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This 1 hour course includes a video by Dr. John Arden + a short online quiz + certificate of completion. (This is not included in the Standard Membership and is sold separately)

About This Course

Depression is not a singular disorder with one etiology.  The links between depression, inflammation, ACEs, and early life deprivation are interrelated with the incidence of illnesses such as diabetes and cardiovascular disease.  Depressed patients with a history of early life trauma demonstrate significantly higher levels of the proinflammatory cytokines such as IL-6 and activation of tumor necrosis factor. 

Typically hyperactivation of the amygdala is associated with anxiety disorders.  Yet, an enlarged and hyperactive amygdala is sometimes associated with depression.  The activation level of the amygdala appears to normalize after successful treatment for depression.  The role of cortiocotropin-releasing hormone (CRH) in depression has gained considerable attention because it is often elevated in depressed patients as well as suicide victims.

The positive psychology research on forgiveness, compassion, and gratitude are explored with respective to their effect on mental health.  Similarly, optimism and an attitude of acceptance are associated with resiliency. Together, these attitudinal perspectives play a major role in promoting mental health.  

During the past few decades’ mindfulness has been subsumed into the mainstream as well as within the “third wave” of therapies such as ACT, DBT, and MBSR.  While this addition to pre-existent therapies has made important contributions, there remains considerable misinformation regarding the research. Many well-meaning therapists assume that simply promoting mindfulness is the end all.  Meanwhile millions of other potential readers turn away from mindfulness and books about it, worrying that an interest in Buddhist practices conflicts with their faith in theologies such as Christianity or Islam. There are similar methodologies within those traditions, which we explore. 

Meditative/mindfulness practices produce a range of profound health effects as illustrated in a number of studies in neuroscience.  To understand mindfulness, contemplative prayer, and related practices it is important to note that for most people, working memory lasts for 20 to 30 seconds. On the other hand, we all spend 30% of our waking hours in our Default Mode Network, daydreaming, planning for the future, or ruminating about the past. It is not that the Default Mode Network represents a dysfunctional process.  

Rather it can be the source of creativity and healthy self-reference. This lesson will describe the balance between Executive, Salient, the Default Mode Networks, and how to stay in the present moment to improve psychotherapeutic success.

Course curriculum

  • 1


    • Introduction

  • 2

    Depression, Positive Psychology, and Mindfulness

    • Depression and Mindfulness Webinar

    • Depression and Mindfulness Quiz

  • 3

    Before you go...

    • Before you go...


Senior Instructor

John Arden

John Arden, Ph.D., is the author of 14 books including Mind-Brain-Gene (2019, W.W.Norton & Company). He has a background in neuropsychology and is the director of training for mental health for the Kaiser Permanente Medical Centers in Northern California. In this capacity, he oversees one of the largest mental health training programs in the world, operating in 22 different medical centers throughout Northern California. Dr. Arden also practices part-time at Kaiser Permanente in Petaluma and San Rafael, and he served for several years as the chief psychologist at Kaiser Vallejo. He has taught in colleges, professional schools and universities.


Toward Psychotherapy Integration

If you would like more resources on this topic, please consider reading Dr. John Arden's book Mind-Brain-Gene. This book contributes to the sea change in how we conceptualise mental health problems and their solutions. Mind-Brain-Gene describes the feedback loops between the multiple systems contributing to the emergence of the mind and the experience of the self. It explains how our mental operating networks "self"-organise, drawing from and modifying our memory systems to establish and maintain mental health.