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Question: As a one who read the book, how do you rate this book?
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Author Topic: Feeling Good - David D. Burns, MD  (Read 19329 times)
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« on: August 24, 2008, 04:55:23 PM »

Feeling Good: The New Mood Therapy
Author: David D. Burns, MD
Publisher: Harper; 1980, Revised edition (October 1, 1999)
Paperback: 736 pages
ISBN-10: 0380810336
ISBN-13: 978-0380810338



      Take Depression Test


Book Description
Many of our members suffer from depression from years of being in an invalidating home environment.  Feeling Good is the book most frequently "prescribed" for depressed patients by psychiatrists and psychologists. Surveys indicate that American mental health professionals rate Feeling Good as the #1 book on depression, out of a list of 1,000 self-help books.

In Feeling Good, David D. Burns, M.D., outlines scientifically proven techniques that will help you emerge from depression and develop a more positive outlook on life.

– Deal with guilt
– Handle hostility and criticism
– Overcome addiction to love and approval
– Build self–esteem

About the Author
David D. Burns, M.D. graduated magna cum laude from Amherst College, received his M.D. from Stanford University School of Medicine and completed his psychiatry residency at the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine. He has served as Acting Chief of Psychiatry at the Presbyterian / University of Pennsylvania Medical Center (1988) and Visiting Scholar at the Harvard Medical School (1998) and is certified by the National Board of Psychiatry and Neurology.

Dr. Burns is currently Adjunct Clinical Professor Emeritus of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences at the Stanford University School of Medicine, where he is involved in research and teaching. He has received the A. E. Bennett Award for his research on brain chemistry, the Distinguished Contribution to Psychology through the Media Award, and the Outstanding Contributions Award from the National Association of Cognitive-Behavioral Therapists. He has been named Teacher of the Year three times from the class of graduating residents at Stanford University School of Medicine.

In addition to his academic research, Dr. Burns has written Feeling Good: The New Mood Therapy (4 million copies in the United States).
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« Reply #1 on: June 16, 2009, 03:36:35 PM »

Four (4) million copies have been sold in the United States.

Proven Effective in Research Studies

Few self-help books have been empirically tested in clinical studies. In a study published September 1, 2010 in the Journal of Clinical Psychology in Medical Settings, researchers concluded that a behavioral prescription for  Feeling Good, The New Mood Therapy by David D. Burns, M.D. may be as effective as the standard of care, which commonly involves face to face therapy and antidepressant medicines (1).  This is the fifth study on this landmark book which  bpdfamily.com credits as being a significant catalyst in the advancement of Cognitive Behavior Therapy (CBT) in modern clinical therapy. This type of treatment is known as bibliotherapy.  Feeling Good is the book most frequently "prescribed" by psychologists for patients undergoing Cognitive Behavioral Therapy.  CBT is a method developed by Aaron T. Beck in the 1960s.

Depression Common in Families with a person Suffering from Borderline Personality Disorder.[

In a recent survey of 700 members, 81% of  bpdfamily.com participant reported symptoms indicative of mild to severe depression.  Members suffer from depression after years of being in an invalidating home environment.  Some have even advanced to a state of "learned helplessness". Feeling Good is the book most frequently "prescribed" by psychologists for patients undergoing Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT). Clinical studies have shown patient improvement by just reading the book - a treatment known as bibliotherapy.

10 'Cognitive Distortions' in Depression

In one well known part of the book, Burns discusses 10 'Cognitive Distortions'. Here, he lays out a plan for recognizing faulty thinking, how these thoughts affect our moods, and how to correct these distortions.

~ All-or-Nothing Thinking
~ Overgeneralization
~ Mental Filter
~ Disqualifying the Positive
~ Jumping to Conclusions
~ Magnification and Minimization
~ Emotional Reasoning
~ Should Statements
~ Labeling and Mislabeling
~ Personalization




1= Journal of Clinical Psychology in Medical Settings, Vol. 17, No. 3. (1 September 2010), pp. 258-271
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« Reply #2 on: March 06, 2010, 08:47:49 AM »

What a book! I've had my copy for years.

It helps me separate feelings from reality.

I really like the exercises on distorted thinking where you separate a paper into columns, write out the distorted thoughts and "put the lie" to them.
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« Reply #3 on: June 21, 2010, 10:21:33 PM »

This book is a life saver to us Non's trying to keep our sanity in a difficult relationship.  I use this book frequently as a resource when I'm having a tough time.  Can't say enough about this one!
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« Reply #4 on: June 21, 2010, 10:47:41 PM »

Absolutely EXCELLENT book : )
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« Reply #5 on: October 05, 2010, 04:59:16 AM »

I would recommend this one, for sure.

