Depression: The Way Out of Your Prison by Dorothy Rowe

If you don’t feel the need for deeper understanding, then this book by Dorothy Rowe will be no use to you.  Dr Dorothy Rowe was born in Australia in 1930 and is a psychologist and author, whose particular area of interest is depression.  She came to England in her forties and worked at  Sheffield University.  She was the head of the Lincolnshire Department of Clinical Psychology.  In addition to her published works on depression, she is a columnist in the UK.


Dr Rowe’s work was ground breaking.  She spent her time working with depressed patients and, through listening to their stories, came to reject the medical model of mental illness. She worked instead within a personal construct theory.

Dr Rowe believes that depression is a result of beliefs which do not enable a person to live comfortably with themselves or the world. Most notably she explains that it is a belief in a “Just World” (that the bad are punished and the good rewarded) that exacerbates feelings of fear and anxiety if disaster strikes. Part of recovering is accepting that the external world is unpredictable and that we control relatively little of it.

I have suffered from depression for many years and my condition worsened and changed when I was being treated for breast cancer.  I  found that the first third of the book was the most difficult part to read.  Here she talks about the assumptions people make:  about those beliefs that define us and we that have acquired while we were very young.


Rowe’s book helps to identify assumptions and where they come from.   She challenges our thoughts and beliefs in the hope we will stop blaming other people and ourselves.

Dr Rowe takes the role of a true critique, like the one friend that never spares us the truth, and all in the hope to help us.   Maybe some people will not like the book, some will argue against the truth of it.  However,the author comes across as a person who desperately wants to give her knowledge to the world.   She is a person that really wants to help, and she does deserve credit for her life long commitment to helping depressed people.

Depression is the experience of a terrible isolation, of being alone in a prison. But by understanding how we build the prison of depression we can dismantle it forever.   Dorothy Rowe gives us a way of understanding depression, allowing us to take charge of our lives. She shows it is not an illness requiring drugs but a defence we use to hold ourselves together when we feel our lives falling apart.

This best-selling book is now in its second edition, contains the stories of people who have changed their lives by conquering depression for good.  I found it helpful and encouraging.  If you, or one of yours suffers from this misunderstood and unfashionable condition I recommend you read this book.



  1. Reblogged this on normanjkennedy and commented:
    Great book!


  2. Reblogged this on wkwriters.


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