[ BOOKS ] ✯ Feeling Good: The New Mood Therapy Author David D. Burns – 1sm.info

Feeling Good: The New Mood Therapy The Good News Is That Anxiety, Guilt, Pessimism, Procrastination, Low Self Esteem, And Other Black Holes Of Depression Can Be Cured Without Drugs In Feeling Good, Eminent Psychiatrist, David D Burns, M.D., Outlines The Remarkable, Scientifically Proven Techniques That Will Immediately Lift Your Spirits And Help You Develop A Positive Outlook On Life Now, In This Updated Edition, Dr Burns Adds An All New Consumer S Guide To Anti Depressant Drugs As Well As A New Introduction To Help Answer Your Questions About The Many Options Available For Treating Depression Recognise What Causes Your Mood Swings Nip Negative Feelings In The Bud Deal With Guilt Handle Hostility And Criticism Overcome Addiction To Love And Approval Build Self Esteem Feel Good Everyday I wanted to enjoy and recommend this book, but I suspect they must have extensively rewritten the newer edition I don t see how any self respecting person can get far being called delusional and silly among other things, over and over again The tone of this edition is just horrible, and the blame the victim mentality on top of the dismissal of often life saving medications, forced me to just give up on this book before I was even through the first three or four chapters.As a former psych I wanted to enjoy and recommend this book, but I suspect they must have extensively rewritten the newer edition I don t see how any self respecting person can get far being called delusional and silly among other things, over and over again The tone of this edition is just horrible, and the blame the victim mentality on top of the dismissal of often life saving medications, forced me to just give up on this book before I was even through the first three or four chapters.As a former psych student, I know the theories contained in Cognitive Behavioral Therapy are legitimate and can be really helpful in recovery from many levels of depression, but you would never know it from this edition of this book.Again, I can t speak for the newest edition which is hot on the stands right now Many years ago I had a confluence of tragic events in my life and I decided to see a psychologist for a while One day the psychologist told me that I needed to deal with my feelings I told him in frustration that I heard that many times before, but that I did not understand what that meant I asked him what exactly do people do when they deal with their feelings He was silent for a few moments and then he wrote the name of this book down on a slip of paper This book will tell you how to Many years ago I had a confluence of tragic events in my life and I decided to see a psychologist for a while One day the psychologist told me that I needed to deal with my feelings I told him in frustration that I heard that many times before, but that I did not understand what that meant I asked him what exactly do people do when they deal with their feelings He was silent for a few moments and then he wrote the name of this book down on a slip of paper This book will tell you how to deal with your feelings.You may get an instant change in your feelings on some small issues, but for the most part cognitive therapy is like jogging to lose weight You have to do it consistently and for a while to get significant results No magic, you have to work, but you will get good results.One of the symptoms of depression is not seeing things as they are Since cognitive therapy works on learning to see things as how they are a person with severe depression might benefit from seeing a psychologist who specializes in cognitive therapy Such a therapist can help a person see around their blind spots whereas a book can not If you can love and respect yourself in failure, worlds of adventure and new experiences will open up before you, and your fears will vanish It is an interesting statement on contemporary culture that practical, self help books are often looked down on as lowbrow, unsophisticated, and unworthy of serious consideration Just note how often in reviews of self help books you come across the phrase, I don t normally read books like this, or the like Of course, skepticism regarding books of th If you can love and respect yourself in failure, worlds of adventure and new experiences will open up before you, and your fears will vanish It is an interesting statement on contemporary culture that practical, self help books are often looked down on as lowbrow, unsophisticated, and unworthy of serious consideration Just note how often in reviews of self help books you come across the phrase, I don t normally read books like this, or the like Of course, skepticism regarding books of this kind is merited, especially when you take into account the amount of quackery, chicanery, demagoguery, and baloney in print Indeed, I think it s fair to say we have a veritable advice industry in our culture today, with a great deal of money to be made and thus lots of enterprising, unscrupulous people peddling various forms of nonsense, hoping to get rich Self help books now sell so well that they have to be excluded from non fiction sales rankings, because if they weren t the top 10 best sellers would be an endless parade of one self help book after another But why are so many people willing to pay for and devour book after book, getting swept about by the ceaseless winds of doctrine, navigating their lives through fad after fad Fashionable ways of running and ruining your life have always been with us yet I think there is another aggravating factor at work in the present day Recently I read two history books, one about Ancient Greece and the other about Rome As I learned about the philosophies of education in those societies, I noticed how central were the ideas of ethical and moral teaching I don t mean ethical in the narrow sense of right and