Dr. Eric Maisel is a prolific writer, to say the least. His numerous publications span the human experience and explore how to interact with the various situations that one may encounter. In this interview, he discusses a couple of his books and spends a great deal of time explaining how he thinks depression should be treated vs how it is currently being diagnosed and treated. It’s a different way of thinking about this subject and if it’s a topic you’re interested in, you owe yourself a listen.
This week we talk to Eric Maisel
Eric Maisel, Ph.D., is is the author of more than 40 books. His titles include, Why Smart People Hurt, Making Your Creative Mark, The Van Gogh Blues, Mastering Creative Anxiety, and Creativity for Life
In addition, Dr. Maisel is at the forefront of the movement to rethink mental health. He writes the Rethinking Psychology blog for Psychology Today and among his books in this area are Rethinking Depression and The Future of Mental Health.
His latest book is called Overcoming Your Difficult Family: 8 Skills for Thriving in Any Family Situation.
In This Interview, Eric Maisel and I Discuss…
- The Wolf Parable
- His book, Overcoming Your Difficult Family: 8 Skills for Thriving in Any Family Situation
- His book, The Future of Mental Health
- The smartness to understand what’s going on with your family
- The strength to make the changes that you need to make
- The strength to be calm, or have a difficult conversation
- Having clarity about what’s going on
- Awareness of the situation
- The courage to make change because change has consequences
- The skill of presence
- Being resilient – family members, especially siblings, don’t go away like other relationships
- Visualizing the “calmness switch” within you
- The importance of learning one anxiety management tool because you will have anxiety in life
- How you name the problem often directs you to the situation
- The importance of language
- The importance of knowing the causes of things regarding your health
- Living intentionally, identifying your life purposes and making meaning in your life
- How thinking that all we are is matter, chemicals etc can lead people to feel less excited about living
- Each person has to make the decision to opt to matter, to decide that you matter and that your decisions matter
- The cultural trance of tv
- Stigmatization of mental health
- The three parts of personality: Original Personality, Formed Personality, Available Personality
At first I was really encouraged by his effort to apply a critical lens to the narrow and shallow way the mental health industry addresses depression. Then I was discouraged that his own approach seemed to lack breadth, too. Surely, for many, trauma, an intensely painful experience, and/or malfunctioning physiological processes, are at the root of depression symptoms — rather than lacking the sense of living purposefully. Indeed, feeling bad from lacking a sense of purpose would be for many a luxury; as they suffer in the grip of something else that prevents them from even pondering purpose.
Eric Zimmer says
Hi Jack…I agree with you in some respects. Part of the challenge for me with people questioning the current mental health approaches is that it goes too far in my mind or throws the baby out with the bathwater.
I am also sceptical of an overly medical model of mental health/well-being and I found myself agreeing with much of Eric Maisel’s opinions.
However, I was a bit taken aback to hear him state (and you Eric seemed to agree with him) that nobody in the medical/mental health professions talks about innate character traits e.g. being more sensitive or anxious as playing a role in mental health. Here in the UK, the Stress/Vulnerability model is fairly commonplace in understanding the development of poor mental health such as psychosis or depression, as well as addictions. The ‘vulnerability’ encompasses both biological/genetic make-up as well as early childhood experiences. Is this not typically used in the U.S?
Eric Zimmer says
Certainly, childhood events are discussed often, but in my experience not a lot about genetic makeup, but I am a sample size of one. Thanks.