Thoughts on Robin Williams

Written by: Nick Ortner

Like many of you, I was shocked and saddened by the news of Robin Williams’ tragic passing.

He was a one-of-a-kind, larger-than-life talent who gave so much to the world. To say that he will be missed is a gross understatement.

His absence is made even more heartbreaking by the fact that we lost him to depression. In spite of his amazing talent and success, he was clearly suffering.

Although he was never diagnosed with clinical depression, he did share that he would “get bummed” and feel very sad for periods of time. He also struggled with alcoholism and substance abuse for many years.


Far too many people are living with severe, chronic depression every day.

According to a 2012 study by the National Institute of Mental Health, major depression, which is defined as symptoms that interfere with your ability to live your life, eat, work, sleep, and enjoy life for two weeks or longer, impacts approximately 7% of the adult US population.

Traditional therapies, which include anti-depressants, psychotherapy, and more, have had some success. Still, though, the World Health Organization estimates that 350 million people worldwide are suffering from depression.

It’s a difficult disease, often made worse by cultural stigma and confusion around what it really is. In casual conversation, we often hear phrases like “how depressing” and “I’m just depressed,” and give them little thought.

On a broader cultural level, we tend to have little patience for people who truly are suffering from severe, chronic depression, wishing they would get over it and move on. Too often, people who live with severe depression end up feeling isolated and alone, with no way out. .


Using EFT Tapping for Depression – The Results of a Licensed Therapist…

My friend Catherine Ewing, LCSW, MDiv, MSW, a licensed therapist with whom I’ve had the honor to work here in Newtown, CT since the Sandy Hook school shooting in 2012, watched this pattern play out in her clients over many years.

As she wrote in an article on depression, published by PBS, for years she worried that her traditional training as a psychotherapist wasn’t getting to the root of her clients’ depression. (You can read her article here.)

Before using EFT in her practice, she shares, “I often felt as though I was letting my clients down. Although we made some positive changes in attitude and behavior, I sensed that we were not unearthing the real roots of their depression. Changes took place on a superficial level; healing was not happening at a level that allowed clients to experience deeply satisfying and joyful lives.” In 2006, Catherine began using EFT in her practice.

Since then, she’s been able to use tapping to help her clients release what is sometimes referred to as “cellular memory”, which is basically the result of events, traumas, memories that get stuck in the body, and then contribute to depression (and other conditions).

Because tapping allows people to access the unconscious mind, which is responsible for 93 – 97% of our thoughts, feelings, and behaviors, it’s effective at helping people overcome depression of all kinds, including depression related to events that happened in very early childhood, even before or during birth. It’s also a powerful way to release the emotional charge of traumatic events that lead to depression, and without being re-traumatized. .


Let’s Open Up The Discussion About Tapping and Other Alternative Therapies…

While Catherine’s success treating depression with tapping is exciting, her results are by no means unusual. A growing number of therapists are integrating tapping into their practice, and getting similar results.  By bringing both the physical body and the mind into the healing process using tapping, we can let go of the physical and emotional energy that contributes to depression, that can’t be treated with more conventional therapies.

I’m not claiming that tapping would have prevented Robin Williams’ death, but I am saying that it’s time that we open up the discussion around depression to include new therapies like tapping, which is producing better results than many traditional therapies, and with zero side effects.

For many therapists like Catherine Ewing, tapping is also proving more effective than other alternatives like hypnotherapy, guided imagery, and other alternative techniques designed to access the unconscious mind. .


Resources for Dealing with Depression…

If you or someone you know is suffering from depression, I urge you to forward this post on to them, and to support them in seeking help. A great starting point is the list of EFT practitioners on our website, which you can access here:

If you’re battling something like depression, make sure to reach out to someone with experience on the topic.

Also check with your current healthcare practitioner.

And, if you or someone you love is contemplating suicide, reach out immediately here:

Or call 24 hours a day, 7 days a week: 1-800-273-8255 International:

We have also pulled some resources from our Tapping Insiders Club on using tapping for depression here: Depression: Learning the Signs of Depression and What Actions to Take with Carol Look:

Using Tapping Effectively for Depression Relief with Steve Wells: .


There is Hope…

I think the most important message here is that there IS hope for treating severe depression. Many of the best-known and most common therapies haven’t provided the level of relief people are seeking, but there are new options out there, like tapping, that are allowing people to step out of the incredible darkness of depression and live rewarding and fulfilling lives.

There IS hope, and I hope you’ll join me in spreading it, and this post, far and wide so that everyone who needs support in overcoming depression can get relief before it’s too late.

Robin Williams, may you rest in peace.

You’ll be loved, always.

Nick Ortner .


P.S. I know I’m not alone in expressing how much I’ve always loved Robin Williams’ range. From his inspiring performances in Good Will Hunting, Dead Poets Society, and Hook, which I remember watching many times growing up, to his many hilarious roles – Mrs. Doubtfire, The Birdcage, Patch Adams, his voice performance as the genie in Aladdin (a role he apparently improvised, wow!).

