The reason why psychologists like CBT so much is because it can be scientifically measured. This does not mean that it is the best treatment on the market for depression, but it does mean that it is the most empirically tested.
Dr. Mahoney was a psychotherapist with heart and he created what is little known as psychological constructivism. All this meant was he developed trust relationships with his patients by building frameworks of wellness from working with who they were as opposed to who he thought they should or should not be.
Unfortunately, Michael committed suicide in 2006. After years of helping others he found he wasn't able to help himself. Chronic depression does that to people. Never under-estimate it's biological power to take you down. This is why it is so important to learn about mental health treatments while you're still healthy. They can be really good at preventing chronic depression even when you are suffering from mild, intermediate or major mood disorders.
The following is taken directly from Michael's best work Human Change Processes:
Adam Changed His Attention And Found His Life
Adam was in psychotherapy. Adam's sense of identity had become attached to his always having a problem (he shuddered at the thought of "not having a problem to organise my life around"), at the same time he repeatedly complained about always feeling “ in crisis “ and at the “ bad end “ of the spectrum.
In one session Adam remarked that other people’s lives seemed to at least show movement and that his co-workers seemed to have “ swings” of “good moods” as well as bad:
“It’s like there is a pendulum that swings from good to bad, and somehow my pendulum is always on the bad side.”
When his psycho-therapist remarked that cycles and movements are part of being alive, Adam was not consoled. Commenting on what he wanted from his therapist, he half jokingly asked,
“Mike, couldn’t you do something to get me over on the good side and then ‘nail’ me there?”
Struck by the multiple possibilities in that metaphor, Mike gave Adam the homework assignment of spending several minutes each day watching the pendulum clock that hung in Adam's office.
Several months later, Adam left an insightful message on Mike’s phone answering machine:
This is just an inspiration. For weeks now I have sat in the chair across from the clock and tried to figure out how I could stay on the good side without stopping the movement. It reminded me of something Ram Dass once said about people who used drugs: they don’t want to “get high” they want to “be high”.
Today, as I got up to return to work I walked past the clock and shot it an angry glance. It still had me puzzled. Then I suddenly realised that my attention had always been focused on the bottom of the damn thing – the big chrome circle that moves through the full arc. I stopped in my tracks, took a step backward and peered through the glass. There, at the top of the pendulum, was something I had never before noticed, even though it was obvious. The damn thing pivots on a well – oiled joint. When I put my face against the glass and looked down the thing, I realised something. I can’t keep my moods from moving, but if I move my attention up higher on the shaft I don’t have to be swinging at either extreme (chuckle, chuckle). Now don’t go getting Freudian on me, but I also thought that I might try sliding down every once in a while on the “good” side and enjoying myself and then scrambling back up to the top when it swings toward the “bad”. Mull that over my dear shrink.
When Adam’s life began to “get better”. No one was more surprised than he. Even though his life situation was hectic and stressful, he was bothered by the fact that he was coping remarkably well. After a session in which Mike had suggested that his malaise over doing so well was itself understandable and healthy, he had a powerful experience while walking down the hallway to his apartment.
“ I had lived there for six years,” he said to Mike later “ and I knew that hallway blind; but that night… well, it was as if it were all new to me and it felt as if, for the first time, I was a real person walking down it. It seemed unusually bright and I noticed colours in the carpet and details in the wallpaper that I had never seen before. There were also sounds and smells I had never noticed before. It was all so strange and unsettling… what was so very similar to me was suddenly very different. I felt frightened and excited at the same time. I remember turning the key in my door and fully expecting to find a whole different world inside.”
Michael J. Mahoney. 1991. Human Change Processes: The Personal Experience of Change. p. 336-337. USA: Basic Books Inc.