Theology or therapy? In what sense does depression exist?

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I am grateful to Anastasia Scrutton for opening up a very important area for thought, reflection, and practice. Her paper presents a fascinating argument for an understanding of depression that is framed as a potentially spiritually transformative experience with positive therapeutic implications. In doing so, she offers a way for theologians, philosophers, and practitioners to effectively perceive, understand, and engage with the spiritual dimensions of the experience of depression. As such, she has made an important contribution to the ongoing and often fraught conversations around the role of spirituality in understanding mental health issues. The models she outlines neatly encapsulates a broad range of experience and her development of and preference toward the potentially transformative (PT) model of spiritual experience is compassionate and helpful. Although I do not necessarily agree with everything that she has said, I do respect, value, and appreciate her work on this vital area for theory and practice. There are, however, some significant issues that require clarification, critique, and further conversation.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)295-298
Number of pages4
JournalPhilosophy, Psychiatry, & Psychology
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2015


  • depression
  • social construction
  • theology
  • spirituality


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