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Welcome to my new website. I appreciate your visit. Here you will find resources for clinicians and the general public alike, including:

For therapists

For patients as well as the general public

Exciting Announcement

Dear website visitor,

Many of you are aware that many depressed and anxious individuals have been helped by reading my books. Although a book is not a cure-all for everybody, research studies indicate that 2/3rds of patients suffering from moderate to severe depression will improve substantially or recover completely within four weeks of receiving my book, Feeling Good, even without any professional treatment. In fact, Feeling Good alone can be as effective as a course of psychotherapy and / or antidepressant medications. Even more encouraging are long-term follow-up studies that indicate the improvement after reading Feeling Good seems to stick. Here is just one of a large number of research studies that have confirmed these findings:

Smith, N. M., Floyd, M. R., Jamison, C., and Scogin, F. (1997). Three-year follow-up of bibliotherapy for depression. Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, 65(2), 324 – 327.

I have always been convinced that I could create software that would be even more effective than my books—but I’ve never had the programming skills to transform my vision into a reality. Now I have the extreme good fortune to try to make my dream of more than 35 years come true. I am working with a brilliant young programmer, Jeremy Karmel, to create a series of electronic Feeling Good tools for the general public and therapists alike. I believe that these tools could be extremely helpful for individuals who are struggling with depression, anxiety, addictions, eating disorders, and relationship problems

These tools will feature powerful and highly innovative, interactive techniques. For some kinds of problems, I am convinced these tools will be able to surpass human therapists as well as medication treatment. The research implications are staggering as well, to say nothing of the chance to help tens of millions of individuals in the United States and worldwide who do not have access to effective treatment, as well as millions more who have not been helped very much, if at all, by current treatments with psychotherapy or pills.

Jeremy and I are working hard and moving rapidly, with great excitement and creativity, and are benefitting from the support of many brilliant colleagues and students who attend my weekly training groups at Stanford and at the new Feeling Good Institute in Mt. View, California. But it’s a huge job and we need some help. In particular, we are looking for talented programmers and designers. If you are curious about what skills in particular we are looking for, click here.

Right now, it’s just Jeremy and me working together running on lots of adrenalin and inspiration. We’ve mapped out many mind-blowing applications that we believe will be the most effective self-help tools ever developed, and we’re starting to build them. But we are acutely aware that to make the tools truly great, we’ll need to build a great team, and we’re hoping you might want to become a member of our team. We are also hoping to raise funds soon so we can start hiring.

If you are not a developer or designer, but think you might have an interest in using or beta testing these tools as they become available, stay posted. We’ll make announcements on this website as early versions of various tools become available.

Thanks!

David and Jeremy

Who are You?

I’d love to find out whether you are a therapist, a patient, or simply someone interested in Feeling Good as well as mental health issues. Take this brief survey to let me know! Thanks. You’ll also be able to view the results and find out who else is visiting this website.

Another Poll for You

Here’s a controversial poll you might find interesting. Lots of people have been in therapy for years with no results. Does it have to be that way? I’ll comment on the results later. Feel free to add your comments below!

David

To learn more about this, read my latest blog on new, high-speed treatments for depression. Click here.

29 thoughts on “Home

  1. I’m an M.D., not a therapist, could I get training? I am interested for frontal organic brain syndromes from trauma that cause behavioral problems, poor decision making and impulsivity, not only depression. These conditions may have high adverse effects from psych medications. Does your therapy include help for these folks. I’m not a psychiatrist.

    • Yes Janet, definitely, you could get training. A pediatrician in our group, Jeffrey Lazarus, MD, is combining hypnosis with T.E.A.M. for children with tics, grunting sounds, and so forth. He’s been a tremendous contributor to our group and is getting some excellent results. I would think your patients may have emotional and interpersonal problems that could respond to T.E.A.M.

      The Resources page on this website lists many options for training, including any of our weekly training groups in the SF Bay Area (many of which are free), reading my psychotherapy eBook, getting mentoring from one of our teachers at the FeelingGoodInstitute (FGI), attending any of my two-day or four-day workshops, and more.

