A self-therapy guide

From Depression to Contentment: A self-therapy guide teaches you to put peace into your heart, regardless of what life throws at you.

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   Depression is a galloping global epidemic. This is not your fault, but the problem with living in a toxic culture. However, there is a cure.

   Bob Rich has been there himself. Drawing on his personal experience, and on decades of work as a psychotherapist, he gives you a manual for changing your life, whether you suffer depression or not.

   In her advance review, Theresa Hortley has said, "All of Bob's novels I've read are full of therapeutic lessons. Here is a book designed as a set of therapeutic lessons that is as enjoyable to read as any novel."

1. You need to be crazy to stay sane in a crazy world

   Pessimism vs. optimism is one of the dimensions of human personality. Interesting research shows that pessimists are consistently more realistic than optimists.

   This is because reality is far worse than you could think without getting depressed.

   Diagnosed depression is a galloping epidemic. The facts are admirably summarized by Tyrell and Elliott. Their main conclusions are worth repeating:

   According to Martin Seligman, depression in 1984 was 10 times as frequent as in the 1950s.

   So, if you're depressed, it's not the fault of your biology, individual circumstances, or personality, but of the world you live in. Maybe you're just smarter and more perceptive than others who are lucky enough to carry on OK in a toxic culture.

   If depression was mainly a matter of heredity, it wouldn't be a growing problem. The fact of its rapid increase points the finger at society, not the individual. Nevertheless, the causation of any psychological reaction is always complex. To learn to gain a less painful way of reacting, we need to understand what leads us to extended periods of sadness. So, read on!

This is a user's guide

   Depression is a way of seeing the world; a way of being. It isn't a disease, a disorder, or a chemical imbalance. It's not something you are, or have, but something you DO.

   There is a lot of evidence for my statement, but this is a user's guide, not some academic treatise. I am not interested in getting into scholarly arguments.

   The causes, nature and treatment of depression are best described in an excellent article Michael Gathercole published in the Australian Journal of Counselling Psychology in 2004. It didn't make the impact it should have, so I've reproduced it with permission. And that's almost all the academic stuff you'll get from me in this book.

   I have two credentials for writing this user's guide.

   First and most important, I personally lived with depression from infancy. Without realizing it, I started to do therapy on myself when I was 21. By 23, I had it in control all by myself. A crash would come occasionally -- then I fixed it. This went on for another 20 years. When I was 43, I noticed that the depression was gone. Previous invariable triggers failed to drag me down. (My personal journey is described in two of my books: Anikó: The stranger who loved me, and Ascending Spiral: Humanity's last chance).

   If I could do it, you can do it.

   I did have a relapse in 2011, as a reaction to a loss I hadn't thought would affect me. Using the tools I'd developed to cure myself, I returned to contentment in three weeks.

   Second, I have a Ph.D. in psychology, and provided psychotherapy for decades. So, I do understand all the science, and know what I am talking about. If I could be successfully of service to my clients, I can be successfully of service to you.

   As with any manual, you need to DO what it recommends. You can't learn tennis by reading a book about how to do it. You can't change your world by reading a book about how to do it.

   I'll start with first aid, which helps everyone in any situation. Then we'll get an understanding of depression, and finally go onto the specifics of living a contented life, even if we are on the planet of the insane ("normal people" who do what everyone does).


Chapter 1: You have to be crazy to stay sane in a crazy world
This is a User's Guide

Chapter 2: Basic First Aid
Healthy Eating
Satisfying Sleep
Regular Physical Exercise
Regular Fun
Social Connectedness

Chapter 3: Relaxation and Meditation
Muscular Relaxation
Mindfulness Meditation
Guided Imagery

Chapter 4: Know Your Enemy
The Conventional View
Sources of Sadness
The Causes of Human Suffering
The Development of Resilience

Chapter 5: Controlling Depression
Fixing the thinking
Rewriting your story
Act The Way You Want To Be

Chapter 6: The Cure for Depression
The Destination
Don't Like Your World? Change it
Processing Trauma
Loving the Inner Monster
You Get What You Send
The Resilient Mindset
Moving Hedonic Adaptation

Chapter 7: Spiritual Care
My Greatest Teacher

Chapter 8: Depression in the Family
Caring for the Carer
Inducing change and growth

Chapter 9: Dealing with Relapse


About the Author



Petrea King
Carol Anderson
Jennifer Bonn
Beth Burgess
Hendrika de Vries
Ian Ellis-Jones
Kamal Gabry
Theresa Hortley
Kristin Johnson
Don Lubov
Isabella Milan
David Morawetz
Sally Odgers
Jack Pilgers
Kevin Richardson
Issac Robledo
Dipa Sanatani
Yvonne Rowan
Nina Savelle-Rocklin
Walter Stoffel
TA Sullivan
Nancy Wagaman
Florence Weinberg
Laurie Zelinger
Alfredo Zotti


Petrea King

Hi Bob,

   Thanks so much for giving me the opportunity of making an endorsement for your book. I started reading and couldn't stop...well done Bob.

   If you're depressed and need someone who 'gets' you, who's been there, and who can walk you through the journey toward living a life worth living, then From Depression to Contentment will be your new best friend. Bob's a straight shooter who tells it as it is. He meets you where you are and can lead you home to yourself.

   May your book find its way into the hands and hearts of those who so desperately need it.

Warm regards

When she was in her 30s, a doctor told Petrea she wouldn't see next Christmas. She is now in her 70s, and still vigorously alive. She has dedicated her life to working with people suffering life-threatening diseases, and her Quest for Life Centre has supported and inspired tens of thousands of them. I feel honoured and privileged by her endorsement.

