Does Self-Help Really Help? Or Is It Just Hype? A One-Two Self-Help Punch!

Does Self-Help Really Help? Or Is It Just Hype? A One-Two Self-Help Punch!

 

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.

Hi David,

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.

Sincerely,

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:

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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!

David

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!

Subscribe

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.

 

Depression is the World’s Oldest Con!

Depression is the World’s Oldest Con!

How to Overcome Depression and FEEL GOOD!

Hi folks,

Sometimes I do podcasts for other pod casters in addition to the weekly Feeling Good Podcasts I do with our beloved Dr. Fabrice Nye. If you click the link below, you’ll discover a podcast I did with Larry Weeks that apparently received some excellent feedback from listeners.

Click here for the link on how to overcome depression and the distorted thinking that triggers it. 

Take a look and a listen. He did a really nice job, and I think you’ll enjoy it!

David

 

If you are reading this blog on social media, I appreciate it! I would like to invite you to visit my website, http://www.FeelingGood.com, as well. There you will find a wealth of free goodies, including my Feeling Good blogs, my Feeling Good Podcasts with host, Dr. Fabrice Nye, and the Ask Dr. David blogs as well, along with announcements of upcoming workshops, and tons of resources for mental health professionals as well as patients!

Once you link to my blog, you can sign up using the widget at the top of the column to the right of each page. Please forward my blogs to friends as well, especially anyone with an interest in mood problems, psychotherapy, or relationship conflicts.

Thanks! David

TEAM Training Works! (But only if you work at it!)

TEAM Training Works! (But only if you work at it!)

 

FullSizeRenderHi folks,

I just got an awesome email from a psychiatrist who attended my Philadelphia workshop. You might enjoy it!

David

Hi Dr. Burns,

How are you doing Sir. I’m doing well in Michigan.

Just like to gladly inform you that since attending your workshop in Philadelphia in April 2017, learning from your podcasts regularly, reading your work and going through your previously held workshops on DVDs few times, I have been constantly using your inventive TEAM CBT process with my veteran and non-veteran patients over a year and vigorously for the last six months. Now I can say with confidence that there are miracles happening almost every few days and weeks, as my patients are “feeling good and joyful” in their lives again. They are learning tools to heal themselves and prevent relapses.

 I also feel proud of myself again that I am doing something meaningfully therapeutic for my patients since I left my ophthalmology practice and Pakistan in 1995.

Thank you for awarding me with a new sense of purpose in my life which is to help my patients feel better about themselves and give them the tools to heal them collaboratively.

Thank you again!

I am teaching my Psychiatry Residents (who rotate with me once a week) TEAM-CBT on an ongoing basis, though most are still heavily influenced by the notion of cure via psychopharmacology–though I was of the same opinion, too, back in my residency days.

Sincerely,

Hashim Raza, MD
Diplomate American Board of Psychiatry and Neurology,
Aleda E. Lutz VA Medical Center, Saginaw, Michigan
and Assistant Clinical Prof. of Psychiatry, Central Michigan University, Michigan

Hi Hashim,

It was a real thrill to receive your gracious email. My experience is similar, and I think the more you practice TEAM-CBT the better and better you’ll get. One of the greatest joys of my life is seeing someone recover before my very eyes and get transformed from intense despair and fear to joy. It is, as you say, like a miracle.

We have just started a new Thursday evening class for psychiatric residents at the Stanford Medical School. The residents this year are incredible enthusiastic and fun to teach, and very hungry to learn some good psychotherapy. So I now have two weekly training groups at Stanford. The Tuesday night group has over 30 members, including PsyD students, PhD students, Stanford therapists, and community therapists who can receive unlimited free training and personal work at our Tuesday group.

I also offer Sunday morning hikes for several hours for people in the training groups, followed by a dim sum feast at a local Chinese restaurant. We have great fun on the hikes and do personal work and difficult case consultation. All three events are highlights of my week and my life!

If you come to the bay area, I’d love to have you visit us!

David

If you are reading this blog on social media, I appreciate it! I would like to invite you to visit my website, http://www.FeelingGood.com, as well. There you will find a wealth of free goodies, including my Feeling Good blogs, my Feeling Good Podcasts with host, Dr. Fabrice Nye, and the Ask Dr. David blogs as well, along with announcements of upcoming workshops, and tons of resources for mental health professionals as well as patients!

Once you link to my blog, you can sign up using the widget at the top of the column to the right of each page. Please forward my blogs to friends as well, especially anyone with an interest in mood problems, psychotherapy, or relationship conflicts.

Thanks! David

The Animated David!

The Animated David!

 

One of my students, Kyle Jones, sent me this cute link to an animated version of my work, which is actually pretty good, I think! Let me know if you like it. And thanks a bunch to the creative and brilliant man who created it. I don’t actually know who he is, and would like to find out so I can say thanks!

David

 

If you are reading this blog on social media, I appreciate it! I would like to invite you to visit my website, http://www.FeelingGood.com, as well. There you will find a wealth of free goodies, including my Feeling Good blogs, my Feeling Good Podcasts with host, Dr. Fabrice Nye, and the Ask Dr. David blogs as well, along with announcements of upcoming workshops, and tons of resources for mental health professionals as well as patients!