The best way I can think of to honor him is by appreciating his incredible talent. On that note, I wanted to share a few of my favorite Robin Williams clips: Here’s a mix of some of his best moments:

The moving park scene from Good Will Hunting

A beautiful speech from Dead Poets Society – reminding us for the need for creativity and passion in our lives

When the Genie first appears in Aladdin

Fly Free Robin! You’re Peter Pan once again…


What’s your favorite movie/clip/performance of Robbins Williams?  Share by posting below.

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39 Comments on this post

  1. Name (required) says:

    When someone, especially someone as prodigiously talented and beloved as Robin Williams, passes away, our thoughts inevitably turn inward. This time it’s not just our own personal reflections on death and the afterlife that can provide some comfort; we also have Williams’s own words on the subject. The nearest thing to heaven, Williams told another interviewer, was home. “I live in San Francisco, which to me is close to heaven. It’s not, but it’s real close.” It’s clear that what Williams found in his final days was further than the “paradise” of home he alluded to and closer to the darker notions he also shared of an afterlife. “Any doctor who deals with madness and psychoses will tell you they ve glimpsed hell,” he said. This is the darkness he also touched on in a 2010 interview with Marc Maron, when addressing the troubling fears that sometimes surfaced as part of his comedy.

  2. Mary Lou says:

    Thanks,Nick,for all the wonderful work you’re doing for the people. And,your Appreciation of Robin Williams, too.Still feel sad about his loss!

  3. Julie says:

    Fabulous thanks much. What fantastic truth and insights.

  4. Gloria says:

    Robin and his wife and their governess attended one of my Baby Power Workshops many years ago with their son Zack.
    I enjoyed meeting him in perso and hearing his comedic talent even at the least appropriate times.
    He was and continues to be a blessing to the world.
    Thank you and love you forever.
    Gloria Cliffords

    • Nick Ortner says:

      It’s so great that you got to meet him in person as well as experience his comedic talent. He shared so much with the world. We are luck to continue to get to enjoy his legacy. 🙂

  5. Dianne says:

    My eyes still fill with tears when I think of Robin. I felt his pain. He was such a gift to this world.

  6. A HUMAN PROJECT | robin williams was not a joke- depression is as real as death says:

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  7. Laura says:

    Thank you Nick for putting these clips together. I will think of you and what a beautiful tribute you did. Thanks and as you said so movingly Fly Robin/Peter Fly . We hope he is at peace, he gave such incredibly talented parts of himself to us all.
    from, Laura

  8. Maria Ines astellan says:

    Thank you Nick for let us , your followers recreted some pieces of Robin Williams movies.
    All of them great , the two that I remembered most is ” Good morning Vietnam” and The society of thedead poets” kind regards….

  9. kate says:

    I love the many films, (too hard to choose) videos, articles, interviews with Robin Williams of course, and I do hope his family and close friends have their own private photos, letters, cards and messages from him that will stay theirs alone.

    And while tapping is great, I do know that sometimes even when you know and have access to a solution, to something that might shift the depression or sadness, there is also a huge inertia, a feeling of not having the energy to make use of what you know to change that.

  10. lucia says:

    If I wouldnt have stumbled across Nick Ortner and his book The tapping solution’ in april 2013 I ‘ d be still depressed because every single day I make the choice of either being depressed or not, tapping or leaving it and having lived with ‘de-pression’ or supressing my emotions and compensating with substances and food for most of my life I make the choice of tapping!!!
    Thank you Nick Ortner for your contagious passion and inspiration and being the best you can be!!. You’re a bright star in the darkness. Love to you x x

  11. Robert Merriman says:

    Thank you, Robin, for the many gifts you left us. The world is happier for you having been in it. You set the bar of comedy and story telling very high for us all. Bless you and good travels!

  12. Dennis sullivan says:

    He served the world with his amazing talent – now he is serving the world by bringing our hearts together – and God knows we need that right now.

  13. Pilar says:

    Thank you very much Nick for this most valuable and heart-felt article, for Robin Williams, and to awaken us to help those who are still with us suffering with depression, so they may find peace and joy here !
    You are amazing ! Thank you for all the hope and solutions that you offer to the world,

  14. carollynn says:

    Genius and pure artist. Unfortunately they are so often manic depressive. He gave so much;laughter, joy,heart warming moments. Where ever he is, they are laughing. Aloha Nui Loa. Best movie for me; Birdcage. Thank you for the beautiful tribute.

  15. Elena Grajales says:

    Perder a un ser humano con talento, sentido del humor, capacidades que no siempre vienen juntas es una tragedia mayor. Es cierto, el mundo lo exrañará.

