A Must read on Depression

In December 2017 Dr. M. Yapko, a renowned psychologist and expert on depression and anxiety, shared the latest research on depression and its treatments during the international conference of psychotherapy in the USA.


 He raises legitimate concerns about the traditional treatment of depression with anti-depressants:

 Concern #1: The One-Dimensional Nature of a Purely Biological Perspective on Depression.

‘What about all the other factors that contribute to depression?’ Dr. M. Yapko questions. It is very convenient for the pharmaceutical companies to impose the idea that depression is ‘a chemical imbalance in your brain which can be restored only by anti-depressants’. Of course, it is very financially rewarding for the pharmaceutical companies to have as many people as possible on anti-depressants and keep them on medication for as long as possible, but that doesn’t address all the social, perceptual, cognitive factors that contribute to depression.


‘Concern #2: The Passive Definition of the Client’s Role in the treatment which involves only anti-depressants.  The unfortunate messages that a client gets is: ‘You don’t have to change your life, you don’t have to learn any new skills, you just have to take your medication on time.’ The reality is that the client has to be an active participant in the treatment: he or she needs to learn the skills that will help them deal with life problems effectively, get over depression and prevent depression episodes in the future.


Concern #3: Economic Corruption and Undue Influence Researchers, Journal Editors and Clinicians are not Greed-Free. A lot of so called researchers are paid handsomely to advocate for the benefits of anti-depressants. A lot of clinicians have an invested financial interest in prescribing people anti-depressants and keeping them on medication  for years.


Concern #4Pseudo- scientific False Advertising. The “shortage of serotonin” is a heavily touted hypothesis with little empirical basis and considerable contradictory evidence.


Concern #5: Conflicting Data About Drug Safety that Confuses Almost Everyone.

Be afraid… Be very afraid. But, there’s really nothing to be afraid of… (we hope). In other words, the side effects can be detrimental in many ways and yet we are told  that ‘there is nothing to be afraid of’.


Concern #6: Drugs are OVERprescribed.


Concern #7: Side –effects Can be More Than Just an Irritant. Side-effects can reduce or prevent participation in treatment, complicate symptoms and serve to reinforce depression!


Concern #8: The Arguable Therapeutic Efficacy of Anti-depressants. This issue alone makes all the other concerns secondary.

Patient expectations largely dictate anti-depressant response!  In a study published in the British Journal of Psychiatry (September 11, 2015) , researchers reported that “people’s expectations about how effective their anti-depressant medication is going to be almost entirely predicts their response to it. Giving patients a placebo pill as active therapy during an 8 week period results in very similar reductions in symptoms…Investigators at UCLA led by Afndrew Leuchter, MD, found that patients assigned to either active anti-depressant therapy or placebo pills had little difference between outcomes!!!  See Medscape, September 15, 2015 for details of the research.

Suggesting a drug will cure depression misses the inescapable point…Depression is more a social than medical problem.

How often are other people at the heart of one’s depression? Rejection, loss, betrayal, humiliation, abuse, and abandonment are all common points of depression’ s origin- and they are all social phenomena.

And, how often is it our misperceptions about others that lie at the base of depression? Seeing rejection where there was none? Feeling left out despite invitations to join? Missing social cues and misinterpreting others’ motives?


No Amount of Medication or Purely Biological Treatment Alone Can Teach a Client:

  • More effective coping skills
  • More realistic explanatory styles
  • Healthier relationship styles
  • More flexible and discriminative cognitive skills
  • Sophisticated problem-solving skills
  • More effective decision-making strategies
  • How to build and maintain a support network
  • How to transcend an adverse personal history
  • How to build a realistic and motivating future


Why are children and adolescents the fastest growing age group of depression sufferers? There are many reasons…some are intrapersonal, others are interpersonal.

Consider the effects of technology on relationships, sleep, a felt connection to nature, values, etc.

 Parents’ Depression Can Intensify Their Children’s Depression

  • Formerly depressed adolescents with depressed parents tend to experience severe depression as adults more often than those with non-depressed parents
  • Depressed male teenagers with depressed fathers are seven times more likely to attempt suicide as young adults than depressed male teens with unaffected fathers (Rohde et al., J of Abnormal Psychology, 2005,114(3)


A World Health Organization (WHO) Declaration and Prediction.

A dozen years ago, WHO declared depression the FOURTH most significant cause of suffering and disability worldwide (behind heart disease, cancer and traffic accidents); WHO predicted that depression would become the SECOND most debilitating human condition by the year 2020 Sadly, we reached that mark late last year (2013).

If you are depressed, the most effective approach to help you get over depression is a combination of psychotherapy and clinical hypnosis. Dr. M. Yapko teaches clinicians internationally to apply clinical hypnosis to enhance and speed up the process of effective recovery.


At Light Your Star we use the psychotherapy and clinical hypnosis approach that Dr. M. Yapko teaches clinicians around the world and we can help you overcome depression without any medication naturally and effectively.

