Depression as a Spiritual Journey

Depression as a Spiritual Journey

This the first book to address depression as a spiritual journey.It serves as an invitation to reframe depression in a new way.


Depression as a Spiritual Journey is the first book to address depression as a spiritual journey in the context of medication and counselling. It serves as an invitation to reframe depression in a new way. Many people resist embracing medication as part of the healing process. Others confuse emotional and mental dis-ease. What is the difference between melancholia and clinical depression? Why do people today suffer from an assortment of depressions rather than good old- fashioned melancholia? What is the difference between psychosis and depression, or the dark night of the soul and depression? What criteria do we use to make these distinctions? Stephanie Sorrell defines some of these distinctions and unearths many of our mindsets that shape our ambivalent attitude to depression. More than anything, Stephanie validates depression as a valuable and integral part of the journey with all its gains, losses and insight. She does not provide easy answers, but encourages the reader to face the very real challenge of working with depression as a spiritual guide and teacher.


Anyone with depression (or bipolar) issues should read Depression as a Spiritual Journey. This book explores all sides of theses important issues. In doing so, it helps us see depression in a whole new light. ~ Tami Brady, TCM Reviews,

This book isn't just for the person experiencing depression but also for those who wish to be supportive of anyone with the condition. It could also be very valuable for those in the medical profession who see so many depressed patients but have very little empathy for those with the illness. ~ Wendy Stokes, Eternal Spirit

Stephanie's book covers all shades of depression and poses vital questions. It is not a mish mash of different theories and suggestions, but rather a holistic approach to depression, exploring it in the context of a spiritual journey. It must be said that the author is eminently qualified to write such a book having suffered depressive episodes throughout her life. This book brings the darkness of depression up into the light, illuminating its value and showing how it can contribute to soul growth. With huge courage and frankness,Stephanie relates the cycle of shame which haunted her own family where suicide and alchoholism occluded the potential value of what was going on inside. ~ Elizabeth Medler, New Vision

Stephanie Sorrell has the ability to be able to step both inside and outside her own experience of depression to convey personal experience, as well as provide and in-depth look at the psychological and societal ways in which depression is understood. From this experience and awareness she offers a way of understanding depression which brings it out of the shadows and into the light. From this you might think Stephanie glosses over the pain, but this is not so; it is evident throughout her writing that depression is suffering on a deep level, and that it is fallacious to pretend it can be simply squashed or risen above. However, there is a way in which someone inderstanding the pain, and yet finding a deeper way to experience it and understand it, is in itself healing. Running through the book is an evident scholarship and breadth of knowledge, but it is written in a way which is readable. There is also a span of subjects including: different forms of depression, the nature of suffering, myth, medical intervention, psychological paths, links with creativity and the natural world, the 'dark night of the soul', fears and anxieties, suicide and 'how to be with a depressed person'. There may be ideas or comments which the reader does not agree with, but the book is written in such a way as to allow for this. In other words, there are many levels to the book as well as subjects, and for someone who struggles with depression, or is trying to be with someone who suffers in this way, this book provides a wealth of ideas from which new insights can be achieved, Stephanie ends the book with an exquisite poem which, in itself, encapsulates both the anguish and the deep joy of spiritual beings in exceeedingly challenging earthly lives. ~ Stella Polaris, White Eagle Lodge

As the world awaits the latest edition of USA's Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, this book provides a welcome antidote. It will be of interest to ministers and carers involoved in counselling and support services and is written with the directness of one who has experienced personally many of the problems and setbacks which depression brings. ~ Anthony White, Faith and Freedom

The book offers a broad spectrum of practical ideas on how to deal with depression while expressing a deep empathy towards those who are making this long and painful journey. ~ The Beacon

"Depression as a Spiritual Journey" shines like a guiding light as a silent companion through the darkness. After succinctly dismissing the ambiguity and shame surrounding the condition in the first chapter, the author then goes on to share valuable personal insights on the effectiveness of medication blended with a spiritual journey as a pathway to discovery of the self.

Throughout the book Stephanie suggests workable models of perceiving clarity through introspection, rather than quick fix methods which rarely give relief. The text focuses on "being with" the condition, rather than trying to find a cure. Through exploration of parallels within mythological frameworks the reader is taken on a guided tour of the underworld and shown the creative benefits that can come to fruition during the ascent.

Highlighted in one of the chapters is the four stages of spiritual emergency to spiritual emergence, and those who suffer any mood disorders or imbalances will find a reference point within this to begin their ascent towards the light again. Stephanie talks about the seasonal cycles through which nature progresses and puts forward experiences by many creative people who go through this cycle in their life.

The Psychosynthesis current is interwoven throughout and binds together a remarkable collection of ideas that have been presented as a highly engaging text.