  16. Alberte says:

    Just loved your tribute to Robin Williams! He was amazing! Probably too sensitive… My first husband was bipolar and committed suicide at age 31. I wrote my first novel “The Neglected Garden” based on our ten-year marriage. I truly understand the exuberance of the manic stages and the devastating depression that usually follows. I am glad we are more open about depression but there is so much work to do still.

  17. Pam says:

    This post is a wonderful tribute to Robin Williams. Hopefully he has found his peace.
    My favourite is his role in Awakening.
    There will never be another Robin.

  18. Kathy Thomas says:

    Thanks for a great article and an ever-growing mental health issue.

  19. Kauistars says:

    What Dreams May Come. Very profound and poignant film. Max Von Sydow in the movie has a comment something like ‘these roles we identify with and label…keep us from truly understanding our relationship to each other ‘.

  20. Elizabeth says:

    You can’t forget Awakenings – his best performance.

  21. Charles Hackbarth says:

    The Fisher King is one of my all time favorite movies. It’s interesting when you look back, with hind sight, it’s easy to hear the sadness in his voice, to see the tenderness and hurt in his eyes, even when he was being funny. It’s no surprise to those of us working with the subtleties of the human psyche to realize that it’s the funniest, loudest, zaniest among us that are also the saddest, most fearful. We all have younger parts that may be hurt, afraid, feel worthless. Time and time again, you hear of rich and famous stars who either take their own lives or abuse themselves with drugs and alcohol. It’s clear that worldly success, fame and fortune are not enough to heal the inner child. I’ve never been affected by the loss of a celebrity before, but Robin Williams was different. He’s made us laugh and touched us with his genius for 35 or more years… he will truly be missed.

  22. Scott 2 says:

    Hi Nick,

    Thanks for this heart-felt piece on helping others, and Robin Williams.
    What a great man he is, he brought so much joy, to so many.
    I also believe he bucked against the “establishment”, so help people grow & move forward.

    And….maybe it was his time, maybe he was ready to pass to the next level, maybe he’s hanging out with some of his friends, (or even Jerry Hicks!).

    I appreciate all you for others & the world, but sometimes, the death experience is a very good thing, IMHO.
    peace, and happy trails,
    Scott 2

  23. Deepali says:

    What a wonderful and heartfelt article about a wonderful artiste. I live in India and over the years I have watched all his major films and each time I have come away with the feeling that there is even more to him. Sad indeed that someone with so much to give could not get what he needed.. RIP Robin Williams

  24. Carol Mitchell says:

    Thank you for lovely tribute to Robin Williams. He blessed us all with his great talent, and created so much laughter for us through the years. He will be greatly missed. Depression is such a devastating disease, and I know firsthand what a solitary and downhill trip it can be. I am so grateful for the information that is spreading about the benefits of Tapping that offers hope for a real cure, and one with no side effects. I never, ever want to fall back into the pit of depression, and use tapping now to release anything that even begins to feel like the beginnings of that downhill descent..

  25. R says:

    There are so many to choose from, every Robin Williams film was a hit. Sadly the same one’s keep getting mentioned. I personally choose,

    The Birdcage, Awakenings, The fisher King. and for something with a bit more grit, and against the grain One hour Photo, Insomnia

  26. Brigitte says:

    Thank you dear Nick!

    Dearest Robin Williams,
    You really made a difference in my life!
    Thank you for all you were and all you did!
    Many times you made me laugh and cry.
    May every Blessing find it’s way to you, may you be touched and carried by Angels and may your way lead you directly into the Beauty of Existence!
    Silent, with all loving care and deepest gratitude, Brigitte

  27. Carrie says:

    By far, my all time fav with Robin Williams is What dreams may come.

  28. Maureen says:

    I absolutely loved Robin Williams in Patch Adams…
    His compassion and his courage to stand up for what
    he believed in was so inspiring!!!!
    Such a loss to the world!!!!!!!!

  29. Julia says:

    What a wonderful article.
    I loved him in everything but…
    BIRDCAGE…what a riot.

  30. Gladys Rodrigues says:

    May you rest in peace..

  31. Carol says:

    My favorite films with Robin Williams are Hook, Mrs. Doubtfire, and Good Morning Vietnam. Hook is the name of the movie in the clip above. I want to note that there is actually another movie titled Peter Pan made with actors Jason Isaacs and Jeremy Sumpter that was also grrreeeaat.

  32. Renee Supnet says:

    Would love more related articles posted. I just lost a close family member to depression. Thank you

  33. Chantal says:

    One of my favorite movie is ”What dreams may come” a movie about the after life of a wife who comitted suicide after her 2 children died in a car accident. Later, the husbund (Robin Williams) also died in another car accident. If you haven’t seen it, I really recommand it to everyone!
    Sending LIGHT, LOVE and COMFORT to Mr. Williams who might have enlight the lives of many people with this movie while saving the life of his wife (in the movie) who had lost faith in life.


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