      Angela Krumm, PhD and Jill Levitt, PhD are now working on options for live online group training at the FGI as well, using SKYPE and other programs for webinars. They are both superb teachers. If interested, feel free to contact them via the FGI.

      Thanks for your question!

      David

  2. I found your “Feeling Good The New Mood Therapy” by chance in a book shop. I have suffered with depression, anxiety and anger for as long as I can remember. Your book has changed my life. You have quite literally saved my life and my marriage – thank you. I wish I had read it 20 years ago. As a scientist myself I have read so many books to try and help me but never have I read anything that made so much sense from the very first page – it was like you were writing about me. Your work is amazing – thank you for giving me back the chance to be happy and enjoy my life.

  3. Hi Dr. David,

    I was diagnosed with OCD 5 years ago and was treated with the Exposure model . Then I was weaned off of the SSRI medication. However, I had relapses and my core problem was never addressed. My therapist told me that he would deal only with the anxiety symptoms using Exposure and Response Prevention and nothing else.

    I was very sincere with all the exercises and my OCD was manageable. My therapist had a checklist of the 10 distortions from your Feeling Good book and I was very impressed.

    I recently bought your When Panic Attacks book and it changed my life completely. I sincerely did all the exercises and was Enlightened in a particular special moment and felt I finally understood my core problem.

    I am 33 years old and I had never known a life without anxiety and depression. I experienced bullying as a child and throughout adolescence and always felt inadequate and inferior with a low sense of self-esteem.

    The “What if Technique” unearthed my core problem—I discovered that I believed I was inherently defective and inferior, and had Perceived Perfectionism, Perceived Narcissism, the Approval Addiction, the Brushfire Fallacy and the Spotlight fallacy. My anxiety has almost vanished and I enjoy the gift of life now. The recovery is unbelievably sweet and I feel as if I have been completely reborn. I have become more spiritual and thank God for leading me in this path.

    I usually have a low frustration tolerance, along with feelings of anger and resentment. Those feelings have been very much reduced by the Empathy techniques in your Feeling Good book. Your techniques for treating anger work like a charm. I have let go of my resentment and feel immensely happy and peaceful.

    I have also learned how hard I was on myself all my life and the “Acceptance Paradox” was the ultimate eye-opener. I have now accepted my flawed self, and like you say ”When you don’t have to be special, life becomes special.” That is the ultimate truth.

    My therapist was brilliant, caring and empathic, but the BIGGEST MISTAKE was that he never had the anxiety and depression scales for the patient to complete for before and after every session. I am convinced that was why I wasn’t actually cured. I feel that your Feeling Good book and When Panic Attacks books should be read by every person who struggles with depression and anxiety. I also think it would be a good idea to introduce them in the school curriculum, much like science and math.

    Thank you so much for giving my life back!

  4. Hello There. I like your website and blogs, which are extremely smartly written. I’ll be sure to bookmark feelinggood.com and return to read more of your useful info. Thanks for the posts. I’ll definitely comeback.

  5. HI Dr. Burns,

    I wanted to share how deeply grateful I am for the efforts you take to help therapists like myself. I love your new website and have learned so much from going through it,. The humorous and awesome part of this is I have done your intensive workshop, own and have intensely studied every book, e-book, toolkit, audio and video workshop you’ve made, And I am STILL learning subtle yet significant nuances – it makes me smile and laugh.

    Warm thoughts,

    Karin

    • Hi Diana,

      Thanks. I’m not currently in clinical practice, but focus on teaching, writing, and research. A number o excellent clinicians are listed at the FeelingGoodInstitute.com webpage, and many more will be added shortly, due to our new T.E.A.M. Therapy certification program.

      David

  6. Hi Dr. Burns,

    We are Occupational Therapy students researching the use of your Burns Anxiety Inventory Scale. We must report on things like: validity, reliability and usability. Any information you can provide regarding these areas would be most helpful.

