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We generally don't know why we believe what we believe. We tend to make assumptions and live our lives according to prevailing theories of our time. Six centuries ago most people thought the world was flat, because that's what the "experts" said. Because most of our ideas generally come to us by way of such "experts," we believe them to be true whether they are or not. Now experts tell us that anti-depressants are no better than placeboes to treat depression. Should we believe this new information? Unfortunately, it's a lot harder to get rid of wrong ideas than it is to learn something new. That's because, in hanging on to one idea, we block ourselves from even considering better ones. The mind says, "I know all about this so ignore further information." But ignoring new information means we can't learn what we think we already know. Most of our wrong ideas don't do us too much harm. Often, they are just amusing to others who know better. For instance, how many times have you heard someone say about music that it "soothes the savage beast?" In fact, the correct quote is, "Music hath charms to soothe the savage BREAST," meaning that music is calming and restful to people who are anxious and troubled. How about the observation that "the medium is the message?" This concerns the extraordinary power of the media to influence our thinking beneath our awareness due to the special effects that confuse the process with the content. The quote refers to the 1967 book by Marshall McLuhan. In reality, the original title of that book was "The Medium Is the MASSAGE." A copy of that book is sitting right here on my desk. I'm looking at it. Even often gets it wrong. Everyone knows the Robert Frost quote "good fences make good neighbors." Most people take it to mean he was a staunch supporter of boundaries. But in the poem, the "fences" line was his neighbor's statement, not Frost's. And Frost immediately, in the same poem, criticized his neighbors observation that good fences make good neighbors by writing the line "Something there is that does not love a wall, that wants it DOWN." He was admonishing his neighbor's statement. This is the exact opposite of the common interpretation, and indeed was Frost's own more libertarian belief that there should be FEWER fences. Once we are wised up to our mistaken beliefs in a logical way, we forget our earlier misconceptions. The trouble is that we aren't LOOKING to correct our misconceptions, since we never know what they are. Even self-help books, with the latest medical information about diets, advances in neuroscience, or alternative treatments for depression that don't include medication, although important, are often shrugged off by those who "know it already." Too many people, for instance, are convinced that there's nothing they can do for themselves to alleviate their own terrible pain of depression. Yet there is new hope for depression in using the

idea of neuroplasticity and brainswitching. Neuroplasticity is the brain's ability to re-wire itself as a result of changing one's thinking and behavior and brainswitching is a cognitive behavioral technique that specifically applies the idea of neuroplasticity to depression. Given the cover story in Newsweek this year about anti-depressants being no more effective than placeboes, many beliefs about depression are coming under fire. But it takes a while for new beliefs to be updated. Neuroplasticity and Brainswitching for depression instead of anti-depressants will catch on slowly thatn the idea of medication because doing techniques are more difficult than taking a pill. You have to actually understand a little bit about how the mind works in order to work with it according to its nature. You have to actually do the brainswitching exercises, simple though they are. We no longer believe that the world is flat. In an airplane we can circumnavigate the globe we now know as earth. As the commercial used to say "We are now free to move about the country." Advances in neuroscience, brainswitching and brain mapping are no less freeing for people suffering with depression. You can learn to "brainswitch" neural activity from the feeling part of your brain to the cognitive part of your brain. You can short circuit the pain of depression by disconnecting the message that you are depressed from one part of the brain to the other. You can side-step the depression going on in the emotional part of the brain (the subcortex) by taking temporary refuge in the thinking part of the brain (the neocortex) which never contains depression. Now there's a MASSAGE for you! A.B.Curtiss is a board-certified cognitive behavioral therapist. She is the author of Depression is a Choice and Brainswitch out of Depression.

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Are Your Beliefs About Depression Still True