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Functional theories of depression: An integrated model

14 December 2001


This thesis reviews the literature of Jungian and ecopsychological theories on depression in order suggest that depressive symptoms serve a function or hold meaning for the person who is experiencing them. Depression is seen as facilitating greater connection with self and others as well as offering useful feedback. Jungian theories of depression are considered first, with viewpoints from theorists such as Carl Gustav Jung, Thomas Moore, Warren Steinberg, David Rosen, and Seth Robbins. Next, ecopsychological theories that focus on the function of depression will be covered. Aspects such as environmental influences, consumerism, research on community connection, and grief are presented from an ecopsychological perspective. Finally, an extension of theory is proposed. This theory is developed by formulating a comprehensive integrated model that conceptualizes the function of depression as encompassing aspects from both Jungian and ecopsychological perspectives. Designs for empirical studies to test this integrated theory are also presented.


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