The only complaint that I have about CBT is there are so many labels for various thoughts. I actually find it more useful to label dysfunction thinking as just that, dysfunctional. Does it really matter if its Magnification or Disqualifying the Positive? Once you identify the though as incorrect, you can still challenge it, which IMHO is what the process of CBT is about.
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« Reply #6 on: January 07, 2017, 04:07:03 PM »

Just wanted to bump this with a little about my personal experience with this book.  The techniques are based on cognitive behavioral therapy, basically transforming your emotional experience by transforming your thoughts.  In just a short amount of time, I have made some real strides.  I still have days that are a struggle, but I have techniques that I have put to the test multiple times that short-circuit the tendency to spiral down into gloom. 

Anyone who is battling with depression, negative self talk or pessimism would be doing themselves a huge favor by reading this book.  Make sure to actually do the exercises!  You won't be sorry.   
« Last Edit: January 07, 2017, 04:16:33 PM by ellefun2 » Logged

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« Reply #7 on: January 07, 2017, 06:03:35 PM »

The only complaint that I have about CBT is there are so many labels for various thoughts. I actually find it more useful to label dysfunction thinking as just that, dysfunctional. Does it really matter if its Magnification or Disqualifying the Positive? Once you identify the though as incorrect, you can still challenge it, which IMHO is what the process of CBT is about.

Agreed - really liked the book, but a bit overwhelming with all of the different labels. If you post a list of them on your wall, it helps.

Overall, a great read and lots of exercises to work through.  Even my uBPDw liked it.
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« Reply #8 on: January 07, 2017, 11:33:59 PM »

The advice in this book makes sense in reality in my opinion. Going through a BPD relationship we loose touch with reality, we tend to live in a reality where we are never good enough; Dr. Burns shows us that when we are depressed we don't see things the way they actually are-the negative filter continually brings us down, once we are able to see things clearly our depression lifts.
This book is good for anyone who has suffered from low self esteem and depression.
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« Reply #9 on: January 09, 2017, 01:57:26 AM »

I'm dyslexic so a very selective reader. But this book was engaging and easy to read. Best of all I could quickly see and then feel how it was helping me.
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« Reply #10 on: January 13, 2017, 08:21:48 AM »

I think this is an outstanding choice for the feature.

I found that the simple explanations to the concepts made them easy to access. The writing made the reading enjoyable.

I can see how others may find the thought labels overwhelming, but I enjoyed the detail. I did some of the exercises and the detail helps to distinguish the labels. When the correct label is applied to a thought, a well-fitting label would make the discussion on that thought make more sense. The summary pages helped.

There is a walkthrough on how to perform self-adjustment of particular labels. I think this is very powerful. Despite being busy, I believe I benefitted a lot from using this application. I skipped the diagnostic step as I had an adequate idea of where I'd measure upon the standardised mood scaling.

I saw the relationship with BPD dialogues as getting stuck in a loop with the distortions. E.g. all-or-nothing thinking is clearly applicable to with-BPD persons.

I still found it enjoyable and practical despite being out of a pwBPD relationship.

I think it's a good choice for the member base with respect to how members self-identify.
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« Reply #11 on: January 25, 2017, 01:50:04 PM »

I discovered that there is a "Fastreads" version of the book - "Summary of Feeling Good".  I picked it up from Amazon as a Kindle book for $3.  I haven't gotten around to reading it yet, but it looks like a good alternative for those who want to get to the heart of material quickly.


Summary of Feeling Good by D. Burns MD
Author: Instaread Summary
Publisher: Idreambooks (August 23, 2016)
Paperback: No. Mobile phone download
ISBN-10: 1683784464
ISBN-13: 978-1683784463




The Book in Three Sentences

    All your moods are created by your thoughts.
    When you’re depressed, your thoughts are dominated by a pervasive negativity.
    The negative thoughts which cause your depression nearly always contain gross, cognitive distortions.

The Five Big Ideas

    “Every bad feeling you have is the result of your distorted negative thinking.”
    “Your thoughts create your emotions; therefore, your emotions cannot prove that your thoughts are accurate.”
    “Every bad feeling you have is the result of your distorted negative thinking.”
    “Your feelings result from the meaning you give to the event, not from the event itself.”
    “You Are Wrong in Your Belief That Suicide Is the Only Solution or the Best Solution to Your Problem.”

Feeling Good Summary

    “The first principle of cognitive therapy is that all your moods are created by your ‘cognitions’, or thoughts.”

    “The second principle is that when you are feeling depressed, your thoughts are dominated by a pervasive negativity.”

    “The third principle is of substantial philosophical and therapeutic importance. Our research has documented that the negative thoughts which cause your emotional turmoil nearly always contain gross distortions.”