    Thanks from Canada!
    Ashley-Dawn

    • Hi Ashley-Dawn,

      Great question on one of my favorite topics, thanks.

      Use of any of these copyright-protected scales requires purchase of the Therapist’s Toolkit, and psychometric information is, of course, included. On average, most of the scales have reliabilities above .90, often around .95, and are strongly correlated with other similar scales, such as the Beck Depression and Anxiety Inventories, the sub-scales on the Hopkins Symptom Checklist-90, the SCIDS, and other similar assessment instruments. Some of the 70 or so scales my colleagues and I have developed actually have reliabilities well above .95, some as high as .98.

      You can also find psychometric information on the scales I have developed in published articles in research journals, such as a few examples that I have listed below, in addition to the information in the Therapist’s Toolkit and in the 2013 Upgrade to the Toolkit:

      Burns, D. D., & Nolen-Hoeksema, S. (1992). Therapeutic empathy and recovery from depression in cognitive – behavioral therapy: a structural equation model. Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, 60(3): 441 – 449.

      Burns, D. D., Sayers, S. S., & Moras, K. (1994). Intimate Relationships and Depression: Is There a Causal Connection? Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, 62(5): 1033 – 1042.

      Burns, D. D., & Eidelson, R. (1998). Why are measures of depression and anxiety correlated? — A test of the tripartite theory. Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, 66(3): 461 – 473.

      Burns, D. Westra, H., Trockel, M., & Fisher, A. (2012) Motivation and Changes in Depression. Cognitive Therapy and Research DOI 10.1007/s10608-012-9458-3 Published online 22 April 2012

      My philosophy on scale development includes the following ideas:

      1. Scales should be short, but highly reliable. The latest scales I have developed and validated typically have only five items. As a result, most scales can be taken, scored, and interpreted by patient or therapist in as little as 15 seconds. There are many reasons for this requirement.

      2. Scales should have extremely high reliabilities, with a minimum of .90 or more.

      3. Scales should have continual response options, not dichotomous response options.

      4. Scales should never have reverse-scaled items mixed with normally scaled items, as this only confuses patients.

      5. Each scale should measure only one narrow construct.

      6. Scales should be written in simple words, generally at the fourth or fifth grade level. Scales should never include big words or psychological jargon.

      7. Scale items should be short, straightforward and clear.

      8. Scales should be user-friendly and respectful toward the user.

      9. Most scales (but not all) should ask the patient how he or she feels right now, at this moment, and not over some greater time span, such as two weeks or a month. This allows therapists to track progress accurately. There are, of course, exceptions. For example, if you are diagnosing chronic, persistent depression, you will ask about feelings of depression over the past couple years, or during one’s life.

      10. Validity and reliability assessments should be done with Structural Equation Modeling (SEM) techniques, and not with Ordinary Least Squares(OLS). There many reasons for this. One reason is that almost all data sets include missing data, so you can’t get accurate parameter estimates with OLS if the missing data are missing systematically and not completely at random. SEM corrects this problem. Also, reliability calculations with stats programs such as SPSS or SAS or others have hard-wired assumptions which the user cannot “see” when doing the calculations. For example, reliability using Chronbach’s coefficient alpha assumes the scale can be represented by one parallel factor, which is almost never the case. In SEM, you can relax and test this assumption.

      You will probably find that many published and widely used scales do not live up to many of these requirements. And, of course, this is just my own take on psychometrics. Others may have very different perspectives and ideas.

      This is probably way more information that you want or need, but hope it helps!

      David Burns, MD

      • Dr. Burns,
        Thank you very much for your timely reply and ample information. We greatly appreciate you taking the time to help us and we look forward to learning more about your assessment. Cheers from Canada,

        Ashley-Dawn Marsh

  7. I was diagnosed with mild depression 12 years ago. I also had mild anxiety, according to the weekly mood tests that you developed. The methods described in your Feeling Good Handbook were completely successful for me.

