From Depression to Contentment, reviewed by Hendrika de Vries

Hendrika de Vries

In all my over thirty years of practicing psychotherapy I have read and recommended many self-help books, but seldom have I found one that speaks to me with the spiritual wisdom of Bob Rich’s From DEPRESSION to CONTENTMENT. Here is a book that offers an attitude to life that can change your world-view even if you are not suffering from depression. It is a book not to be read in one sitting, but to be turned to again and again for daily words of wisdom and encouragement.

Dr. Rich puts our current epidemic of depression in a larger framework that helps the reader understand the nature of suffering and provides incremental small steps, baby steps, to move through the helplessness and overwhelm. He generously shares his personal experiences but also reminds us of the deep wisdom found in such timeless works as Viktor Frankl’s Man’s Search for Meaning and Mihály Csikszentmihályi’s Flow. He even includes a chapter on reincarnation and past lives that I found especially fascinating.

It’s like being given a spiritual tool kit. I have a daughter who is a sculptor. When she was a little girl, my father, a craftsman, taught her to use tools. Upon his death, the only thing she desired was his old tool kit. It had everything in it she needed, she said, because his love was in the tools he taught her to use. This book reminds me of that. Not just a self-help book, but a tool kit filled with the timeless wisdom available to us whether we need guidance to move through depression or just a refresher course in the meaning of life.

Hendrika de Vries is the author of When a Toy Dog Became a Wolf and the Moon Broke Curfew… a memoir.

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