This book is the result of an unusually cooperative ef ort. The order of authors is alphabetical; we are both fully and equally responsible for the intellectual content throughout the book, which has resulted from a tireless and stimulating mutual process of feedback, incremental improvement, and debate at every stage. Our coauthorship, nevertheless, occurred serendipitously. We were each independently planning books about depression, with essentially the same overall message. When we discovered this in discussion one day, we decided to join forces. However, the ways by which we each came to our original ideas of writing such a book were quite different.
Jerome Wakefield, having written extensively about the concept of mental disorder, was scheduled to publish an invited journal article critiquing psychologist Neil Jacobson+U0027s behaviorist attack on the medical model of depression. The theme of the article was that neither those who believe in the [disorder] approach to depression expressed in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM) nor those, like Jacobson, who deny that depression is a medical disorder are correct. Instead, they are talking past each other about different kinds of cases. Wakefield intended to argue that instead of trying to decide between these rival views, psychiatry should instead be drawing a distinction between the genuinely disordered and those with normal responses to misfortune whom the DSM has misclassified.
Following Jacobson+U0027s untimely death, the journal decided not to proceed with the article given that he would be unable to reply to it. Meanwhile, Wakefield realized that the topic was far broader than first conceived and that a balanced consideration of both the disordered and nondisordered forms of depression and sadness called for book-length treatment. The issue itself seemed urgent because, if mental health professionals were talking past each other about it rather than recognizing its complexity, then they would inevitably be talking past some of their patients, as well. We hope that this book will indeed encourage these