Cover image for Wu wei, negativity, and depression : the principle of non-trying in the practice of pastoral care
Wu wei, negativity, and depression : the principle of non-trying in the practice of pastoral care
Sorajjakool, Siroj.
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
New York : Haworth Pastoral Press, [2001]

Physical Description:
xiv, 184 pages : illustrations ; 22 cm

Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
BV4461 .S67 2001 Adult Non-Fiction Central Closed Stacks

On Order



Discover a pastoral approach to depression that combines Eastern wisdom and Western science!

Wu Wei, Negativity, and Depression reveals a way to break the cycle of depression, not by denying it or fighting it, but by the ancient principle of wu wei, non-trying. The bleak cycle of depression starts when people experience negativity. They turn inward to try to find self-esteem, but the negativity strips all the power of self-affirmation from them. The gap between is and ought--how they see themselves and how they want to be--is too great to bridge. The cycle known as self-regulatory perseveration means that depressed persons are caught in a desperate, fruitless search for affirmation. Instead of self-esteem, they find self-criticism and further negative thoughts. Yet they keep looking . . . and looking . . . and looking. The more they look for self-worth inside, the less they find, and the harder they try--the cycle continues. When trying simply doesn't work, wu wei, the principle of letting go, may help break that cycle.

When trying simply doesn't work, wu wei, not-trying, may help. Wu wei is the principle of letting go. By giving up on the self-imposed and unattainable oughts and shoulds, the depressed person stops focusing on self. Wu wei breaks the cycle of negativity, allowing the depressed person to begin to heal.

Wu Wei, Negativity, and Depression offers a comprehensive discussion of depression, including: epidemiology of depression etiology and biological causes psychosocial theories standard treatments of the past and present pastoral care of depressed persons This important book constructs a possible approach to depressed souls weary of fighting and trying to fix themselves. Wu Wei, Negativity, and Depression can bring new hope to those who most need it.

Author Notes

Siroj Sorajjakool, PhD, is Associate Professor of Religion (Pastoral Psychology) at Loma Linda University in California

Table of Contents

Ann Belford Ulanov
Forewordp. xi
Prefacep. xiii
Introductionp. 1
Problem of Negativityp. 3
Argumentsp. 4
Limitationsp. 6
Contribution to Pastoral Carep. 7
Organization of the Bookp. 7
Chapter 1. Overview of the Problem of Depressionp. 11
Narrativesp. 11
The Meaning of Depressionp. 14
Epidemiologyp. 17
History of the Studies of Depressionp. 21
Chapter 2. Psychosocial and Biological Theories of Depressionp. 23
Life Events and Stressorsp. 23
Stressors and Interpretationp. 26
Synapses and CNS Neurotransmittersp. 28
Sleep Patterns and Depressionp. 31
Brain Imaging and Depressionp. 32
Psychotropic Medicationsp. 33
Chapter 3. Overview of Methods of Pastoral Intervention and Wu Weip. 37
History of Pastoral Care Approaches to Melancholyp. 37
Current Pastoral Care Approaches to Depressionp. 40
Feminist Pastoral Carep. 44
Chapter 4. Negativity and Tryingp. 49
Self-Regulatory Perseveration Theoryp. 49
Depression and Negativityp. 51
Negativity and Self-Evaluationp. 55
Self-Evaluation and Self-Regulationp. 60
Chapter 5. Self-Regulatory Perseveration and the Downward Spiralp. 65
Defining Self-Regulatory Perseverationp. 65
Terror Management Theory: The Motive for Perseverationp. 66
The Downward Spiralp. 68
Analysisp. 72
Chapter 6. Wu Weip. 75
Lao Tzu and Chuang Tzup. 76
Taoist Philosophyp. 77
The Concept of Wu Weip. 79
Chapter 7. Wu Wei, Trying, and Non-Tryingp. 87
The Two Selvesp. 87
The Prereductive Selfp. 88
The Reductive Selfp. 91
The Postreductive Selfp. 94
Emptinessp. 96
Chapter 8. Wu Wei and the Sustaining Ministry of Pastoral Carep. 99
Sustaining Ministryp. 99
Wu Wei and the Cycle of Depressionp. 100
Wu Wei and the Care of the Soulp. 110
Chapter 9. Wu Wei and the Practice of Pastoral Carep. 113
Addressing the Contextp. 114
Walking with Depressed Individualsp. 115
Encouraging Trustp. 118
Expanding the Meaning of Normativep. 119
One-to-Onep. 120
Chapter 10. Wu Wei and the Theology of Pastoral Carep. 127
Nonbeingp. 128
Nonbeing and Pastoral Theologyp. 132
Questions on Moral Implicationsp. 138
Summary: Wu Wei, Depression, and Pastoral Carep. 139
Notesp. 141
Bibliographyp. 167
Indexp. 179