Once you link to my blog, you can sign up using the widget at the top of the column to the right of each page. Please forward my blogs to friends as well, especially anyone with an interest in mood problems, psychotherapy, or relationship conflicts.

Thanks! David

Feeling Good “Bibliotherapy”–Does it REALLY work? Or is it just hype?

Feeling Good “Bibliotherapy”–Does it REALLY work? Or is it just hype?

“Bibliotherapy” means “reading therapy.” Is there any valid research suggesting that simply reading a self-help book can really help someone with moderate to severe depression? Or is it all just a lot of hype and marketing?

There are actually many published research indicating that my book, Feeling Good: The New Mood Therapy, has fairly potent antidepressant effects, even without treatment with medications or psychotherapy. That sounds encouraging, but is the research valid? Can reading a book actually cure depression? This may not seem possible, given the sad fact that antidepressant medications as well as psychotherapy are often not effective.

So how could someone recover just by reading a book? No way!

Here’s an email I received a few days ago, and I am sharing it with you with the permission of the author. I have withheld his / her name to protect this person’s identity, but want to thank him/her in advance for kindly writing me and allowing me to share this with all of you!

Hello Dr. David,

I just finished your book Feeling Good. My depression score on the first day was 51, and today after I just finished it, I scored 0.

I just wanted to thank you endlessly!

Best Regards, (name withheld)

In case you aren’t familiar with the scoring of my depression test, the one this reader used ranges from 0 (joyous, with no depression at all) to 100 (extremely severe depression.) His / her initial score of 51 indicate moderate to severe depression.

I am always overjoyed to receive emails like this. Since Feeling Good was published, I have received more than 30,000 emails or letters (in the old days) similar to this one.

If you, or a friend or loved one, or even a patient of yours, is struggling with depression or anxiety, you might suggest they give Feeling Good “bibliotherapy” a try. Many outcome studies indicate that my book is effective for two-thirds of patients with moderate to severe depression within four weeks. A three-year follow-up study of patients given copies of Feeling Good are also extremely encouraging, so give it a try. You or someone you care about might also benefit!

All the best,

David Burns, MD

Here are a few references for those of you who are more scientifically oriented:

References

Ackerson, J., Scogin, F., Lyman, R.D., & Smith, N. (1998). Cognitive bibliotherapy for mild and moderate adolescent depressive symptomatology. Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, 66, 685-690.

Floyd M, Rohen N, Shackelford JA, Hubbard KL, Parnell MB, et al. (2006) Two-year follow-up of bibliotherapy and individual cognitive therapy for depressed older adults. Behavior Modification, 30: 281-294.

Floyd M, Scogin F, McKendree-Smith NL, Floyd DL, Rokke PD (2004) Cognitive therapy for depression: a comparison of individual psychotherapy and bibliotherapy for depressed older adults. Behavior Modification,28: 297-318.

Jamison, C., and Scogin, F. (1995). Outcome of cognitive bibliotherapy with depressed adults. Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, 63, 644 – 650.

Mains JA, Scogin FR (2003) The effectiveness of self-administered treatments: a practice-friendly review of the research. Journal of Clinical Psychology, 59: 237-246.

McKendree-Smith NL, Floyd M, Scogin FR (2003) Self-administered treatments for depression: a review. Journal of Clinical Psychology, 59: 275-288.

Norcross, J. C., Santrock, J. W., Campbell, L. F., Smith, T. P., Sommer, R., & Zuckerman, E. L. (2003). Authoritative Guide to Self-Help Resources in Mental Health, Revised Edition. New York: Guilford Press.

Santrock, J. W., Minnett, A. M., & Campbell, B. D. (1994). The Authoritative Guide to Self – Help Books. New York: Guilford Press.

Scogin F, Floyd M, Jamison C, Ackerson J, Landreville P, et al. (1996) Negative outcomes: what is the evidence on self-administered treatments? Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, 64: 1086-1089.

Scogin, F., Hamblin, D., and Beutler, L. (1987). Bibliotherapy for depressed older adults: A self-help alternative. The Gerontologist, 27, 383 – 387.

Scogin, F., Jamison, C., and Davis, N. (1990). A two-year follow-up of the effects of bibliotherapy for depressed older adults. Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, 58, 665 – 667.

Scogin, F., Jamison, C., Floyd, M., & Chaplin, W. (1998). Measuring learning in depression treatment: A cognitive bibliotherapy test. Cognitive Therapy and Research, 22, 475-482.

Scogin, F., Jamison, C., and Gochneaut, K. (1989). The comparative efficacy of cognitive and behavioral bibliotherapy for mildly and moderately depressed older adults. Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, 57, 403 – 407.

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.

If you are reading this blog on social media, I appreciate it! I would like to invite you to visit my website, http://www.FeelingGood.com, as well. There you will find a wealth of free goodies, including my Feeling Good blogs, my Feeling Good Podcasts with host, Dr. Fabrice Nye, and the Ask Dr. David blogs as well, along with announcements of upcoming workshops, and tons of resources for mental health professionals as well as patients!

Once you link to my blog, you can sign up using the widget at the top of the column to the right of each page. Please forward my blogs to friends as well, especially anyone with an interest in mood problems, psychotherapy, or relationship conflicts.

Thanks! David