wrong, but in the wider Greek sense, used by Aristotle, the Stoics, and the Epicureans how to cultivate wisdom, how to live a well regulated life, how to deal with the hardships and misfortunes that are so often thrown our way These were primary concerns of pedagogy By contrast, our current education system, as least here in the States, has deemphasized ethical teaching almost completely.There are, of course, many reasons for this, and many of them are good ones but I do think it leaves a certain gap in our culture that self help books partially fill Unfortunately, from what I can tell, many of these seem rather mediocre or worse But this book, by David D Burns, is for me one of the exceptions It is an interesting and, for me, an extremely useful book, based on a well studied and much tested therapeutic technique.Burns s aim in writing this book was to popularize the methods of Cognitive Behavioral Therapy CBT , a therapeutic technique developed by the psychologist Aaron T Beck, among others The premise of CBT is very simple your moods are caused by your thoughts, so by controlling your thoughts you can control your moods At first sight, this may seem like complete nonsense our moods come and go, and our thoughts simply take on the timbre of whatever mood we happened to be in, right This seems to be what most people assume certainly I did Yet consider this scenario, which actually happened to me My boss scheduled a meeting with me out of the blue I immediately started thinking that I hadn t been doing a good job recently, so I began to panic, sure I was about to get fired Eventually, this panic turned to indignation, as I convinced myself of the injustice of the situation, since I worked hard and tried my best So, literally trembling with anxiety and outrage, I went to the meeting and sat down and my boss said We re giving you a bonus, because you ve been doing so well Congratulations Suddenly, all my negative feelings turned into joy.This I think well illustrates the central idea behind CPT All of my negative and positive emotions in this scenario were due to my interpretation of the event, not the event itself I made the false assumption, based on no evidence, that I was going to be fired I thought of every mistake and imperfection in my work over the last month or so, and convinced myself that I was doing poorly and that termination was imminent Then, I persuaded myself that I wasn t given adequate resources or support, and that the situation was unjust And when I was finally given the bonus, I interpreted that to mean I was doing a good job and that I was getting all the support I needed which were equally tenuous interpretations Thus you can see how my mood was a direct product of my thoughts.All of my negative assumption in the above paragraph contain what Burns calls warped thoughts, or cognitive distortions These are irrational patterns of thinking which have been found to be common in depressed and overly anxious patients The CBT interpretation of depression is that these thinking patterns are not caused by depression, but actually cause depression In other words, depression results from persistent, unrealistic negative interpretations of one s life and experience, leading one to focus solely on the bad and to feel hopeless about the future Burns gives a list of 10 types of warped thoughts, but in my opinion there is quite a bit of overlap in the categories The distortionsor less boil down to the following Making negative assumptions, whether about the future or about what someone else is thinking Assuming that one s emotions accurately reflect reality Over generalizing a small number of negative occurrences into an inevitable trend Willfully ignoring all of the positives to focus solely on the negative Thinking in black and white categories Making unjustified should or ought statements about the world without considering other people s perspectives Feeling that you are responsible for things over which you have no control Labeling oneself and others with vague pejoratives.The first part of this book is dedicated to allowing the reader to recognize these types of thoughts and to combat them This most often is just a matter of writing these thoughts down and exposing the distortions that lay beneath Simple as this sounds, I ve found this to be remarkably effective As you might have guessed from the above example, I am rather prone to anxiety and during this summer, my anxiety was getting to the point that I felt incapacitated I was driving my friends and family nuts with my constant worrying and nobody, including myself, knew how to deal with me Luckily, I heard about a site called MoodGYM, which is a website developed by the Australian National University for people dealing with anxiety and depression, using the techniques of CBT Desperate for some relief, I completed the reading and activities on the website, and found that I felt much, much better Impressed, I looked for books on CBT techniques, and of course came across this one.What most intrigued me about CBT was the emphasis on accuracy The techniques weren t based on the premise that I was somehow damaged or filled with strange desires, nor did they include any amount of self delusion or wishful thinking Quite the reverse the whole emphasis was on thinking clearly, basing beliefs on evidence, avoiding unreasonable assumptions, and seeing things from multiple points of view Take anger Very often though not always , our feelings of indignation simply result from seeing an event through a narrowly selfish lens We don t get the job we interviewed for, and we feel cheated someone beat us to that parking spot, and we feel outraged But when we consider these scenarios from the perspective of the boss or the other driver, the situation suddenly seems muchjust and fair they are pursuing their own interests, just like we are So simply by looking at the situation