Chapter

 Depression and Identity

Mike W. Martin

in From Morality to Mental Health

Published in print May 2006 | ISBN: 9780195304718
Published online September 2006 | e-ISBN: 9780199786572 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/0195304713.003.0012

Series: Practical and Professional Ethics

 							 Depression and Identity

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Meaningful lives embody defensible values (objective meaning) and are enlivened by a sense of worthwhileness (subjective meaning). The therapeutic trend has led psychotherapists to explore all aspects of meaningful lives, including everyday moral issues concerning love, work, community service, happiness, and authenticity. This chapter discusses depression, the most ubiquitous concern about meaning brought to psychotherapists. Topics covered include therapists' morality-therapy dichotomy, ethicists' morality-therapy dichotomy, impaired autonomy, and the health-illness continuum. It is argued that depression has become our “presiding discontent,” given our preoccupations with identity and self-worth amid rapid social change, eroding community, and increasingly many ways in which our lives are subject to forces over which we have little control. Therapeutic perspectives should complement and merge with moral perspectives, rather than replacing or diluting morality.

Keywords: morality; therapy; meaningful life; health; illness

Chapter.  5004 words. 

Subjects: Moral Philosophy

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