Florence Weinberg

   Dr. Bob Rich's book exudes the contentment it promises. Not puffery, not self-promotion, but an atmosphere of true serenity based on a life well balanced and well lived. And Dr. Bob maps out just how to achieve the same; how to go and do likewise. His style is easygoing and readable, logical, with clear organization. The book begins with a "first-aid" list of things to do to start emerging from depression, and provides the sufferer with weapons: how to relax; how to meditate, and how to recognize the enemy within. Bob's recipes for combatting that enemy are detailed in chapter after chapter with many anecdotes of successful techniques practiced with his former patients (all names are changed).

   Dr. Bob has "been there and done that." His book is full of humor and wisdom learned from the personal experience of healing himself and then healing many others over years of practice. Also, he shares a hoard of treasures: books and articles of other psychic healers, gladly sharing the spotlight with them. The book ends with a discussion of reincarnation, Buddhist contentment and its similarity to the foundational ideas in quantum mechanics. The reader may remain skeptical, but there is plenty of evidence (scientific, too) of the validity of the position. I find the ideas consoling and hopeful in this "vale of tears," and have believed in something along those lines -- quite independent of any organized religion -- since early adolescence.

   I strongly recommend this book. At least give it a quick read first, since it abounds in helpful ideas, and you may decide to take it seriously and follow its recommendations. I beg you to do so. You have nothing to lose but your depression.

Florence is the author of 10 books that won 11 awards. The next one is in the pipeline. She is one of my main beta readers, and her input shaped this book. She has re-read the final product for this review.

Isabella Milan

   In Dr. Bob's latest book, "From Depression to Contentment," he shares answers to the questions of why we have depression and what we can do to improve our outlook. He uses from his client sessions (identities changed) and a generous amount of book suggestions for readers to clarify the techniques and support theories. He also includes his work on himself, which is very "normalizing." This is a treasure-trove of information that can be beneficial to many; not just those who are diagnosed as clinically depressed.

   Dr. Bob's work shows his extensive knowledge in the field, and one who truly cares about people, and sincerely wants clients to get better. He wants people to be delivered from maladaptive behavior and thoughts. This can happen if readers take advantage of the many homework opportunities he offers. In order to see change in our thoughts and behavior we must try a new approach. When there is failure, we must continue to be willing to try again. Dr. Bob recognizes this and encourages you, "Meds ease the symptoms while you work on the problem."

   This book is well-written, researched with support, and provides a step by step solution to end the cycle of depression. Learning how the mind reacts is fascinating. What I love about the book is the way techniques are explained plainly. Other books are suggested reading for clarification of theories. Client sessions are provided to help see tools in action. Then, readers are given homework that allows them to practice implementing these tools.

   In the book, Dr. Bob makes clear the faulty self-talk and negative behaviors are the problem. He includes his battle with depression to show that he is personally familiar with this disease. Faulty thinking examples are throughout the book. I am worthless because xxx. No one likes me because xxx. As Dr. Bob says several times in his book, "Depression is not something you have but something you DO." This belief gives HOPE and empowerment to those diagnosed. Dr. Bob shares his theories of why depression and suicide are so popular, and therapy techniques to counter negative thoughts and behaviors. He shares with the reader several psychological models used throughout the book. Belief systems that support and techniques that will help to achieve freeness. Whether it's freeness from negative thoughts or freeness from maladaptive behavior this book gives guidelines, theories, and techniques that help you on your journey toward moving from depression to contentment.

   Dr. Bob's book takes the readers from First Aid tips to Buddhists beliefs of enlightenment and contentment. I highly recommend this book!

Isabella suffered stage 4 cancer, which should have killed her. Her book shows you how you can address the most terrible problems.

Laurie Zelinger

   Dr. Bob combines his knowledge of psychology, religion, and professional clinical experience to provide the reader with a down-to-earth explanation of emotional and psychiatric disorders. His candid revelation and description of his own personal emotional struggles humanizes him so that the reader almost feels they know him personally. Dr. Bob also provides literary and internet resources for further reading should one wish to learn more about a particular issue beyond the words of this book.

Dr. Laurie Zelinger is a distinguished board certified psychologist and credentialed play therapist with over 45 years experience working with children. She has held elected positions in state and national psychological organizations and is sought after by the media to respond to topics involving children. After retiring from the schools, Dr. Zelinger now devotes her time exclusively to the private practice that she her husband, and son have built and writing about children's issues. Dr. Zelinger has written several books and contributed chapters and professional consultation to others.

Kristin Johnson

   I've read many self-help books, and author Dr. Bob Rich's book, while treading some familiar ground or flying familiar skies (sensible recommendations on meditation, diet, social connections, exercise, creativity, not getting caught up in owning "stuff"), does offer the unique observation that "You need to be crazy to stay sane in a crazy world," and also focuses on treating the whole person (including the effects on the family), not the depression as a disease or dis-ease.

   I am a reader and writer, not a mental health professional, so I approach it from a reader's perspective.

   Professionals and patients might debate the fact that chemical imbalances and genetics don't play a role in depression the way Dr. Rich asserts, and that society is responsible for depression. There is room to have a reasoned debate about that–not a polarized, angry one on social media, which does negatively impact people.

   However, Dr. Rich's entire goal is to let people know they don't have to feel doomed to be depressed forever because of genetics or a chemical imbalance. He wants to give the reader the tools to change their lives. He says, "More than ever, we need to look at alternatives to drugs that will equip us to deal effectively with the triggers that allow depression to take hold again and again. This is where drug treatments fail." He also states that "the causation of any psychological reaction is always complex."

   He comes across as sincere, and he knows depression because he overcame it and he has been a practicing psychotherapist. Upfront he provides sensible advice for people who are in a crisis. He says, "Something works for everyone, but nothing works for everyone. If you find that the program in this book doesn't work for you, the best investment you can make is 8 to 20 sessions of therapy with a good psychologist."

