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The Ethical Treatment of DepressionAutonomy through Psychotherapy$
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Paul Biegler

Print publication date: 2011

Print ISBN-13: 9780262015493

Published to MIT Press Scholarship Online: August 2013

DOI: 10.7551/mitpress/9780262015493.001.0001

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Understanding Causal Stressors Promotes Autonomy in Depression

Understanding Causal Stressors Promotes Autonomy in Depression

(p.119) 6 Understanding Causal Stressors Promotes Autonomy in Depression
The Ethical Treatment of Depression

Paul Biegler

The MIT Press

This chapter explains how psychotherapy creates awareness of the causal role of psychosocial stressors and of effective means of addressing them. Psychotherapy, particularly cognitive behavior therapy (CBT), promotes autonomy in depression by creating this awareness, making it the superior approach as compared with antidepressant medication (ADM). The goal of CBT is not to simply explain causal stressors; it also proposes strategies that can be applied in their management so that important interests may be protected. ADM, on the other hand, theoretically promotes the autonomy of a depressed person’s response to stressful life events, but does not impart material understanding. Therefore, it promotes autonomy in depression to a lesser extent than does CBT. To build the case for CBT, however, it must first be explained how it addresses the psychosocial stressors that trigger depression.

Keywords:   psychotherapy, psychosocial stressors, CBT, autonomy, depression, ADM, causal stressors, material understanding

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