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Autonomy and depression

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Reactive depressions are seen to evolve from a multiplicity of causal factors. One frequently observed theme among persons who manifest clinical depression is their seeming inability to behave autonomously, to assert themselves. Such difficulty results in a sense of oppression, a gradual loss of self-esteem, and other symptomology which is descriptive of the depressive syndrome. Erikson's scheme of the conflict in early life-autonomy versus doubt and shame-provides a meaningful context against which the depressive behavior and symptomology can be viewed and understood. These theoretical considerations point the way to a definite therapeutic task. The therapist assists in the successful negotiation of the autonomy versus doubt and shame conflict.

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Miya, K.K. Autonomy and depression. Clin Soc Work J 4, 260–268 (1976).

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