    I almost exclusively used the Daily Mood Log over a 4 to 6 month period. I found I needed to do them less and less over time. I was very grateful to you and meant to write you a letter of thanks, but I never got around to it. So I will thank you now!

    Recently, I have had a “relapse.” I am about 4-6 weeks into it and have been using the Mood Logs for about 2 weeks, although not every night the way I should. It does not seem to be working as well this time around.

    Maybe I need to be more consistent, or maybe I need to go beyond the Mood Logs and use some of the other techniques. I also now realize that I am probably a high-functioning Aspergers and an HSP (HIghly Sensitive Person) as well. I think those two things play into some of my issues.

    I am married to an Adult Child of an Alcoholic, who had a very challenging childhood, and it has given her control issues. She will not talk about anything personal. I think that I may need a coach/therapist to help me this time around. What do you think?

    • Dear gravatar.com,

      Thank you for your question. Yes, when you are stuck, a good therapist can often speed up your recovery. There’s no rule that says we always have to figure everything out on our own. If you need help finding a good therapist, check my referral tab for some tips and useful links. Of course, we have some tremendously skillful therapists in the San Francisco Bay Area who have been trained in the new T.E.A.M. Therapy I have developed, but I have also included links to find cognitive therapists worldwide.

      People also relapse after successful treatment with a good therapist. In fact, I define a “relapse” as one minute or more of feeling lousy. Given that definition, all human beings will relapse forever. Some of us can pop right out of those bad spells, but others get stuck in them, for weeks, months, or years. This doesn’t have to be a problem if you prepare for relapse at the time you recover. I always did Relapse Prevention Training with every patient I treated prior to terminating therapy. This seemed to help a great deal. I am pretty sure the last chapter of my book, When Panic Attacks, describes how the Relapse Prevention Training works.

      The Buddha was also aware of the likelihood of relapse when he said that we drift in and out of enlightenment all the time. This is just another way of saying that no one is entitled to feel happy all the time. We all fall back into those black holes of self-doubt, irritability, worry, and depression from time to time. But it doesn’t have to be a problem if know how to deal with.

      Perhaps if I get some time I will post a blog on Relapse Prevention Training.

      Thanks again for your very important question!

      Oh, one last thing I almost forgot. If you are having problems communicating with your spouse, my most recent book, Feeling Good Together, would be a nice compliment to the work you have already studied, but the methods are quite different. It is a much shorter book, and if you do the exercises as you read, you might learn some powerful techniques that will help you get closer to your wife and other people as well.

      Good luck, and congratulations on the hard work you’ve clearly put in. That’s the real secret of success using the methods I’ve developed.

      David Burns, MD

  8. My paper back book of feeling good is a well worn ‘bible,’ along with several others, such as chopra’s “ageless body, timeless mind,” zinn’s ” wherever you go there you are,” along with a slew of buddhist lit, and recently philosophy of christ lit. I’m extremely influenced by words. Therefore, bibliotherapy, along with talk therapy and persistent courageous hard experiential work on my part, have been, and continue to be indispensable activities for me to cope and grow ever more comfortable, even after seventy one seasons of living! Thank you and your colleagues ever so much! I’m glad that on my closer rereading of “Feeling Good (which this time I plan to read daily and all of it in sequence) I noticed your website, which I was happy to see still exist. And, I’m sure it has steadily grown, and I’ll visit it a lot, I’m sure.
    Health & Happiness to all of you in 2014!
    Harold

    • Thanks so much! I really appreciate your comment, and agree with what you say. The effort via daily practice (for example, with the Daily Mood Log or other self-help tools in my books) seems to be an important key to success. This has been validated through research as well as my own clinical experience.

      All the best, David Burns, MD

  9. This web site was suggested by my cousin. I’m not positive whether or not this was a set up by him–since no one else could know about my difficulties with such accuracy. You are wonderful! Thanks!

    • Thank you for your kind comments. I am glad my writing resonates with you. I have seen so many people who are struggling with emotional problems or relationship conflicts that I kind of know how people think and feel, and I enjoy writing, too. I really appreciate your note!

