FEELING GOOD
Posts About Feeling Good: The New Mood Therapy

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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

Priceless and Beyond Valuable

Priceless and Beyond Valuable

Hi, Dr. Burns.

This is Mona, I’m writing to you the second time.

Not sure if you can remember my case with hypochondriasis. I was reading the What-If Technique in your book, When Panic Attacks, and did the exercise, starting with my Negative Thought, “I think I have Hepatitis C or HIV.” As you suggested, I asked myself, “If that were true, what’s the worst that could happen? What am I the most afraid of?” You said you could ask this question over and over, and it was a good way to get at the deepest core fears that fuel our anxiety.

It worked really well, and the end result was, “I’m gonna end up being alone and lonely,” which send tears streaming down my face. As a result, I had a conversation about my fear of rejection with my husband sitting next to me that made me feel very relieved.

Now the second very emotional moment came when I was listening to your podcast describing the case of Ralph which was EXACTLY identical to my case. I couldn’t hold back my tears listening to his struggle and couldn’t stop laughing with my tears coming down when you said the good news is that you’re going to experience the same whenever you have a Hidden Emotion.

I just wanted to let you know that these podcasts are all very constructive and I’d recommend them to anyone who is reading either Feeling Good: The New Mood Therapy, or When Panic Attacks. The podcasts really showcase each technique and make the points made in the books crystal clear.

Dr. Burns, I don’t know how to thank you for all these insights and I would like you to know that your contributions are priceless and beyond valuable.

I don’t really believe in God but if you do, God bless you!

Mona

Thank you, Mona! Your email means a great deal to Fabrice and me. We are so happy that people like the Feeling Good Podcasts and find them beneficial! They are fun to do because I really enjoy working with Fabrice, but I hear from many therapists and non-therapists alike who say they really help, and that is what we hoped might happen.

On one of the Sunday hikes, a young therapist who works with children and teenagers told me that he listed to one Podcast per day for 30 days, and this really boosted his understanding of TEAM-CBT. I could see that this was absolutely true, because he has only recently joined my free weekly training group at Stanford, but his psychotherapy skills are simply zooming forward.

Mona, all the very best to you!

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

 

An Anxiety Question and a Blessing from Turkey for “David Uncle!”

An Anxiety Question and a Blessing from Turkey for “David Uncle!”

Hi Dr. Burns,

whenpanicattacks-sm  Thank you for your life-saving books and blogs. They really help. I have given your book, When Panic Attacks, to others. It is so good! What I admire the most is your empathy and your desire to seek the truth.

I have a simple request. Can you clarify the use of cognitive flooding and thought-disputing? I find these two methods to be quite useful but confusing at times. For example, it doesn’t seem logical to flood my mind with panic thoughts and then turn around and dispute them. Perhaps morning flooding and evening disputing?

I don’t know that a general answer is possible but any thoughts you have are sincerely appreciated. I understand you do not give personal advice and that if you do answer, it will be for the help of many others who follow your blogs and appreciate your insights.

Bill

Hi Bill, Thanks for your kind comments and question. I am embarrassed that I can’t give you a good clear answer. But I’ll try to babble briefly. Remember that there are four treatment models for anxiety, and I use all four with every anxious patient I treat.

  • The Motivational Model—where you bring the anxious patient’s Outcome and Process Resistance to conscious awareness and melt them away.
  • The Cognitive Model—where you challenge the distorted negative thoughts that trigger the anxiety, using a wide variety of techniques such as Identify the Distortions, Externalization of Voices, the Experimental Technique, and so forth. You call this “thought disputing,” but there are more than 50 ways of disputing and crushing negative thoughts.
  • The Hidden Emotion Model—often the overly “nice” anxious individual is sweeping some feeling, conflict, or problem under the rug and not dealing with it. When the patient brings the problem to conscious awareness and deals with it, the anxiety often disappears completely.
  • The Exposure Model—where you flood yourself with anxiety by facing your fears. If you stick with it, in most case the anxiety will diminish over time and then disappear. You call this “cognitive flooding,” although that’s just one of many exposure techniques.

