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Lunch With the Psychological Theorists: Peplau, Freud, Selye

The discussion has initially started with the emphasis on the need to circumvent the high prevalence rates of depression in the US and other developed countries, and on its symptomology. As depression constitutes a mental disability, it is of the common assumption that an imbalance of normal motor behavior and neurochemicals would be playing an important role. While in a state of depression, a feeling of helplessness, sadness, loneliness, despair, low self-esteem, and self-reproach are common. Other associated symptoms were retardation in psychomotor function, agitation, withdrawal from interpersonal contact, lack of sleep, and appetite.

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Next, regarding the actual processes that came into dialogue, there would be an alteration in the chemical messengers of the brain, such as dopamine, norepinephrine, serotonin, cortisol, and epinephrine. Among these, stress hormones cortisol and epinephrine undergo an elevation from their normal levels, indicating a chemical imbalance. This aberration leads to a switch in the metabolism from its normal function of tissue repair during the healing process. This might also contribute to an altered immune system and a possible risk of cancer. Therefore, it was inferred by our group that an imbalance of chemical messengers is having a strong association with a cascade of abnormal metabolic events when in a state of depression.

We further concentrated on patient care. It is essential that patients with depression need good rehabilitation, and it would be better if an approach of nurse care is adopted. Here, the ideology of various theorists, if followed while dealing with patients, might ensure a better psycho-remedial environment. So, the relationship between nurse and patient was given much emphasis. A nurse would initially study the patient’s profile, physical appearance and start a conversation beginning with trivial questions like asking names, addresses, family details, education, hobbies, etc. To say, this process would establish an enduring atmosphere while receiving the patient as a normal stranger. A nurse would be able to provide answers without hesitation to any kind of questions asked by depressed individuals.

As a teacher, a nurse would instruct the patients to perform some activities to overcome weight loss and psychomotor agitation. Since depressed individuals are prone to lose interest in their daily life activities and show a feeling of worthlessness, a nurse would have to better understand such attitude and encourage for making amendments suitable to the life, for example, to participate in social activities that have an invigorating effect, collaborate and share some memorable experiences with others, etc., while not revealing or recapping any previous stories that might disturb their mental calmness and alter the listener’s mood. Here, the nurse is offering her role as a counselor.

Very often, in the state of depression, most individuals struggle to cohabit with others and would be in a dilemma while deciding about independent life. Hence, a nurse would better understand such a mental agony and might urge changes like relieving patients from his or her dependents. Further, depressed individuals may not be hopeful of their plans or achievements. As such, nurses would enlighten the true spirit and bring confidence to face the challenges of life. So, the main objective of the nurse would be to ensure the complete treatment to the patient by reciprocal help or satisfaction such that the patient takes the whole charge alone. These methodologies are related to those of a nursing theorist, Hildegard Peplau.

Next, studying the personality of depressed individuals might also help in better interpreting their moods. For this purpose, patients would be asked to participate in a questionnaire that would be focused on associating patient’s childhood experiences with their adult personality, a process that would coincide with the psychologist Sigmund Freud’s theory. This approach may help in better studying and eliminating vague forms of feelings or thoughts commonly observed while in various states of depression.

The discussion next emphasized the role of nurses in retrieving the information from the dreams.

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Here, according to Freud, it was believed that an individual’s painful memories gain entry into his or her mind in an unconscious manner and retain their position. These memories might further influence the mood of patients. So, as it is essential, a nurse would monitor the minds of patients by obtaining information about their sleep and dream patterns, as this might aid in acquiring a standard mental picture and interpreting the depressed behavior. Our further dialogue was that nurses would be finding out whether there were any previous instances that made the patient go severely exhausted. The information thus obtained from the patients would be assigned to any suitable depressed mood or behavior known to originate from the stress or any other relevant factor, under qualified medical expertise. Therefore, this approach would help in assessing the relationship between stress and depression. Here, it may suggest that while attempting to obtain information from the patients, nurses should be cautious about the adverse effects of stress and must try to avoid its all possible sources in the hospital on the assumption that stress might further deteriorate a patient’s mental attitude. This part of the discussion is close to Hans Selye’s discovery of stress.

Hence, the above description reflects the proceedings of a discussion that highlighted all the possible ways a nurse would deal while approaching the patients when in a state of depression, keeping in view the ideology of theorists. As depression is one of the mental disorders, there is a need to carefully monitor the behavior and heal the affected individuals by instituting proper psychotherapy or more advanced Cranial Electrotherapy Stimulation (CES). In this process, nurses would be playing a key role in implementing the practices of theorists in several forms like orientation, counseling, educating or instructing, interpreting, and assessing. However, successful performance of all these roles by nurses requires good endurance and consistency. So, these approaches would be receiving a disagreement up to a certain extent from the other members on the grounds that any possible negligence might further aggravate the problem.


Daniel L. Kirsch & Marshall F. Gilula. (2007). Electromedicine. Practical Pain Management, 33-41.

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