We offer a free 45 min initial consultation to discuss your challenges and to design an individual treatment program that would be the most effective for you. Call the nationally accredited hypnotherapist/psychotherapist/life coach Sviatlana Starr from Light Your Star now on 0414 737 965 to arrange for your free consultation. 


Dr. M. Yapko’s notes that he was handing out at the conference are still available on:


You can also read these scientific articles that attack Anti-depressant medication, so that you can educate yourself about how Pharmaceutical companies created a ‘myth of the chemical cure’ and how they contribute to the mental illness:


  • The Emperors New Drugs: Exploding the Antidepressant

Myth by Irving Kirsch, Ph.D.

  • Anatomy of an Epidemic: Magic Bullets, Psychiatric Drugs,

and the Astonishing Rise of Mental Illness in America by

Robert Whitaker

  • Let Them Eat Prozac: The Unhealthy Relationship Between

the Pharmaceutical Companies and Depression by David


  • Mad in America: Bad Science, Bad Medicine, and the

Enduring Mistreatment of the Mentally Ill by Robert Whitaker

  • Manufacturing Depression: The Secret History of a

Modern Disease by Gary Greenberg

  • Comfortably Numb: How Psychiatry Is Medicating a

Nation by Charles Barber

  • The Myth of the Chemical Cure: A Critique of

Psychiatric Drug Treatment by Joanna Moncrieff, M.D.

  • Sex, Lies, and Pharmaceuticals: How Drug Companies

are Bankrolling the Next Big Condition for Women by

Ray Moynihan

  • Pharmageddon by David Healy
  • Crazy Like Us: The Globalisation of the

American Psyche by Ethan Watters

  • Inside the Battle to Define Mental Illness by

Gary Greenberg in Wired magazine. Online:


  • Skills, Not Pills by Michael Yapko. Online:




Lack of sleep increases the risk of obesity and depression

Lack of sleep increases the risk of obesity and depression

We all know that sleep plays a vital role in good health and well-being throughout our lives. However, it might be even more important than you realized.

Persistent lack of sleep can lead to depression within 1 year.

Research shows that ‘of the many potential difficulties likely to be associated with depression, the single most common symptom, affecting more than 65% of outpatients and 90% of inpatients diagnosed with major depression, is some type of SLEEP DISTURBANCE’ (McCall, Reboussin & Cohen, 2000).

‘Insomnia is the most common sleep disorder related to depression’ (Roth & Roehrs, 2003).

‘In a prospective study of non-depressed subjects from the general population, complaints of persistent sleep disturbances were risk factors for the onset of depression within one year’ (Thase, 2000), because sleep affects your physical, mental and psychological health. Sleep helps you pay attention, make decisions, feel energetic, alert, have positive emotions and function properly.

If you’re sleep deficient, you will have trouble making decisions, solving problems, learning, remembering, controlling your emotions and behaviour, and coping with change. People who are sleep deficient may have problems getting along with others. They may feel cranky and impulsive, have mood swings, feel low and lack motivation.

Sleep deficiency increase the risk of obesity.

A growing body of research suggests that there’s a link between how much people sleep and how much they weigh. In general, children and adults who get too little sleep tend to weigh more than those who get enough sleep.

For example, in the Nurses’ Health Study, researchers followed roughly 60,000 women for 16 years, asking them about their weight, sleep habits, diet, and other aspects of their lifestyle.  At the start of the study, all of the women were healthy, and none were obese; 16 years later, women who slept 5 hours or less per night had a 15 percent higher risk of becoming obese, compared to women who slept 7 hours per night. Short sleepers also had 30 percent higher risk of gaining 30 pounds over the course of the study, compared to women who got 7 hours of sleep per night.

There are several reasons for why sleep deprivation could increase the chances of becoming obese:

  1. Sleep-deprived people may be too tired to exercise, decreasing the “calories burned” side of the weight-change equation.
  2. People who don’t get enough sleep may take in more calories than those who do, simply because sleep deficiency makes them lack energy, so they wrongly try to fix that by getting energy from extra food.
  3. Lack of sleep also disrupts the balance of key hormones that control appetite and send us ‘a fullness signal’. If we don’t get enough sleep, then we are more likely to overeat, as we won’t get ‘a fullness signal’ once we had enough to eat.


Sleep is also involved in healing and repair of your heart and blood vessels. Ongoing sleep deficiency is linked to an increased risk of heart disease, kidney disease, high blood pressure, diabetes, and stroke

To conclude, make getting enough sleep your priority at night. Adults need on average 7-8 hrs of sleep at night, teenagers: 9hrs.

If you suffer from insomnia (difficulty in initiating and or maintaining sleep), then it is recommended that you to seek help.

At Light Your Star we’ve been helping people successfully overcome insomnia, obesity and depression since 2006, without any medication, through the powerful combination of psychotherapy, clinical hypnosis and life coaching techniques. At the moment you can get your initial 45 min session for FREE on www.lightyourstar.com.au


Are you focusing on LOSING weight? Then you have a problem.