   Also, he provides exercises for people to do–homework. You might think that would be counterintuitive for people who struggle with depression, but as Dr. Rich writes, "Whatever your depression tells you, do the opposite." So for example, if your depression tells you to oversleep or live as an insomniac, just get regular sleep. This is a generalization because he does advocate having regular fun, creating meaning, eating sensibly, and so on. He says these solutions are mostly free, and the ones that cost money (like eating healthy food) have other benefits. Meditation is also free (he does an entire chapter on meditation and likes the work of Jon Kabat-Zinn, as well as Viktor Frankl.)

   He also says that the label or diagnosis of depression is not an explanation. He describes it as "putting suffering in boxes" and as a useful tool for pharmaceutical companies. He adds, "That's not to say that antidepressants don't work. They do have a role to play, but at best, they ease the symptoms while you take the drug, so you can work on your problems." And he may be on to something that just because depression runs in families, that's not evidence for the heredity-only explanation. As he says, depression is complex.

   One of his biggest points is emphasizing compassion and connectedness, and says that "deliberately making the choice of treating all other humans as our brothers and sisters is one of the major defenses against depression." (Not always possible when people wrong us, but a goal to aspire to.) He also points out that romantic love has a flaw because it insists on someone making you happy and loving you, rather than seeking someone to love. "Love that lasts a long time, and is likely to make you feel contented, is different. In contrast to such taking love, it is giving love: ‘I want someone to love.' If two people have this attitude to each other, and both are in the relationship in order to make the other happy, then you have something wonderful."

   There's so much in this book that you'll want to slow down and digest it piece by piece–and do the homework.

Kristin Johnson is a prize-winning/prize finalist writer, blogger, ghostwriting/creative writing consultant, screenwriter, and editor. A graduate of the former Master of Professional Writing Program from the University of Southern California, she has published/collaborated on seven books. Her current book AIN'T "U" GOT NO MANNERS has been called "the Bible for social media." She is a member of the Desert Screenwriters Guild, Society of Children's Books and Illustrators, and Palm Springs Women in Film and Television.

Jack Pilgers

   Evidently, Dr. Bob Rich has walked the walk. He has been there, done it, helped others to do it and here in this very readable, succinct and yet hard-hitting work lets you know how you can do it as well. Here you can learn how to get your soul and mind back in order. Above all, it is supremely practical. Dr. Bob Rich has spared us the swathes of academic literature that can clog up similar works. Yet he is clearly familiar with the literature itself (and helpfully includes links in the book) and brings it to bear on the issues around depression with impressive clarity. Helpful as well, are the numerous heart-rendering examples that Dr. Bob Rich provides from those that have sought help from him.

   In 'From Depression to Contentment,' Dr. Bob Rich gives us, in clear simple steps, a way out, a guiding light. He knows this works, you just have to do it. Depression is not a label, pills are not a healthy way out, but there are steps that we can take that will start us on the ladder out of the pit. There is a fair amount of literature that will tackle any one of his suggestions in more detail, such as Matthew Walker's excellent text, Why We Sleep, which is, surprisingly, about healthy sleeping. However, here in one simple pragmatic volume, are all those steps and how you should do them. Just as importantly, it is not only what you should do, but what you should not do.

   What I loved about this book was its focus on meaning. There are some excellent passages on how important this is to mental health -- I won't spoil it for you, but this is a hugely important issue that can be neglected within this field, and Dr. Bob Rich explains it intelligently.

   Dr. Bob Rich puts you back in control, does not accept the usual mantras and sops for the soul, and he wisely puts the issue of depression into its wider context. This is a timely and important text that makes a shrewd and significant contribution to this field. Really enjoyed it!

Jack has taught Philosophy and Theology for many years in schools, colleges, and universities, and finds the most intriguing and relevant aspect of philosophy is its relevance to peoples' lives. He has pursued his study of Philosophy, including further degrees from Spanish and UK universities as well as a sabbatical at Oxford University. Yet he believes that the understanding of our place in the world beyond the obvious and mundane is what fascinates, and is as pressing as ever, and this is what he has chosen to write about. His book, "Jack's Path," is a unique blend of a fantasy story, inspirational, and tertiary-level instruction in a half-dozen fields.

Nina Savelle-Rocklin

   From Depression to Contentment is a masterful fusion of therapeutic expertise and vulnerable memoir, with threads of history, science, and literature woven throughout. Dr. Bob Rich gives practical and powerful strategies to challenge and overcome depression, ranging from book recommendations to visualization to self-care and creativity. Readers struggling with depression will find empathy, guidance, and a compassionate view of depression (a refreshing departure from the biomedical model of depression so prevalent in contemporary literature). The book explores the genesis of depression, the influence of trauma and the importance of resilience. Throughout, Dr. Bob gives practical recommendations to improve your life and outlook about the future, drawing from his personal and clinical experience. This ambitious and helpful book lives up to its title and is sure to bring readers from depression to contentment.

Nina Savelle-Rocklin, Psy.D. is a psychoanalyst, author, and radio host specializing in food, weight, and body image issues. Internationally recognized for her unique perspective, she is the author of The Binge Cure: 7 Steps to Outsmart Emotional Eating and Food For Thought: Perspectives On Eating Disorders. She is co-editor of Beyond The Primal Addiction, and hosts a radio program on LA Talk Radio.

Carol Anderson

   For people who suffer from a mild case of the blues to those who are gripped by more severe depression, this book provides a set of strategies and practices that lead to greater ease and contentment in day-to-day living.

   This work challenges some of the popular thinking about depression -- that it is a brain imbalance, a disorder or a disease that requires drugs to control. Rather Rich asserts that depression is the result of faulty thinking -- it is not a condition you are hopelessly saddled with but a flawed belief system that you can change.

   Having suffered from serious depression himself as well as working with many depressed clients as a former psychotherapist, Rich brings deep credibility to his work. Equally important to his credentials is his passion to empower others through writing this book -- where hope and possibility leap off the page.