    “Every bad feeling you have is the result of your distorted negative thinking.”

    “Every time you feel depressed about something, try to identify a corresponding negative thought you had just prior to and during the depression. Because these thoughts have actually created your bad mood, by learning to restructure them, you can change your mood.”
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« Reply #12 on: January 25, 2017, 02:18:06 PM »

Some additional aspects of he book...

Specific Methods for Boosting Self-Esteem

  •   Talk Back to That Internal Critic!
  • Train yourself to recognize and write down the self-critical thoughts as they go through your mind.
  • Learn why these thoughts are distorted
  • Practice talking back to them so as to develop a more realistic self-evaluation system.

The Triple Column Technique

Ask yourself, “What thoughts are going through my mind right now? What am I saying to myself? Why is this upsetting me?”

“When you are down on yourself, you might find it helpful to ask what you actually mean when you try to define your true identity with a negative label such as ‘a fool’, ‘a sham’, ‘a stupid dope’, etc. Once you begin to pick these destructive labels apart, you will find they are arbitrary and meaningless. They actually cloud the issue, creating confusion and despair. Once rid of them, you can define and cope with any real problems that exist.”

Three Crucial Steps When You Are Upset

Zero in on those automatic negative thoughts and write them down.

Read over the list of ten cognitive distortions. Learn precisely how you are twisting things and blowing them out of proportion.

Substitute a more objective thought that puts the lie to the one which made you look down on yourself.

    “Whether your critic is right or wrong, initially find some way to agree with him or her.”

    “Your feelings result from the meaning you give to the event, not from the event itself.”

    “Irrational should statements rest on your assumption that you are entitled to instant gratification at all times.”

The following two guidelines will help you to determine when your anger is productive and when it is not.

    Is my anger directed toward someone who has knowingly, intentionally, and unnecessarily acted in a hurtful manner?
    Is my anger useful? Does it help me achieve a desired goal or does it simply defeat me?

    “If you have a ‘should’ or ‘shouldn’t’ rule that has been causing you disappointment and frustration, rewrite it in more realistic terms.”

    “You will notice that the substitution of one word—‘it would be nice if’ in place of ‘should’—can be a useful first step.”

    “The rationale for eliminating your ‘should’ statement is simple: It’s not true that you are entitled to get what you want just because you want it.”

    “Remorse or regret are aimed at behavior, whereas guilt is targeted toward the ‘self.’”

    “Sadness is a normal emotion created by realistic perceptions that describe a negative event involving loss or disappointment in an undistorted way. Depression is an illness that always results from thoughts that are distorted in some way.”

    “When a genuinely negative event occurs, your emotions will be created exclusively by your thoughts and perceptions. Your feelings will result from the meaning you attach to what happens. A substantial portion of your suffering will be due to the distortions in your thoughts. When you eliminate these distortions, you will find that coping with the ‘real problem’ will become less painful.”

    “Although your distorted negative thoughts will be substantially reduced or entirely eliminated after you have recovered from a bout of depression, there are certain “silent assumptions” that probably still lurk in your mind. These silent assumptions explain in large part why you became depressed in the first place and can help you predict when you might again be vulnerable.”

    “A silent assumption is an equation with which you define your personal worth. It represents your value system, your personal philosophy, the stuff on which you base your self-esteem.”

    “Choose any activity, and instead of aiming for 100 percent, try for 80 percent, 60 percent, or 40 percent. Then see how much you enjoy the activity and how productive you become.”

    “You Are Wrong in Your Belief That Suicide Is the Only Solution or the Best Solution to Your Problem.”

    “When you think that you are trapped and hopeless, your thinking is illogical, distorted, and skewed.”

    “Nihilism is the belief that there is no truth or meaning to anything, and that all of life involves suffering and agony.”

    “Nearly all suicidal patients have in common an illogical sense of hopelessness and the conviction they are facing an insoluble dilemma. Once you expose the distortions in your thinking, you will experience considerable emotional relief.”

    “Your feelings of hopelessness and total despair are just symptoms of depressive illness, not facts.”

    “I let the following rule of thumb guide me: Patients who feel hopeless never actually are hopeless.”
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« Reply #13 on: March 12, 2017, 04:08:01 PM »

I found "Feeling Good" to be interesting and helpful.  The chapter on Approval Addiction was interesting and applicable.  I feel the need for approval.  This is not good, especially when approval is so difficult to come by from my spouse.  For example, ":)id it ever occur to you that if someone disapproves of you, it might be his or her problem?  Disapproval often reflects other people's irrational beliefs."  There is practical advice about learning to think differently about disapproval.


The book gives easy to follow steps to overcome problem thinking and build self esteem.  I would recommend adding it to your library.
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