It is a common phrase ‘’I want to lose weight’’, but do you really believe that deep down you want to lose something? No, we don’t like to lose! So to start with, change your goal to make it sound positive. For example: “I want to be slim and healthy ’’ or ‘’I want to feel lighter and more energetic’’. Yes, it is important what you say to yourself, as your inner talk influences your emotions and behaviour; and vice versa.

A lot has been written about healthy food choices and the value of physical exercise in order to become slim and healthy. A lot of people who are seriously overweight are well informed about what they should avoid eating, how often they should eat, how often they need to exercise and yet they remain overweight. Why?  Because they can’t bridge the gap between knowing what is right for them and actually doing it in a sustainable way.

There are lots of ways people can psychologically sabotage themselves. In this article let’s explore your strategy of how you decide what you put into your mouth.

First of all, let’s agree that denying yourself particular food options doesn’t work in a long run. In fact, you probably noticed, that as soon as you say to yourself something like ‘’I should not have this’’ or ‘’I am not allowed this’’, then you feel almost obsessed about this particular food option. Have you ever experienced it? So, let’s agree that you are free to choose what to eat and what not to eat at any meal. You exercise your power of choice every day when you make a decision about what food options to say ‘’NO’’ to in order to make space for the food options you say ‘’Yes’’ to. Whether you are consciously aware of it or not, you have a strategy about how you make your choice. If your strategy is working well for you and you are satisfied with the results-keep doing what you are doing.

If you are not happy with the outcome of your food choices, then you need to adopt a different strategy of choosing. Become aware of your strategy by asking yourself: ‘’How do I decide which food options I am going to choose to eat?’’
Thus you become aware of the criteria you are using to make your decision. You might realize that you have several different sets of criteria you apply to make your decision: for example, one at work, one at home, one when you go out, one when you are on holidays, etc. It could be that one set of criteria you apply works for you well when you are at work, for example, but the one you use when you go out doesn’t work for you at all.

Consider the set of criteria you are using which is not helping you with what you are trying to accomplish: to be slim in a healthy and sustainable way.  More likely, it is because the criteria you are using take care of your needs at that point in time only. People who consistently enjoy their meals AND being slim at the same time regularly include into their decision making one important criteria which I’ll phrase here as a question: ‘’what will be good for me now AND also in a long run?’’ In other words, they know that they are free to choose, just like you are, but they also remember that every choice has consequences. So they choose those food options which they can enjoy not only while they are in the mouth, but also long after they have been digested by the body.

And if somebody offers you something to eat, how do you know when to say ‘’Yes, please’’ and when to say ‘’No, thanks’’? The effective strategy that people use in such a case is very simple: step 1: ask yourself if you are actually physically hungry. If not-then say ‘’No, thank you’’. If yes, then step 2: ask yourself if the offered food is going to be good for you now AND also in a long run.

I wonder what changes you will start noticing in your food choices and your well being  when you start regularly asking yourself as part of your decision making: ’What will be good for me now AND also in a long run?’’ You can share with me your self-observations by sending emails to Sviatlana@lightyourstar.com.au.

If you find that you keep sabotaging your conscious efforts to make desirable changes for yourself, then book for your FREE first consultation at www.lightyourstar.com.au to find out how hypnotherapy can help you eliminate self-sabotage and achieve your goals.

What you need to know to overcome anxiety


What is anxiety? Anxiety is a natural response to what you perceive as a threat. When you perceive something as dangerous, your body prepares you for a flight or fight response to ensure your survival. We all feel anxious sometimes. It is absolutely normal to feel anxious when there is an obvious threat to you, like when, for example, somebody is pointing a gun at your head-it is a real threat. The problem is when there is no real danger, but you imagine negative scary thoughts and scary images and respond to them as if they were real. This way you make yourself anxious, when there is no real threat out there. As mentioned earlier, anxiety is a response to what you perceive as a threat to you. The good news is that you can change your perception of things. (more…)

Do you suffer from a phobia? Find out why and how you can overcome it.

Do you suffer from an overwhelming fear of flying, of heights or being in an enclosed space?
Do you think that your fear is exaggerated and yet you are unable to control it?


depressionIf yes, you are not alone! There are thousands of people who experience some kind of a phobia.
A phobia is developed when you get really scared of something and your subconscious mind makes a decision after that one off experience: “It is dangerous, so I should avoid it by any means”.
Interestingly, you don’t even have to live through a frightful experience yourself, as sometimes witnessing someone else going through an experience which you perceive as “dangerous” or hearing about it is enough to develop a phobia. (more…)

What you need to know to quit smoking

smokingMany people believe that nicotine dependency is the main reason why they can’t give up smoking.

In reality there are 4 main reasons that keep people smoke:

1. Physiological (nicotine dependency)

2. Psychological (eg: dealing with stress, boredom and other emotions)

3. Behavioral (habitual patterns of smoking, for example: when in the car, when drinking coffee, etc)

4. Social (living or working with smokers)

 Let’s look into them in more detail.