   From Depression to Contentment is a loving gift to anyone who truly wants to change.

Carol E. Anderson is author of the award winning memoir, You Can't Buy Love Like That: Growing Up Gay in the Sixties. Her essays have been published in The Huffington Post, The Advocate, and Curve Magazine. Her passions are photography, travel and empowering women to live their dreams.

Beth Burgess

   Have you been diagnosed with depression? Do you believe you're stuck with it, because of your genetics, your brain chemistry, your past, or your circumstances? Luckily, you're not. In From Depression to Contentment, Dr. Bob Rich reveals how you can re-engineer your life to beat depression. The book is empowering, empathetic, and written with great intelligence. The guide draws on many proven therapeutic techniques, and Dr. Bob adds something new and creative to each one, making them even more powerful. The author generously interweaves his own story of recovering from depression with other case studies and examples, making the book very relatable and easy to understand. The essential message of the book is that you can beat depression by improving the quality of your thinking, your behaviour, and your life. There are a couple of sections that appear to veer away from the main topic, but don't skip them, because they offer uplifting stories full of hope, inspiration, and motivation. Overall, a wonderfully refreshing and practical self-help guide to healing from depression and living a fulfilling life.

   Beth Burgess is a psychotherapist, freelance writer, and author of Amazon bestseller "Instant Wisdom: 10 Easy Ways to Get Smart Fast", the award-winning "The Happy Addict: How to Be Happy in Recovery From Alcoholism or Drug Addiction" and "The Recovery Formula: An Addict's Guide to Getting Clean and Sober Forever".

Jennifer Bonn


   I loved your book! It is so accessible and feels like it could be a lifeline for so many people struggling with depression. I have a feeling you have been the right answer for quite a few people. I love the section titled First Aid: short and sweet, here's what you need. I also like the idea of no meds and the importance of resilience as a life skill. Thank you for letting me read it.

   Your book has me thinking of all sorts of articles for depression like your first aid about Basic and Brief, to Help You Beat the Grief.

   After my second reading, I kept thinking that although this is geared for people with depression, I hope that their family members read it as well. I wish I had been able to read something like first aid that gave me an idea of what I was dealing with, and the best way to deal with it to help my child. I wonder if you would consider a section with maybe how to have a conversation about depression with the the family can help. Good luck Bob! This is great!


Jen was one of my beta readers. Part 6, Depression in the Family, is the direct response to her suggestion, so she is responsible for a major improvement in this project.

   I "met" Jen when I edited her inspirational book, 101 Lessons Learned While Teaching. I'll post the link here when it's published, because the book is beautiful, and could be used as a positive psychology text.

Sally Odgers

   There's plenty here even for those who aren't depressed. This book is a marvellous resource for anyone interested in the workings of mind and personality.

   I chose to listen to From Depression to Contentment using ReadAloud, which is also the way I run through my own drafts. I find this format helps me pick up typos, clumsy sentences, and longwindedness. It also allows me to peel apples, chop veg for soup, pull weeds or do wall presses while I listen, which is a good way to discover if something holds my attention.

   I found From Depression to Contentment well-organised and practical. It's the sort of book a person with depression (or the tendency to it) might keep close at hand and re-read or revisit concepts and chapters at need. I was particularly interested in the passages about looking for the "reward" in depression/anxiety/bad mood/migraine as that's something my sister and I have often wondered about. We were sickly children (she had Stills Disease, eye problems, and juvenile arthritis and I had frequent bouts of tonsillitis and joint pain and anxiety attacks) and we have since wondered if our mother's care for us might have given us a lifelong feeling that sickliness brings one attention and chocolate! Neither of us wants to be ill and certainly there's no reward for it at our age, but maybe that ties in with that passage in From Depression to Contentment. When the book is out in paperback I'll get her a copy (she doesn't use computers), because she gets cycling depression and has had it for years. I don't. I'm frequently in a panic about something or other, but generally for a specific reason outside myself (if you see what I mean).

   If I see points of connection in the book, it's pretty certain other readers will too.

   I found the background including the reason for increasing rates in depression interesting. Not only are things worse in a lot of ways than when we were young, but also, we know altogether too much about it.

   A lot of concepts in here had me nodding along because they're things I either do or know or just happen to agree with. I think a lot of writers would, since we tend to be fascinated with narrative, motivation and characterisation.

Sally Odgers is a Tasmanian writer of many genres, and a huge number of titles. She asked me to mention Everything You Want to Know About Writing and More, Much More.

Theresa Hortley

   I don't suffer from depression, but read this book because I am privileged to be one of Bob Rich's beta readers. All the same, it has proven to be immensely useful to me, personally.

   Depression is everywhere. Every year, a distressingly high proportion of the kids I teach are obviously depressed. Friends, relatives, colleagues -- it's all around me. Now, I can understand where they are coming from, and can be more effective in helping them, though not as a therapist of course.

   But this is far more than a self-help book. It is an inspiration. One sentence late in the book has captured me: "knowingly or unknowingly, all of us are apprentice Buddhas."

   Depressed or not, if you read this book, you will become a better person.

   You wouldn't expect a book about depression to be humorous, but in typical Bob Rich style, he got me chuckling time and again. Just one example: a patient told Bob that he'd known all his life that he didn't matter. Bob's reply: "Right. You crawled out of the womb believing you didn't matter?"

   All of Bob's novels I've read are full of therapeutic lessons. Here is a book designed as a set of therapeutic lessons that is as enjoyable to read as any novel.

As you'll have gathered, Theresa is a teacher: she teaches English, History and Geography in secondary school. That makes her a formidable beta reader, and I am gratified by her good opinion.

Alfredo Zotti

   In a non-academic fashion, Dr Bob Rich, who was a practicing psychologist and now retired, writes about his experience with depression, both as a once sufferer and as a once therapist.

