Depression 101 by Emily Durbin is a thorough resource for counselors of all skill levels interested in learning or refreshing themselves on the diagnostic and syntonic features of depression. This text covers Major Depressive Disorder (MDD), Dysthymic Disorder (DD), and Bipolar Disorder (BD) in such depth that it could be utilized as a reference text. The author indicates that the aim of the book is to emphasize and bring clarity to the different ways scientific disciplines have approached depression. Dr. Durbin explores how this has affected our understanding of depression spectrum disorders and in turn has resulted in how the field of counseling identifies individuals with depressive mood and structures treatment models.

The text begins by operationalizing and describing the characteristics used to diagnose MDD, DD and BD. Dr. Durbin then explains how these symptoms manifest, who is likely to be diagnosed, and how mood disturbance effects functioning. She concludes with treatment models and recommendations on how to integrate the presented information into practice. The text presents information about depression in a concise manner and consistently includes a variety of references for the topics discussed. It is evident that Dr. Durbin synthesized information from an assortment of sources to give the reader a comprehensive view of the described disorders.

The most applicable section of the text for counselors is the section on integrating the information into practice. Academic books often present a plethora of new information, but it is difficult to figure out how to incorporate it into already established therapeutic practice. This text not only presents an extensive amount of information and research, but summarizes a plan for integration at the end of the book. My only suggestion would be to lengthen this section to further examine the practical implications for the research presented in the subsequent chapters.

Overall, this text is a phenomenal resource for counselors, counselor educators and graduate students alike. I would not consider Dr. Durbin’s book a light read, but she does an excellent job of presenting a vast amount of information in a relatively short text. I have no doubt that I will be referencing this book in the future and utilizing its wide-ranging reference list.  After all, depression is considered the “common cold” of psychological disorders. It would be a great disservice to many of our clients to not have a thorough understanding of the disorder that is most frequently reported. Dr. Durbin’s text is an excellent desk reference to serve that purpose.


Durbin, C. E. (2015). Depression 101. New York, NY: Springer.

Reviewed by: Charmayne R. Adams, Wake Forest University


The Professional Counselor