Does Self-Help Really Help? A One-Two Punch!
Some people don’t believe that a self-help book, like Feeling Good, or the Feeling Good Podcast could really help someone. They think that professional treatment is needed, especially if the symptoms are severe.
I’ve struggled with this question myself. When I pick up a self-help book at the bookstore, I usually get instantly turned off. However, the email below may provide a partial answer to this question.
I hope you’re rested up after your grueling series of workshops. I wanted to tell you about a client who called last week. He was desperate for treatment and described feelings of hopelessness and despair.
Due to a medical issue, I did not immediately schedule him, but recommended he listen to your podcasts from beginning to end and to get and begin working through “The feeling Good Handbook.“
I called today to schedule an appointment with him. He said he had listened to 30 podcasts, and was up to chapter 3 in your book. His affect was bright and optimistic. In fact, he indicated he might only need one or two sessions!
Thanks again for your generosity and hard work. They are truly making a positive difference in people’s lives, including mine.
Dan w Prine
I really appreciated this email! Thanks, Danny!
There have been lots of outcome studies that have reported that approximately two thirds of moderately or severely depressed individuals who are given a copy of my book, Feeling Good: The New Mood Therapy, or The Feeling Good Handbook, will improve significantly or recover within four weeks, without any other treatment. That’s why Feeling Good has sold more than five million copies, and why it is the book most often “prescribed” for depressed individuals by Canadian and American mental health professionals.
If you are a therapist treating individuals who are depressed or anxious (or both), there are three potential benefits from “assigning” one my books, along with the Feeling Good Podcasts, as psychotherapy “homework.” If you are not a therapist, but have family members or friends who are struggling with depression and anxiety, you might follow the same advice, because:
- There is a high likelihood that your patient (or family member, etc.) will improve significantly in a short period of time if he or she reads Feeling Good and listens to the Podcasts.
- If you are a therapist, the reading and listening your patients do between sessions will accelerate their learning, making your job that much easier. You won’t have to explain everything, and can use the therapy time individualizing the treatment for your patient’s specific needs.
- The assignments will provide you with a vital test of your patient’s motivation. I have published studies indicating that nearly all of the patients who do at least some reasonably consistent psychotherapy homework between sessions will improve or recover fairly quickly; in contrast, most of the patients who refuse to do the homework fail to improve significantly. In fact, many get worse, or simply drop out of therapy with no gains at all.
So a big thanks to Dan Prine for his illuminating email!
I’m back from two grueling teaching trips, and have only nine more presentations between now and Christmas. So I’ll soon be able to return to frequent blogging, and also will have time to work on my new book!
Check my website for teaching topics and locations. Also, remember that my Feeling Good Podcasts are entirely free, as are my Sunday afternoon Facebook broadcasts, on my public FB page. Join me Sundays at 3 PM West Coast Time and ask questions on mental health topics! These programs are for therapists and general public alike!
My live FB broadcasts have been moved to 3 PM Pacific (California) Time every Sunday afternoon. I hope you can join us! The show is for therapists and the general public alike. If you cannot join us live, you can download the shows and listen any time that’s convenient for you!
Feel free to submit questions you’d like me to cover in these shows. Your questions drive the discussion each Sunday afternoon!
How to Find My FB Broadcasts
Click on my Facebook tab on https://feelinggood.com/ if you’d like to watch me each week on my Live Facebook broadcast each Sunday afternoon around 3 p.m. PST. Make sure to “like” my Public Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/DavidBurnsMD/ so you can watch it on my page or yours.
Join me as I answer mental health questions from viewers — therapists and non-therapists alike — from all over the world. Type your question in the Facebook feed and I’ll do my best to answer it.
If you miss the broadcast you can watch the saved videos on my Facebook page! Also, viewers can watch these Live Facebook broadcasts as well as other interesting TEAM-CBT videos on the Feeling Good Institute’s YouTube channel!
The David and Fabrice Feeling Good Podcasts
Fabrice and I hope you also enjoy our Feeling Good Podcasts, and also hope you can leave some positive comments for us and some five star ratings if you like what we’re doing! We are already enjoying 25,000 downloads per month from listeners like you. Thank you so much for your support of our podcasts!
At least one listener has had problems leaving an iTunes review from his i-phone, so Fabrice has created some simple to follow instructions if you need help.
Hi David, not sure if I’m posting in the right place but here goes…
I’m a big fan of your book and your podcast. This is important work that really helps people to change their lives.
I haven’t listened to quite all your podcasts yet but I haven’t come across one where the client is completely new to CBT. Would it be possible for you to conduct a series where you take the client from scratch – introducing the concepts and thought distortions all the way through to the end of treatment?
Thanks from a big fan of yours in New Zealand.
I’m so sorry you’ve been having a difficult time. I’m 79, and am aware of the losses that occur with aging. I could include your excellent question on an Ask David, but first want to know if you have read one of my books and done the written exercises in it. Since I have devoted my entire career to answering your question (which comes in many varieties), I don’t want to have to repeat everything that’s already spelled out Feeling Good, or Feeling Great, or any of my books. Thanks! david PS If you haven’t read any of them, no need to reply, although I always DO appreciate a reply! If you have read at least one, and are stuck, you could send me an example of your work on challenging your negative thoughts at one specific moment.
Dear Dr. Burns: I am 78. Please do a podcast or blog on old age.I am very depressed and have had three joint replacements. I have had to give up many things I loved. I have been depressed for many months. Please help. Thank you. Constance Hoguet