I describe these four models and methods in my recent series of Feeling Good Podcasts on the treatment of anxiety (Podcasts 22 to 28). You might enjoy listening to them, and can link to the first one if you CLICK HERE. All four treatment methods are helpful, but they work in different ways. You never know which method or methods will be the most helpful to any individual.

But I have to confess I don’t “schedule” them as you have suggested. However, that’s not a bad idea! In my experience, depressed and anxious individuals who work with these techniques, and actually try them, including the written exercises, as opposed to just reading about them, nearly always have the best outcomes. So stick with it!

And of course, if you need help or guidance, it never hurts to check with a mental health professional. However, I would personally tend to avoid a psychiatrist as my first choice, as you are likely to get drugs, drugs, drugs. Although I am a psychiatrist, and have prescribed medications on occasion, I find that most depressed and anxious individuals can now be treated quickly and effectively without medications. In addition, research studies indicate that many people recover from depression anxiety on their own after reading one of my books, but if you need a little guidance from an expert, there’s no shame in that at all! Sometimes, we all need a little help from our friends!

Sincerely,

David

 

Hi Dear David Burns,

feelinggood  Firstly, I want to say thanks a lot for you book, “Feeling Good: the New Mood Therapy”! This book has changed my life! Now I love life and enjoy everything in life.

My story started after reading your book second time! Thanks very much! God bless you David uncle!

Sedef (from Turkey)

Hi Sedef,

Thank you so much for your kind and incredible comments, and for your blessing! I am thrilled that you are now loving life and enjoying life! That is like a miracle and the greatest gift a human being can receive.

It is many years since I wrote Feeling Good as a young man, editing it while we were on summer vacation in California, at Lake Tahoe. You might not have even been alive at that time! It seems like a miracle that my words have now touched you, so many miles away. God bless you, too, Sedef!

All the best,

David Uncle

Some Nice Endorsements

Some Nice Endorsements

Hi web visitors,

I have received some very kind comments recently, and wanted to share a couple of them them with you! I hope it won’t sound like excessive self-promotion. Be assured I occasionally get some harsh and disturbing emails as well from individuals who don’t take kindly to some of the views I post. I do encourage criticism, since I am often off base, but sometimes the tone of the criticism can be painful and somewhat shocking. So I guess I am trying, perhaps, to balance that with samples of large numbers of heartwarming emails I receive from so many of you!

As an aside, I also just received a phone call from a patient I had not spoken to in 40 years. In my book, Feeling Good, I described him, and the very intense challenges he presented to me as a young and enthusiastic cognitive therapist, just feeling my way along. I often presented him in the weekly Aaron Beck seminar I attended, where I’d get guidance on especially difficult and disturbing therapeutic dilemmas. But we persisted, and he recovered, and became a leader in the Recovery Incorporated movement, which I have always supported.

Recovery Incorporated is a free of charge self-help group started by Abraham Lowe in the 1930s, and it still serves many individuals throughout the United States. Much like AA, but for depression, in many cities you can attend daily meetings.

Well, it was wonderful touching base again, and he was in tears with gratitude. What a gift that phone call was! He said I changed his life, and I pointed out it was mutual, and that I had gained an enormous amount from the work we did together!

David

Hi Dr. David

Just a quick email to say I am reading your book, When Panic Attacks, again. Just like your first book, Feeling Good, this book on anxiety is a very interesting read and makes a ton of sense! Absolutely fantastic! You are a gifted doctor and author.

Thank you very much,

Kind regards

Shane

Hi Shane,

Thank you! I appreciate your kind note, and I’m sure my daughter will as well. She was my editor, and really helped a lot on the writing.

David

Hello Dr. Burns,

I wanted to send you a quick email to let you know that I truly appreciate your book Feeling Good. I have read several chapters several times and will for years to come! I’m sure I didn’t understand depression before reading Feeling Good, and now I realize that I had been suffering from depression and anxiety pretty much since puberty.

