Psychology and Psychotherapy: Theory, Research and Practice

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Volume 82 Issue 2 (June 2009), Pages 123-245

Attributions and affirmations for overcoming anxiety and depression (pages 153-169)

Individuals who struggle with anxiety or depression often turn to experts for help in overcoming these disorders. In this study, we consult three expert ‘populations’: the popular self‐help literature, well‐respected therapists, and individuals who believe that they have successfully recovered from either anxiety or depression for their recommendations to those who are currently anxious or depressed. In Part I, we content‐analyse recommendations from 10 current self‐help books on anxiety and 10 on depression. In Part II, we asked 17 respected therapists and 18 individuals who believed that they have recovered from anxiety and 23 individuals who believe they have recovered from depression what they believe are the ‘keys’ for recovery. We also asked them to rate the efficacy of seven popular affirmations. Through content analysis and descriptive statistics, we summarize their collective wisdom. Among the main findings are the recommendations for anxious and depressed individuals to actively seek help from multiple people and interventions, as well as to being open to trying innovative self‐tailored interventions. Affirmations relating to ‘not being crazy’ in relation to anxiety and that the depression will subside in time were deemed most helpful for recovery. Discussion focuses on practical application.

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