Northridge Book Review: Depression, A Stubborn Darkness

Depression, A Stubborn Darkness by Edward T. Welch (275 pages)

Edward T. Welch, M.Div., Ph.D. is a counselor and faculty member at CCEF. He earned a Ph.D. in counseling (neuropsychology) from the University of Utah and has a Master of Divinity degree from Biblical Theological Seminary. Ed has been counseling for over thirty years and has written many books and articles on biblical counseling, including When People Are Big and God Is Small; Addictions: A Banquet in the Grave; Blame It on the Brain?; Depression; Running Scared;Shame Interrupted; Side by Side: Walking with Others in Wisdom and Love; and A Small Book about a Big Problem: Meditations on Anger, Patience, and Peace. He and his wife, Sheri, have two married daughters and eight grandchildren. In his spare time, Ed enjoys spending time with his wife and extended family and playing his guitar


“This book gives real hope for those who struggle with depression, and for the people who love them.  Dr. Ed Welch writes compassionately on the complex nature of depression and sheds light on the path toward deep, lasting healing.

Welch considers carefully the spiritual, medical, and emotional factors that contribute to depression.  Even more important is his insight into the impact of these factors’ interaction. If depression has touched your life in any way, you can be helped by this practical and far-reaching approach.” (Back cover)

Author’s promise to readers:

“What you need must go deeper than practical advice.  You don’t need a series of “how tos.” (page 13). “So, on the path ahead, look for a partnership between whys and how tos” (page 14).  “If you are depressed, the chapters that follow are intended to be brief and, at times, provocative. If you want to help someone who is depressed, the chapters are intended to give you direction and to be used as actual readings you can share with the depressed person.  My hope is that the book will encourage partnerships between depressed people and those who love them.” (page 15)

Strengths of this resource:

The author begins the book by describing the experience of depression in terms that those who struggle with it will identify with, leaving them feeling that the author understands their struggle.  In this he has developed credibility to speak on the topic because he understands it. He takes a very practical, thoughtful and logical approach to the variety of causes of depression, not being quick to accept answers that may simplify the problem or overlook other possible answers.  As he addresses causes and responses he gives his readers a biblical lense to look through; bringing God into the discussion as he acknowledges that depression often leads to questions about God, his character and ways.

Each chapter ends with a question or action step that both the depressed person and/or a loved one can take in support of the depressed person.

Who should read this book and why?

I would recommend this book to anyone struggling with depression, as it broadens the discussion on how deal with this struggle with real hope.  I also would recommend it for those who are very close to someone struggling with depression so that there is a better understanding of the struggle and how to help in a more effective way.

Review written by Nancy Simmonds, Biblical Counselor

Nate Logan