      David Burns, MD

  10. Dr. Burns,
    I have been intrigued and greatly encouraged by the article about you and ‘Feeling Good’ in the Stanford Magazine. My experience with therapists through immediate family members who have needed help has not been very positive in the past. I hope that the therapists you train work with empathy and with a goal to really better their patients’ lives.

    I am excited that El Camino Hospital is making a big push to take on mental health care as a big agenda item. They see the dearth of care in the valley and resources and are in the pre-planning stages for revamping/recharging their mental health program. I hope they consult experts like you! The masses need to benefit from your expertise and methods.

    I hope to find the right therapists for my close family members, maybe this time from the Feeling Good Institute, and experience the difference a good therapist can make. Some therapy sessions run up as much as $400+, and at this rate, I cannot believe them to be sustainable/affordable. I prefer, where at all possible, therapy over meds, because you can potentially help a person help himself/herself without dependence on external factors (which in the case of medication, comes with side effects) and therefore hope that it is widely available to all.

    Regards
    PD

  11. I had been feeling depressed and anxious since September. I went to a pschicotherapist but I didn’t feel relieved or better. Then I found the book Feeling good and my life has changed

  12. Hello, Dr. Burns, My name is Anthony. In 2006, I went thru Menlo Park’s H.V.R.P. where every patient receives a copy of your “Feel Good” book, as one of the tools in our Repair & Recovery. It is the main tool! One that is used by Every Person, Every Day, in the domiciliary. From day 1, to completion (9 mo.) and beyond. Patients and staff alike use your book to discover the Real Truths of, Who we are, How we are, & Why we are, as We are. So, combine the Top Quality Staff, who understand us patients, & the natural truths your book invokes, my life has been forever changed. Most Enjoyable is seeing life & understanding it’s wobble, through your eyes. I, in turn, have pasted your methods on to my sister, my son, my granddaughter and anyone else I think can benefit from knowing different. Now that I have found this site, I will be back. Thank you, from the bottom of my heart, for being a sound bridge of god’s undeserved kindness. I believe in you both. onward & upward.

    I would be honored to help your research, anyway I can.

    • Thank you Anthony! I am developing some electronic Feeling Good tools with the help of a terrific young programmer, Jeremy Karmel. When we have some versions ready for beta testing, we’d be honored to include you and get your feedback!

      All the best,

      David Burns, MD

  13. Hi Dr. Burns i read” feeling good” and its really encouraging. I am a sufferer of panic disorder. We are having big success in treating depression with many techniques nowadays.I just want to know is there a poolproof way to treat panic disorder permenantly like that of depression.

  14. Hi Dr. Burns,

    I read” feeling good” and its really encouraging. I am a sufferer of panic disorder. We are having big success in treating depression with many techniques nowadays. I just want to know is there a foolproof way to treat panic disorder permenantly, just as you often do with depression. I’ve been on SSRIs for two years now but I’m not able to stop taking the drug treatment. Please help. Thanks!

    • Thank you, Himanshu. You might want to take a look at my book, When Panic Attacks. It is all about overcoming anxiety, including Panic Disorder, quickly. The techniques are very powerful. In my experience, panic can be even easier to treat than depression. Sometimes, people can do it on their own by using the techniques in the book, which are somewhat different from the techniques I have developed for depression. Sometimes, a good theapist can speed the process considerably.

      The idea of permanent “cure” or non-stop happiness is an illusion. We all fall into black holes of worry, self-doubt, panic or depression from time to time. The goal is to learn techniques that can help you overcome these spells quickly, so you don’t have to spend weeks, months, or years struggling with unhappiness.

      Let me know if it is helpful to you!

      David Burns, MD

      David Burns, MD

  15. Thanks David, I am on the other side of the world in Western Australia and I am so gratified to discover the amazing an accessible material that you offer. I am a psych just starting on on private practice following a long career in both teaching and school psych.I am passionate to learn better ways of helping the growing number of people needing fast and effective help dealing with panic and depression, thank you!

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