, OSU Center for Integrative Health and Wellness; author, Mental Health Naturally and Addressing ADD Naturally

Also By: Bill O'Hanlon View all by author...



147 x 218 mm • 272 pages


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