from multiple points of view, and thus understanding itfully, our feelings of anger are cooled.When I began working through the techniques in the book, I was astounded by how often these types of distortions plagued my thinking It would almost be funny if it wasn t so unpleasant I could twist any situation or piece of information into somehow reflecting negatively on my character Everything bad in the world confirmed my negativity, and everything good only served to reproach me and to make me envious and resentful The good news was that, when I began to recognize these illogical patterns of thought, it was extremely easy for me to correct them and for the past month or so I ve been feeling a great deal happier and calmer.After teaching the reader several personal and interpersonal techniques strategies for dealing with oneself and otherseffectively Burns moves on to examining some of the underlying assumptions that give rise to warped thinking It turns out that these all involve equating one s value or worth with some extrinsic good, whether it be approval, love, success, fame, or even skill There is, of course, nothing wrong with enjoying the approval of others, the thrill of love, the sense of accomplishment, or the satisfaction of a job well done The problem arises when, instead of enjoying something, we use it to measure ourselves.To use a somewhat silly but germane example, how many people believe that those who readbooks, bigger books, harder books, are somehow superior to people who don t I ve certainly been guilty of this but it is pretty clearly an absurd position when I think about it, and one that I couldn t possibly defend on any valid moral or intellectual grounds What on earth does it even mean to be a superior person Superiority only makes sense when we have some quality we can measure, such as wealth or strength but when we say superior by itself, what quality do we mean Worth How do you measure that You can try being clever and say By the number of books you read or something, but that s clearly circular reasoning If you are a humanist or religious, you might say that you have worth just from the fact of being alive but then of course everyone is equally worthy and there s no sense in feeling worthless.In the non Goodreads population, I suspect book addiction isn t a big problemoften, people feel down because they imagine that approval, love, money, or expertise is necessary to be a worthwhile and happy person But the absurdity of this kind of thinking is revealed when you consider how many famous, beloved, rich, virtuosic, brilliant, successful people there have been, and still are, who are deeply depressed and feel worthless and hopeless Short of torture, there are no circumstances in life that guarantee unhappiness and the same goes for happiness This is not to say that you shouldn t try to change or improve your situation, only a reminder you that the way you interpret a situation is often as important as the situation itself, if notso I cannot hope to sum up the entire book in the space of this review but I hope what I have included has convinced you that it s at least worth looking into After all, by definition, nothing feels better than happiness Of course, the book isn t perfect Burns s writing style is nothing remarkable, and it is occasionally tacky but I think that it s excusable considering that he s a therapist, not a writer, and that he s trying to reach a popular audience One flaw that I thought was less easy to excuse was Burns s exclusive focus on straight couples in his sections on love and relationships Burns writes in a purely heteronormative vein, not even acknowledging same sex couples, which is difficult to justify, considering the higher rates of depression and anxiety among gays and lesbians not to mention others in the LGBTQ community I hope this is changed in future additions.A criticism I am tempted to make, but which I actually think is unfair, is that CBT makes people passive, accepting, andcontent with the status quo It sometimes seems as if Burns is telling people not to try to change their circumstances, but rather to accommodate themselves to them I think this is unfair for a few reasons No matter how powerful we may be, there will always be things in life which we cannot change and which we simply have to accept so developing the tools to do so without frustration or anger is useful for everyone What s , real depression and anxiety are not conducive to effective action Quite the opposite depression often makes people apathetic and anxiety makes people feel too overwhelmed to do anything Besides, you can t solve a problem unless you can see it clearly, and the thinking patterns associated with depression and anxiety lead to a total inability to see problems clearly and to deal with them rationally So I think accusations that this book is somehow reactionary or that it leads to passivity are unfair.To sum up this already overlong review, I just hope I ve convinced you that this book might be extremely valuable to you or to someone you know It certainly has been for me Now I no longer feel that I am at the mercy of my moods or emotions, or that my sense of self worth or confidence is dependent on my circumstances And I d say these benefits definitely outweigh the tacky cover and the corny title, don t you Oh, and if the book seems like too big a commitment, MoodGYM is pretty swell too, despite additional corniness of course I read this along with my daughter, a high school senior, facing enormous stress as she navigates ACT scores, college applications and senioritis Her doctor recommended this book at our last visit and I decided to read it in support of her It s a good, if basic book on cognitive behavioral therapy The problem is that it is 700 pages long and in my opinion it could easily have been covered in 200.

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