   He makes it clear in his manual that Depression in not an illness but it is what people "Do" for reasons that he clearly explains. He also suggests that people should do the opposite of what they normally do when depressed as for example, if their depressed state wants them to sleep all day and give up on normal life and normal routines, they should strive to do the opposite, get up and continue with their engagements despite of the depression.

   Is this even possible? Of course it is, I have done it as a sufferer and so has my wife.

   Without going too much into specifics, which one can clearly read in Bob's useful manual, what he says comes from personal experience and years of being a therapist. This is perhaps one of the most resourceful and most helpful books on the market today. Well worth reading; it will help the reader to understand Depression from a recovery perspective and get well on the road to recovery.

   Depression can be turned into a positive and can actually enrich our lives if we just try. It is not easy to acquire the skills and the knowledge necessary to learn to cope well and to recover. But this book will make the effort easier.

   Specific interventions like guided imagery and mindfulness meditation are suggested and explained. All and all this is a valuable manual on how to live well with depression and acquire the right skills and knowledge that will tame the Depression to a point where the person will live well without being affected by symptoms.

Alfredo Zotti is a long term campaigner against the stigma mental health issues subject people to. He contentedly lives with his lifelong bipolar disorder, and is the author of several books.

TA Sullivan

Summary: This is a self-help guide and workbook designed to help the reader overcome depression. The advice and exercises are based on years of providing therapy for his patients, as well as years of following the spiritual practices offered through Buddhism. By following the exercises and advice in this workbook, you can release yourself from the grip of depression, and find contentment.

   Recommendation: Yes

   Review: I can't say that this book works, but only because I'm still working on the exercises supplied in this workbook.

   The advice (while similar to that I have read in articles and books by other therapists) was written in a friendlier, less clinical tone, which makes it much easier to understand. This guide also comes with a set of exercises designed to help you overcome depression in series of steps. For someone who suffers periodic bouts of severe depression, I understand how accomplishing even small steps toward a goal can boost a person's confidence, which makes a person that much more eager to tackle the next step. In addition, the exercises also help the reader develop more positive habits while letting go of the destructive ones.

   Although the author states that using these exercises can help you eliminate the need for medication, I would strongly suggest using a buddy-system while completing these exercises. I say that, because I know how easy it is to fool ourselves into thinking we're getting better when we're not. And having someone to discuss things with, or at least monitor your progress, could be beneficial.

   Having said that, I have been working on the exercises and I do believe I'm seeing some results in regard to my perception of the world. I look forward to seeing even more results as I progress through the exercises outlined in this workbook, From Depression to Contentment.

TA Sullivan was born in the back of a cab and has continued to be unconventional in all that she does. She makes a living as a technical and marketing writer by turning boring into readable. She has written articles for a variety of magazines and small newspapers, contributed short stories to several book anthologies, and has had two table-top books of her photos published. You can read some of her musings and articles at her blog, Tas Through the Looking Glass, or view some of her photos at

   After a near-death experience (NDE), she turned her writing skills toward the esoteric. She has written a book about dreams and dream symbology (On Dreams and Dream Symbols), meditation (Mastering Meditation), as well as a two-book set describing her NDE and her encounters with a group of highly evolved souls (Choices).

Yvonne Rowan

   Are you steeped in depression? Feeling sad, but don't know why? Plunged into a seemingly endless grief? What if you met someone whose greatest joy in life (yes, greatest joy) is to take you gently by the hand and lead you step by step into a lighter place, a life worthy of living? Not a perfect life, of course, filled with eternal joy, but a meaningful one cuddled in contentment -- an attainable one, one you can realistically reach.

   Dr. Bob Rich is a professional psychotherapist who has helped himself as well as numerous clients find their way into better lives. In his lovely little book, From Depression to Contentment, he does not send you off to spend thousands of dollars on therapy and fill your cabinet with miracle pills. Nor does he fill your head with theory and Pollyanna-ish positive thinking dogma, admonishing you to ignore what you know to be real and your feelings about it. Nor does he tell you it's in your genes and there's little you can do about it.

   Instead, he has written a guide book of self-therapy and tells you step by doable step how to fix yourself using tools you already have—and helps you find your own reasons to do it. He speaks from lots of experience and knows that what you're feeling is valid, and the causes are real. With compassion, love, and wisdom, he teaches you how to abolish self-destructive misery while still acknowledging the truth of your reality.

   He did it. I did it. You can do it, too. You'll be glad you did.

Yvonne and I became friends when she contributed a remarkable essay to Cancer: A personal challenge. It is a moving account of her two returns from clinical death. With her permission, I reproduced the essay in From Depression to Contentment because of its hugely healing value. We have continued as siblings of the spirit now for 14 years.

Walter Stoffel

   As a drug and alcohol counselor, From Depression to Contentment proved to be a most timely read for me. Though addiction causes its own set of problems, substance abuse is often driven by an underlying mental health issue. I'm always looking for guidance in helping people and I found it in this book.

   Dr. Rich leaves no stone unturned -- he draws on science, academia, religions of all stripes and personal experience to forge strategies for self-empowerment. Most importantly, the author provides concrete homework for the reader, putting theory into practice As a result, Dr. Rich has constructed a comprehensive plan for improving one's approach to life, whether depressed or not.

   This book is an informative, pro-active jump starter for anyone striving to feel better.

Walter Stoffel B.A., C.A.D.C.

Walter Stoffel is a freelance writer and publisher who specializes in human interest memoir and fiction. Though having previously participated in multiple dog and cat rescues, nothing prepared him for his life with the title character in Lance: A Spirit Unbroken. His follow-up book will be released in early 2019 and is the fictional account of a young boy's struggle to survive his childhood.

Issac Robledo

   Topic line: "Whatever your depression tells you, do the opposite."

