About Depression and this Website

Richard O'Connor, PhD“I want this website to be a place where people can find the tools they need to help them live better. In my work I see far too many people who suffer needlessly because they either don’t recognize their own problems or because they’ve come to believe that their loneliness or pain is normal. We’ve tried to structure this site from the bottom up, so to speak, in order that people will recognize in our topics the problems they’re dealing with, find some help on those issues, and some guidance on getting further help.

We want to make this a truly interactive site. We don’t pretend to have all the answers. If you find something that works for you, please let us know about it. Give us feedback. Suggest articles and tools, and we will add them to the site.”

Controversies in Mental Health Treatment

Richard O’Connor, PhD will discuss the new completely revised and updated edition of Undoing Depression: What Therapy Doesn’t Teach You and Medication Can’t Give You in a Zoom Book Talk with the Hotchkiss Library of Sharon at 7 pm on Wednesday, November 17.

Psychotherapist Richard O’Connor, PhD, author of the newly revised and updated Undoing Depression, will discuss recent developments and controversies in mental health treatment.  He’ll discuss the limitations of both therapy and medication. “When people do recover from depression it takes a continual act of will, a self-discipline usually only achievable with the help of a mental health professional – or by following the program in this book.” 

O’Connor will discuss the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on mental health and will offer concrete holistic suggestions, as we head into a second holiday season overshadowed by the uncertainty of the ongoing public health emergency. 

He will highlight the changes he has experienced in the treatment of mental health issues in the twenty years since the first edition of Undoing Depression was published.   For fourteen years O’Connor was the executive director of the northwest Center for Family Service and Mental Health.  He maintains a psychotherapy practice in Sharon.  His book is available for purchase at local bookstores and online. 

This virtual program is free and requires registration on the Library’s website, www.hotchkisslibraryofsharon.org.  For additional information please call 860-364-5041.

About Dr. O’Connor and his books

“When I was 15, I came home to find that my mother had committed suicide. Until two years before, she had seemed happy, confident and outgoing. When I look back at the course of my own life, I realize now how much it has been shaped by my need to understand what happened to her. I told myself I was tough and smart, and that her illness need not affect me. But when I left home I had no direction except away; and in my 20s and then again in my 40s I suffered through powerful depressions myself.

“I believe now that depression can never be fully grasped by mental health professionals who have not experienced it. Though I can’t claim to know everything about depression, I have a unique and powerful perspective: as a suicide survivor, as a sufferer myself, as a patient, and as a therapist. I know that people who are depressed work very hard at living, but much of their effort is fruitless, a waste of energy. It is as if they are in over their heads and don’t know how to swim; the harder they work, the worse things get.”

Richard O’Connor is the author of five books, Undoing Depression: What Therapy Doesn’t Teach You and Medication Can’t Give You, Active Treatment of Depression, Undoing Perpetual Stress, and Happy at Last. His fifth book, Rewire: Change Your Brain to Break Bad Habits, Overcome Addictions, Conquer Self-Destructive Behavior, is a manual for gaining control of self-destructive behavior, published in 2014. Dr. O’Connor worked for many years as executive director of the Northwest Center for Family Service and Mental Health, a private, nonprofit mental health clinic serving Litchfield County, Connecticut, overseeing the work of twenty mental health professionals in treating almost a thousand patients per year. He is a practicing psychotherapist, with an office in Sharon, Connecticut, and is available via on-line video conferencing.

“I was moved to write Undoing Depression out of some frustration with my career. I’ve always believed that we know a lot about how to prevent the suffering that conditions like depression cause, but for 20 years in mental health I — and everyone else — have been kept busy trying to help mend people who are broken already; there’s no time for prevention.

“My latest book Rewire, also comes from empathy with my patients. I see so many people who know exactly what they should do to overcome their problems, but they just can’t do it. There are proven ways to overcome that resistance, which I’ve laid out for the reader.”

A graduate of Trinity College in Hartford, O’Connor received his MSW and Ph.D. from the University of Chicago, followed by postgraduate work at the Institute for Psychoanalysis and the Family Institute. He has worked in a wide variety of settings, from inner-city clinics to wealthy suburbs.

Dr. O’Connor and his family live in Lakeville, Connecticut. He speaks to consumer and professional groups on various mental health issues and is available for personal and telephone consultation. For scheduling information, call (860) 364-9300.

Dr. O’Connor maintains an office in Sharon, Connecticut.  Call 860 364-9300 or 917 455-7220 or email rchrdoconnor@gmail.com to arrange an initial consultation.


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