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Sadness, Depression, and the Dark Night of the Soul: 
Transcending the Medicalization of Sadness
By Glòria Durà-Vilà
Sadness, Depression, and the Dark Night of the Soul:  Transcending the Medicalization of Sadness (Jessica Kingsley)
Psychoanalytic Psychology

Date of publication: 2017
Number of pages: 360
ISBN: 9781785920561

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Revealing a tension between the medical model of depression and the very different language of theology, this book explores how religious people and communities understand severe sadness, their coping mechanisms and their help-seeking behaviors.

Drawing from her study of practicing Catholics, contemplative monks and nuns, priests and laypeople studying theology, the author describes how symptoms that might otherwise be described as pathological and meet diagnostic criteria for a depressive disorder are considered by some religious individuals to be normal and valued experiences. She explains how sadness fits into the 'Dark Night of the Soul' narrative - an active transformation of emotional distress into an essential ingredient for self-reflection and spiritual growth - and how sadness with a recognized cause is seen to 'make sense', whereas sadness without a cause may be seen to warrant psychiatric consultation.

The author also discusses the role of the clergy in cases of sadness and depression and their collaboration with medical professionals. This is an insightful read for anyone with an interest in theology or mental health, including clergy, psychiatrists and psychologists.

About the Author

Dr. Glòria Durà-Vilà is a child and adolescent psychiatrist working with a main clinical interest in Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD). She is experienced in assessing, diagnosing and treating children and young people with ASD, and services. She is an Honorary Lecturer at University College London, Department of Mental Health Sciences.

Jessica Kingsley Publishers

Founded in London in 1987, Jessica Kingsley has grown to publish over 250 books a year. Publishing books for professionals and general readers, the press’s long-established lists on the autism spectrum, social work and arts therapies are well known. More recently they have published extensively in the fields of mental health, counseling, palliative care and practical theology. The press was named Independent Academic, Educational and Professional Publisher of the Year at the 2016 British Book Industry Awards.