Depression and Our Own Best Interests

Clinical Skills / Depression - Full Day

Depression and Our Own Best Interests

We don’t perceive what is in our own best interests, and we don’t know that this is the case. As a result, we also don’t know to pause to learn or find out, much less do we know where to start. Consequently, we have a number of goals, wishes, and wants, which are often in conflict with each other.

What then takes place is that we make a number of demands regarding a given situation that have nothing whatsoever to do with the situation itself, though we vehemently believe they do. We then end up with a number of goals that are rather contradictory. We then begin working toward those goals, and find disappointment after disappointment [1], and label ourselves as a failure, or incapable because we aren’t reaching those goals as expected.  

Most people get depressed in response to disappointments. We did not get the job we wanted; we did not get the promotion we had hoped for; we did not get into the school of our choice. Perhaps, we were expecting that baby and we lost it; we were expecting to get married to that person and he or she “ditched us;” or we were to retire in that house we always wanted, but someone else bought it from under us. We can find thousands and thousands of such examples, which we vehemently were attached to and since they failed to happen, we become depressed.

But, is this really what we wanted? Do we really know what is in our own best interests?

Let’s remember this is not information, rather transformation. Let’s remember that Education consists of unlearning and relearning [2]. It calls for transformational and experiential learning, which entails active learning. As such, let us proceed as follows:

  1. Think of as many of the situations about which you are currently concerned
  2. Think about the specific outcome you want for each of these situations
  3. Are you able to see that you have a number of goals in mind as part of the specific outcome you want?
  4. Are you able to see that your goals are on different levels and some conflict with others?
  5. What types of conflict are you able to find right away?

Let’s look at the following for illustration purpose. Let’s call this individual, Arielle.

Situation: Arielle has come up with 10 areas of her life and related desired outcomes.

  1. Parenting;
  2. Romance;
  3. Therapy;
  4. Social Justice and Advocacy;
  5. Entrepreneurship;
  6. Teaching;
  7. Writing;
  8. Public Speaking;
  9. Financing;
  10. Fulfillment

Desired Outcome: For each outcome, Arielle describes the following goals:

  1. Being the best mother I can be;
  2. Having romance in my life;
  3. Being the best pregnant woman therapist I can be
  4. Adequate maternity leave for all women throughout the world;
  5. Have my practice be accessible to all pregnant women in the world;
  6. Teaching in workplaces throughout the world to raise awareness of the crucial importance of Maternity Leave;
  7. Writing to raise awareness of the crucial importance of Maternity Leave  in workplaces
  8. Public speaking to raise awareness of the crucial importance of Maternity Leave  in workplaces
  9. Financial independence
  10. Be the best I can be

These are examples of 10 situations or areas of life and related outcomes that have mattered the most to Arielle. Now, we can all agree that there is nothing conflicting or contradictory among the 10 areas of her life and related areas. These are different aspects of herself, in fact we all have these same aspects of ourselves, and even more [3]. We can also agree that the specific and related goals she has for her 10 areas and related outcomes may not necessarily contradict each other either. We say it may not because it will depend on how she plans them; it will depend on how she goes about meeting these goals; and it will depend on what she thinks is in her best interest in how to best accomplish each of these desired outcomes. And this is where the rubber meets the road.   

When Arielle came to us, feeling, “burnout, overwhelmed, inadequate and depressed,” we helped her sort out her  goals and things she was concerned about, and that mattered most to her. We helped her identify how some of her goals conflicted with each other and we then guided her to steer things in the most optimal direction. She left feeling more in control, confident, and empowered.  Much different than when she was feeling overwhelmed and depressed.

Depression takes place when we know that part of us wants something different, can do something different; when we think we know exactly how it has to take place. Yet, we end up simply burnout, overwhelmed, inadequate, and yes, depressed, just in Arielle’s case. However, as you can see, it does not have to be that way. We can desire and have a conscious relationship with out desires, and we can learn how, and it is a matter of shifting.

We look forward to us mastering the skills needed to make this shift. And if you are a clinician, please join us on May 7th, for our 6 CEU full-day webinar on Depression. Click here to register. And

See you then,
Karen and Mardoche     

[1] Ashworth, M., Ph.D. “Dealing with Disappointment.” Psych Central, Psych Central, 17 May 2016,

[2] Warrell, M. “Learn, Unlearn And Relearn: How To Stay Current And Get Ahead.” Forbes, Forbes Magazine, 4 Feb. 2014,

[3] Natasha, and Name *. “The 7 Categories of Life and How to Succeed in Each.” Natasha C Dewhirst, 29 Apr. 2020,