   This guide will help anyone who reads it to better understand their depression and to be able to work through it to heal themselves and achieve contentment. Depression is the most common mental health issue, and yet most people seem to know little about how it works or how to manage it. For that reason "From Depression to Contentment" can go a long way toward improving many lives.

   The author, Bob Rich, has a PhD and is a retired psychotherapist with a lifetime of experience in dealing with his own depression and helping clients as well. Whether you prefer to learn from the self-taught expert or the person with official credentials, you have the best of both worlds with this author. He provides many strategies and approaches, along with useful exercises.

   This book performs a great service, as I am sure many people are aware they have depressive issues but may not feel comfortable talking to anyone about it or seeing any professionals, or they may not have the time or income for it. Also, some people may simply prefer to handle things themselves (with a resource like this, of course).

   I especially enjoyed the writing style -- which is concise, direct, and friendly to the point of feeling that Dr. Bob Rich could be a very caring uncle, talking directly to me through his writing. This book was special in that I felt an extreme authenticity that I simply don't feel from most books I read. This feeling of the book is especially useful for a depression guide, because as a reader I felt at ease, as if everything will work out -- he has such a familiar yet expert tone that I can trust it will work out in the end.

   Something that I found especially useful were the case examples of patients he has had that went through depression. This helps the reader to see that he / she is not alone in battling this -- many others have gone through it and survived.

   Please note that I am not suffering from depression and do not regularly suffer from depression. However, I suffered from depression many many years ago and I wish I would have had this book to help me through it. Also, an advanced review copy was provided to me for my honest review of the book.

David Morawetz

   Dr Bob Rich's book is based on good science, and it is enjoyable to read. Many books take a single approach as the solution to all ills, for example Cognitive Behavioural Psychology or CBT. Bob's book starts with CBT, but then offers other approaches. As he writes accurately, "Nothing works for everyone, but something works for everyone." He then goes beyond therapy and covers positive psychology tools that allow you to rise far above "normal." Even more effective is his focus on meaning-of-life questions. He suggests to the reader that life is not about money, or things, or power, or popularity, or even about happiness, but about service.

   This is a well-designed, well-thought-out tool for improving your life.

David is one of my colleagues of old. His specialty was dealing with sleep problems, and his program is very effective. You can find out lots of good things about David in an essay of his I posted at my Mudsmith website years ago.

Don Lubov

   Dr. Rich's book is an outstanding self-therapy guide. He offers multiple solutions to multiple problems, and they are all user-friendly.

   Bob is obviously a writer. On page 49, he tells that "he learns a lot from fictional characters he's invented, who then take on a life of their own." Through these characters, we are shown how to cope and to heal.

   On page 51, Bob clarifies the Buddhist teaching of the Middle way. He understands our human need for unconditional love and acceptance.

   Page 67 is a goldmine of insights into the behavior of others and ourselves.

   Page 70 should be placed on billboards for all to see -- "The person never IS the problem. The person HAS a problem. We all need to see and accept this insight, so that we can stop blaming others on a personal level. As Jesus said: "Hate the sin, but love the sinner."

   I have been writing on and teaching my "Six-Step Path" to inner peace for years. This strategy emphasizes non-judgmental observation, forgiveness of self and others, and acceptance of what is. On page 72, Dr. Rich nails this, perfectly.

   Gandhi would love Bob's message on page 73. It perfectly mirrors Gandhi's "Become the change you wish to see."

   On page 95, Bob states clearly, life's meaning and purpose -- Only two things matter in this life: what we take with us when we die, and what we leave behind in the hearts of others." Obviously, he knows that the best things in life are not things.

   From one "secular Buddhist" to another -- Well done! See Pg. 107.

   Page 109 is pure Zen. "When you can let go of attachment, suffering stops, and you're in nirvana. If you can achieve this as an ongoing state, you are enlightened." Beautiful!

   On page 116, Bob offers up priceless advice -- "…just be the best you that you can be."

   There is no higher calling than to serve others. Dr. Bob Rich has embraced this calling, and so is worthy of the title bodhisattva -- He offers good health in exchange for suffering. Follow his advice and transcend your depression to a life of inner peace.

   I give his new book 5 stars!

Don Lubov has been writing and/or teaching about inner peace since 1971. His "Six-Step Path" has helped thousands. He currently has 6 books available on Kindle and in paperback, from Amazon. He has written for Yahoo Voices,, and 3 YouTube videos -- "The Grassroots Manifesto", "Creativity Manifesto", and "Spirituality Manifesto".

Kevin Richardson

   This is one of the best instructional books I've ever read. I've not only learned much from it, but discovered so much about my own life. "From Depression to Contentment" is not in any way a religious book, but it gave me the same kind of solace many people get from the Bible and its equivalents in other religions. After dealing with relieving depression, which Bob understands because he has suffered the pain himself, he explains concepts such as Hedonic Adaptation. This is that whatever happens around us, people return to their customary level of happiness or misery. He teaches how to improve our resilience, and eventually even explains how to be a therapist through unconditional love, empathy and genuineness.

   The book should be compulsory reading in schools, for students of all ages, up to mine, which is older than most.

   Let me explain how it relates to my life. I went from Australia to Thailand, supposedly for two years, but ended up staying permanently. The lifestyle of the poor farmers exactly illustrates what Bob Rich is talking about in this book. They know they will forever be poor and downtrodden by the extremely rich who work hard to keep things that way. And yet, the farmers stay contented, following the philosophy I find in "From Depression to Contentment:" the principles of Buddhism. They have never learned envy or want, so are simply content with their lot. It's a relief after my life of business.

   I see this book as "How to Enjoy Life Even if You Have Been Depressed." 5 stars indeed.

Kevin Richardson says he is a historian, novelist and world traveller. A retired journalist, he has written several exciting historical adventures set in Australia's past. Every review of every book has been 5 star. I've reviewed a number of his books, and yes, had to assign 5 stars to each. Do look him up.