Anyone caring for someone with a depressive illness will find this book very helpful, and also for those seeking to understand their place in the souls journey. Knowing that you are not alone in your travels, and reading about the experiences that others have had which you may be approaching will be beneficial for many readers of this book.

~ Jade Ashcroft, Enlightening Times

This is a valuable book offering an insightful understanding of depression. It is not a self help book in the ordinary sense and needs to be read by individuals who are committed to an inside learning and understanding to the nature of suffering. It is academically well researched in relation to the medical and psychological models currently available in working with depression. It should be a text book for all health visitors, social workers, junior doctors, psychologists and psychotherapy students in training. Addressing depression as a spiritual journey is invaluable as a way of challenging the deep shame that the sufferer and their families can experience. This shame is often carried for generations and the impact as we see in the world can lead to addictions of many kinds. This book should be read by those family members who are attempting to support someone in depression to help them find a new context for caring in this way. Finally I believe that teaching seminaries for those going into working with others from many different denominations would benefit from an in depth understanding of the nature of this illness. So often the depressed person will first turn to the church and or organised religion to try and find direction. As Stephanie so movingly describes in the Chapter ‘I have Lost My Angel’ the person suffering does lose connection with Life and any connection to what is meaningful for them. This book may at least offer some hope as a way of accepting and finding a new way of being in the world with depression. ~ Anne Welsh, Senior Staff member Institute of Psychosynthesis. London.Founder and Director. Synthesis-in-the-City

Stephanie Sorrell's book, Depression as a Spiritual Journey, brings a broad spectrum of practical ideas along with a deep empathetic embrace towards those who are making the journey through depression. She sheds a shaft of light into this unexplored arena of possibility. Stephanie's extraordinary and deeply loving understanding of the subject contains a key to unlock the door of a new personal and professional awareness. She brings an innovative and spiritually uplifting understanding to the experience of depression." ~ Reverend Jane Sorbi and Leader of the White Eagle Lodge in America

This book is a very welcome and timely contribution to the field. Stephanie Sorrell’s voice resonates with personal authority, scholarly clarity and poetic metaphor, to illuminate and inform our relationship with depression. It speaks to those of us who experience depression, those of us who have people in our lives affected by depression, as well as the growing number of psychological therapists working with people with depression. This book is inclusive of different traditions, and the work achieves a rich weaving of threads, which could be seen as disparate, but from which a tapestry is created to contextualise and deepen our understanding of this journey. For clinical psychologists, and other therapists, engaged in the Government’s initiatives to address its growing concern about the impact of depression on the nation’s mental and economic health, this work will offer a helpful perspective within which to appreciate the role of Cognitive Behaviour Therapy, the dominant narrative of today. Crucially, Sorrell reminds us that there is meaning and value in the whole experience of depression, without shying away from the depths of the challenges it presents. ~ Chris Roberts, Consultant Clinical Psychologist

In re-contextualising Depression as a Spiritual Journey, Stephanie Sorrel's serious and radical book gives patients and health professionals a handbook of hope. ~ Roger Evans, Co founder and Director of The Institute of Psychosynthesis, co author of The Creative Manager with Peter Russell

An important and insightful work that will take you into the colourless maze of depression. Her empathic and sensitive approach allows you to enter with her and trust you will find your way through. What you will discover is that you are not in fact in a maze but rather in a labyrinth where there is a single pathway leading you to the heart of who you most essentially are. Perhaps from that place we can begin to see that our most difficult experiences have served to hone the soul and point us towards a recognition and reconnection to our true nature. This reconnection can be a homecoming as we stand within the humility of our hard won wisdom. ~ Elizabeth Clarke , MA in Psychosynthesise Psychotherapy, Director of Synthesise Therapy Centre

This is a fine and acclaimed poet's journey through the theory and history of depression. Poignantly, yet without sentimentality, Sorrell parables her own experiences and her family's history, embedding them in the well-researched contexts of faith, mythology, psychoanalysis and history. The result validates the spiritual and creative dimension of a state of mind that has been culturally exiled for far too long.

~ Michelle Lovric, author of The Remedy, Carnevale and The Floating Book

This book brings the darkness of depression up into the light, illuminating its value and showing how it can contribute to soul growth. It is full of windows into the nature of depression and how it can be seen in a positive light as a contributor to our spiritual journey. Its deep wisdom comes from an author who, like Persephone, has lived for spells in the underworld, but has been able to return and share some valuable insights garnered from that world. ~ Elizabeth Medler, Editor of New Vision

Stephanie June Sorrell
Stephanie June Sorrell Stephanie's main passions are the psychospiritual dimension of life and the natural environment. She worked as editor for New Vision magazin...
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