Raj Persaud in conversation with Professor Jeremy Holmes – can Tolstoy help us understand depression?

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Jeremy Holmes is a psychiatrist and Professor of psychotherapy at the University of Exeter.  He is best known for his work in Attachment Theory and its applications to psychotherapy and psychiatry.  He also has written extensively on the relationship between literature and psychiatry,  most recently in his book The Therapeutic Imagination: Using literature to deepen psychodynamic understanding and enhance empathy.

Today we are going to be discussing a paper published by Jeremy entitled ‘Mind reading: Tolstoy’s Oak Tree Metaphor: Depression recovery, and Psychiatric ‘spiritual ecology’ and this paper is being published in the journal ‘Advances in Psychiatric Treatment’

Link to the journal home website is here:


Tolstoy’s Oak Tree Metaphor: Depression recovery, and Psychiatric ‘spiritual ecology’

Tolstoy’s life and work illustrate resilience, the transcendence of trauma, and the
enduring impact of childhood loss. I have chosen the famous ‘oak-tree’ passage
from War and Peace to illustrate recovery from the self-preoccupation of
depression and the theme of ‘eco-spirituality’ – the idea that post-depressive
connectedness and love applies not just to significant others but also to nature and
the environment.

You can download or listen to the podcast here:


and here:



here it is on you tube:


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