I initially bought the book to help my wife. She has also gone through years of emotional, psychological, spiritual and physical abuse and it has brought her from feeling hopeless every day to feeling good most days. Upon reading it with her, I realized that I also had irrational thoughts which were causing me to miss out on happiness in my life.

I’ve always been very interested in psychology. I’ve listened to a lot of lectures which are available online and I’ve gone through researching the history of psychotherapy, most of which horrifies me because of the unbelievable amount of harm caused. Your methods are by far the most effective I’ve found.

It’s refreshing to see effective talk therapy succeeding in a system which seems to think that pumping people full of anti-depressants (without talk therapy) will correct years of abuse and neglect.

I appreciate your work and your value as a person. Your work has helped at least 10 people I personally know who were suffering. I’ve bought your book for a few of my friends, and all of them said it’s helped their marriages and happiness.

I saw you were in Calgary in November and I really wish I could have come to see your workshop, but hopefully you will be in the area again and I can shake your hand and thank you in person.

Much love from Canada,

Harold

Hi Harold,

Thank you for your kind comments. It is deeply meaningful to hear from someone who has been helped by one of my books. That’s terrific!

You mentioned that you missed me in Calgary. Actually, I will be in Calgary on November 27th of this year (2017) for the large trauma conference sponsored by Jack Hirose and Associates. I will be giving a morning keynote address, followed by a four-hour afternoon workshop, and will illustrate the new, high-speed TEAM-CBT treatment methods for trauma patients who are struggling with depression and anxiety disorders. I will also deliver a two hour evening presentation for the general public (as well as mental health professionals) on Skills, Not Pills for Depression and Anxiety. You can get more details on my workshop page if you CLICK HERE.

If you plan to attend any of my presentations, make sure you come up and say hello so we CAN shake hands!

David

Hi Dr. David,

I’m not expecting a response, nor do I necessarily expect that you read all the messages that come your way, but I feel like I owe you a lot at this point. My dissertation was on reciprocity, and while I do not suffer from too many “should” thoughts directed at others, I do like to practice what I’ve studied.

I consider myself fairly intelligent, generally logical, and have an undergraduate degree in Psychology. All of which made me even more surprised with how much the first couple of chapters of “Feeling Good” resonated with me after suffering pretty badly for a year and a half following a very painful breakup. I feel silly for convincing myself I could never be happy again because I would never find someone to be with. Unproductive at research, a series of non-starting romantic endeavors, “wishing” I didn’t have kids so suicide was an option, not wanting to leave my house, dwelling on what I could have done differently so that I wouldn’t be alone the rest of my life.

I just finished the book after finally picking it up last week (my therapist recommended it a year ago). I realized that these cognitive distortions have been with me throughout my life – not that I’ve been depressed my whole life (although I probably would have claimed that 2 weeks ago). My cause is clearly a love addiction, but I’m not contacting you for therapy!

I’m contacting you because I wanted to say thank you. I feel like I have a strong understanding of the cognitive distortions that have plagued me any time I’ve faced real sad events in my life and I now have tools to combat this now and in the future. I purchased copies of your book for my ex-wife, a recent failed romantic interest, my father, my brother, and I am going to have my 17 year old daughter read through the first three chapters to see if it resonates with her as well.

I never wanted to admit that I might suffer from depression. I kept putting off facing it, even though my mother suffered from depression her whole life. My father is a retired Marine and I was raised to believe that you should be strong enough to overcome challenges “on your own”. That put me at a disadvantage in some ways, but I’m optimistic that my copious notes and highlighting in your book will be with me the rest of my life – or that I’ll never need them after I practice some of the techniques.

Anyways, this is way longer than I intended! Thank you for showing me that the dark mood spirals I’ve experienced throughout my life are treatable and not uncommon. I wish I would have realized this long ago… but I’m trying to avoid “should” thinking, so I don’t let that thought persist!

Don

Hi Don.

Thank you so much for contacting me. Greatly appreciated. And thanks, too, for permission to post your wonderful note!

All the best,