Ian Ellis-Jones

   Dr Bob Rich earned his doctorate in psychology in 1972 and has worked as an academic, a researcher, an applied scientist, and a counselling psychologist in private practice. He was on the national executive of the College of Counselling Psychologists of the Australian Psychological Society (APS) and subsequently spent three years as a director of the APS. So, when it comes to issues pertaining to mental health, Dr Bob knows what he's talking about. He also speaks from personal experience, for he readily admits that he lived from depression from infancy. The good news is that he has a wide array of tools to offer to those suffering from various forms of depression to help them treat and manage their depression.

   Dr Bob's latest book (he has other published books to his credit as well) is eminently readable, rigorous and, first and foremost, practical. He has much to offer the person who suffering from depression. I, too, suffered from depression for a number of years. Many of the techniques Dr Bob offers in From Depression to Contentment worked for me as well -- things such as making changes in one's diet, the importance of regular exercise, sleep, progressive muscular relaxation, mindfulness meditation, forgiveness, constructive self-talk, guided imagery and social networks. I particularly liked his advice, 'Whatever depression tells you, do the opposite.' That reminds me of the metaphysical 'law of indirectness' -- a principle I often refer to on my blog -- which advises that we should never attempt to put a thought or problem out of our mind directly but rather let the problem slip from the sphere of conscious analysis. Dr Bob takes that principle a little further and advises that we should do the opposite of what our depression is telling us. That makes perfect sense to me. Indeed, that particular gem of wisdom helped me immeasurably in my own recovery from depression.

   Dr Bob stresses the importance of developing resilience and tough-mindedness and shows the reader how to develop those important qualities of mind. The book also contains much helpful and practical advice on how to process trauma and deal with relapse. He also discusses and recommends what is known as Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT), which is a transdiagnostic cognitive behavioural therapy that predominantly teaches clients acceptance and mindfulness skills. It is a form of therapy that has been shown to significantly improve primary outcomes. The author refers with consternation to the medicalisation of depression ('human suffering') and writes for the most part for the person who seeks a drug-free approach to the treatment of depression. However, at the same time he recognises that there is a place for medication with, for example, bipolar disorder. (In my own recovery from clinical depression, I used a multi-faceted treatment paradigm including many of the approaches and techniques recommended by Dr Bob, along with psychotherapy and, for a time at least, antidepressant medication.)

   Dr Bob also refers to the importance of spiritual care. By 'spiritual,' he is not referring to 'religious' in any formal, organisational sense. On the contrary, the word 'spiritual' means non-material or non-physical. The English word 'spirit' comes from the Latin spiritus meaning, among other things, breath, breathing, air, inspiration, character, spirit, life, vigour and courage. Spirituality does not require or depend upon notions of supernaturalism or religion. On the contrary, spirituality is all about the development of a healthy mind, emotions and will. The author refers to his own study and application of the teachings of the Buddha but, again, the emphasis is on the application of a naturalistic approach to life and the problem of suffering. After all, Buddhism, in many of its forms, is not a religion, but a system of mental cultivation. Manly Palmer Hall once wrote, 'In Buddhism we have what is probably the oldest and most perfectly integrated system of what we now call psychology.'

   The spiritual philosopher Alan Watts referred to Buddhism as 'something more nearly resembling psychotherapy' as opposed to its being a religion or philosophy as those terms are understood in the West. In a similar vein, Professor Huston Smith, in his seminal The World's Religions (New York: HarperCollins, 1991), wrote that Buddhism, in its oldest form, is 'uniquely psychological' as opposed to metaphysical.

   My only qualm–a small one at that–regarding Dr Bob's treatment of Buddhism is the inclusion of some 12 pages on the subject of reincarnation. Dr Bob is of the view that acceptance of the supposed reality of reincarnation helps in the attainment of contentment. Perhaps he is right in his position. Reincarnation is certainly an interesting idea; if it's true, it helps to explain a number of life's mysteries and apparent injustices. However, what actually reincarnates? The 'soul'? Some 'reincarnating ego'? One's so-called karma? There's no consensus on that matter, and most Buddhists do not appear to accept the reality of the soul. Anyway, Buddhists speak more in terms of 'rebirth' than reincarnation. Several Buddhist scriptures -- and some quite early ones at that -- describe 'rebirth' as being entirely in the form of a person's influence or, perhaps, their enduring character. The historical Buddha was never one for metaphysical speculation. If asked about the matter of rebirth, I am sure he would have said something like this, 'Does it really matter? The important thing is this present life now? How are you reincarnating today?' Each day, and in every moment of the day, we can be reincarnated into newness of life. I find that idea extremely liberating.

   Enough said. There is nothing in From Depression to Contentment that should offend either the non-religious or, for that matter, the religious. The ideas, teachings and techniques presented are capable of being used to anyone's advantage. The author's advice is based solidly on psychological treatment and experience, both professional and personal.

   We all need healing, for suffering is part of being a human being. Our problems may be physical, emotional or spiritual, or more often than not a combination of those things. Dr Bob's book contains much helpful advice on the phenomenon of healing at whatever level it may be needed. He tells his readers what they need to know, and what they need to do to receive healing. The book also contains a helpful bibliography and an index. The table of contents is well-structured, as is the book itself.

   I feel privileged in commending Dr Bob's book to anyone who is seeking a practical, self-help guide to the healing of depression.

Ian Ellis-Jones, Ph.D. (UTS), lecturer, author, minister, lawyer, spiritual philosopher and mindfulness teacher.

He has done me the honour of having me interview him at Bobbing Around.

Nancy Wagaman

   A delightful and uplifting read for any human being! Essential reading for anyone dealing with depression.

   The time is right for this book. The world is begging for solutions to the challenge of depression becoming so pervasive across all regions and social classes. As the news reports describe depression's advance through our world's population, especially the young, I've often wondered what's behind it -- what underlying dynamics are increasing its occurrence among us? What's great about this book is that rather than getting bogged down with the question of "Why?", Dr. Rich focuses clearly on the question of "What can we do about it, on an individual level?" -- and he's done an outstanding job of answering that question, in full.

   The author comes to this topic very well qualified. He's not only a psychologist who's provided therapy for decades, he explains that he personally lived with depression from a very young age. This definitely piqued my interest, as I wondered how he was able to overcome his own challenges as well as help others do the same.

   This refreshing, practical guide gives hope -- and answers -- beyond the typical diagnosis-and-medication approach. This book is an absolute must-read for anyone dealing with depression. It's a balm for the psyche, the application of which allows for true healing.

   Dr. Rich presents a clear approach that anyone can follow and put into action. He even begins with "Basic First Aid" that anyone can apply immediately to begin making meaningful changes in everyday life. No need to wade deep into the book to start finding actionable answers. But the entire book is filled with such, and it's written in a way that allows readers to adapt the program to themselves and their own lives -- to choose what works for them personally.

   The one thing that stands out about this book most in my mind is how many people Dr. Rich has helped, and how many more this book has the potential to help. But what's most surprising is this book's ability to uplift the reader as he or she reads it: along with its practical steps, this book imparts a clear, radiant sense of inner peace and wellbeing. This book reaches beyond the mind and emotions into the heart and soul, where deep healing can take place.

   I can't fully describe the effect this book has had on me, but some of the words I'd use are: answers, inspiration, hope, upliftment, transformation, healing, and peace. I hope many, many others read this book and experience the potential for self-healing it provides. If you know someone dealing with depression -- or someone who desires greater inner peace -- give them this book!

Nancy Wagaman is a personal-growth innovator whose techniques enable people to tap into deep levels of self for inner transformation and life improvement. Focused on the intersection of science and consciousness, her work springs from her years in R&D, applied intuition, and advanced degrees in applied psychology and communications.

Dipa Sanatani

   Depression can take a crippling toll on the human psyche. In Harry Potter, JK Rowling drew on her experiences with depression to portray Dementors: dark-cloaked beings that drain peace, hope and happiness. As a former junior high school teacher, I've encountered first-hand the effect that depression has on teenagers and those who care for them.

   In Dr Bob Rich's From Depression to Contentment, he reveals how you can beat depression in a very balanced way. Although his experience and background in academia is evident in the skilful way he tackles the topic, the program that he outlines in this book is easy to understand and would offer solace to anyone suffering with depression; as well as anyone who knows someone that suffers from depression. As you read this book, you will find stories about others who've been there and made their way out of the long dark tunnel and into the light. Having been through it himself, the author even offers us his own experiences about how he recovered from depression.

   In addition, Dr Rich draws on philosophies from a variety of world religions to express and ground some of his ideas. I believe this to be incredibly valuable as many people who suffer from depression do turn to their faith to provide answers when they can find them nowhere else. His chapters on Relaxation and Meditation as well as Spiritual Care would be enlightening for those looking for deeper answers within themselves.

   Overall, this book is a relatable and practical guide to healing from those dark-cloaked Dementors that drain peace, hope and happiness.

Dipa Sanatani is the author of The Little Light. She's lived, studied and worked in Singapore, Australia, Israel, Japan and China. With a background in both business and education, Dipa has extensive experience in the public-school system as well as in the private, government and corporate sectors.

Hendrika de Vries

   In all my over thirty years of practicing psychotherapy I have read and recommended many self-help books, but seldom have I found one that speaks to me with the spiritual wisdom of Bob Rich's From DEPRESSION to CONTENTMENT. Here is a book that offers an attitude to life that can change your world-view even if you are not suffering from depression. It is a book not to be read in one sitting, but to be turned to again and again for daily words of wisdom and encouragement.

   Dr. Rich puts our current epidemic of depression in a larger framework that helps the reader understand the nature of suffering and provides incremental small steps, baby steps, to move through the helplessness and overwhelm. He generously shares his personal experiences but also reminds us of the deep wisdom found in such timeless works as Viktor Frankl's Man's Search for Meaning and Mihály Csikszentmihályi's Flow. He even includes a chapter on reincarnation and past lives that I found especially fascinating.

   It's like being given a spiritual tool kit. I have a daughter who is a sculptor. When she was a little girl, my father, a craftsman, taught her to use tools. Upon his death, the only thing she desired was his old tool kit. It had everything in it she needed, she said, because his love was in the tools he taught her to use. This book reminds me of that. Not just a self-help book, but a tool kit filled with the timeless wisdom available to us whether we need guidance to move through depression or just a refresher course in the meaning of life.

Hendrika de Vries, Author of When a Toy Dog Became a Wolf and the Moon Broke Curfew... a memoir.

Kamal Gabry

Empowering tools by an expert professional who lives by the Tao Te Ching!

   Man, I love this Book. It is so rich and enriching! First, it is written by a name I heard about since I was a fellow at NIMH in the late 1990s. The Book covers all the essentials, not only to overcome depression, but also to prevent and heal most versions of mental suffering.

   It is holistic, practical and engaging. I personally feel attuned with many quotes from the Book because I wrote similar ones. "Depression is a way of seeing the world, not a disease!"; "Whatever depression tells you, do the opposite!"; "We are here in order to learn Lessons, life after life, progressing toward perfection."

   His description of body awareness is effective and to the point. I loved most his letters to patients crying in suffering. They are written by a saint who lives by the Tao Te Ching! Overall, this Book provides many self-enlightening tools to enable our sisters and brothers suffering from this so-called depression heal from within. I will certainly recommend it to my patients and loved ones. Thanks beloved Bob.

Kamal Gabry, MD is a physician with immense experience and multiple specialities. He is the author of a remarkable book, Heaven on Earth: Science meets sprituality.

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