TEAM highlights or explains ways to disrupt resistance in such a compassionate way. Excellent. I was able to "self-help" and tease out my own resistance using the example of the woman who wouldn't forgive herself for having an abortion. We each have our own things we don't want to give up, and to be guided in identifying them and blessing ourselves for needing to keep them was transformational. It made it OK - it made it a choice to give it up.
I've been suffering from depression since losing my job, and career, at the end of the Great Recession, which caused considerable pain, from both an economic and mental health standpoint, for many. One minute you're on your feet and fully participating in life; the next, you've been laid off and desperately sending out resumes to employers who are deluged with applications. On the one hand, the downturn only accelerated the expected demise of many careers, but now you had no time to transition to new work. It was not a time to be "Feeling Good."
But since I started reading Dr. Burns' book, I can sense a weight being lifted from my shoulders. Depression can be awfully persistent and dogged in its efforts to crumble the psyche, and one of the byproducts of this can be a supreme feeling of inferiority. If you're male at least, you've been trained from an early age to understand that men have a duty to "provide" in life. Once you stop doing that, you feel downright worthless.
But then you understand that everyone has special God-given abilities and can make a difference, and even earn money, by applying the principles of "Feeling Good." The book has the effect of taking you by the shoulders and shaking you until you realize that worthlessness is not real, but imagined. Meditation can also help in retraining the mind to think positive in the face of loss.
I'm just guessing here, but I bet that since 2008 or 2009, there has been an upsurge in the sales of "Feeling Good." It's like therapy in a bottle.
Not enough cat pictures.
I had the great opportunity to have David Burns as my doctor in Phila in the 1980's. I can assure you he is the real deal. A predisposition to anxiety/depression never leaves you; but through him, I have learned the tools to help myself. I have only recently learned about TEAM which is why I am visiting this website. Dr. Burns changed the course of my life & I will be forever grateful! I will always follow his writings & teachings- they are good reminders of the valuable tools to emotional health for me. They take work - but I always get there when using them.
I was introduced to your wonderful work by a therapist. It not only helped me to fight depressive feelings, but it also gave me hope that psychotherapy and self-help techniques can be very effective.
I have seen three different therapists with very little improvement of my distress before. It was expensive, time consuming and disheartening to participate in ineffective psychotherapy. I even felt betrayed and robbed by these therapists, who had no idea how to help me. It was an endless listening and empathy process and just as you discussed on this site, the moment of "What should I talk about?" came and was frustrating. I felt like some reality star, who had to endlessly talk and have the therapist nod, paraphrase, agree and keep the process going.
Thankfully, the process came to an end. I now have discovered powerful self-help tools, that have kept me out of charlatan's offices for more than an year.
I have a supportive counsellor, who has strongly advise me to learn how to utilize the self-help resources developed by you.
I read your self-esteem blog yesterday and it felt very true. In fact, I had come to these ideas on my own in the last few months and I had almost written a version of these "truths" in my own journal.
I wanted to thank you for your dedication to the public and for helping thousands of people overcome suffering.
I am a health professional and I would also like to find out how can I get trained in your methods, given that I live far from Stanford.
The experience with your therapeutic model has literally encouraged me to undertake a career in psychotherapy. I am a beginner in this field, I chose to leave behind my inpatient experience as a psychiatric RN, since I believe it does not provide any useful ground for learning the skills of therapy.
I would appreciate any response I receive from you here or by email.
Wishing you all the best,
I'd have voted "a lot," rather than "moderately," if I knew that martha came to understand, as explained here, that the person seeking help to understand is made, by default, the responsible party. Which makes sense because it's she who went, raised her hand, expressed her problem, etc. but that also means that it's she who will likely take offense, she who could've felt picked on and she who could've become doubtful and uncertain.
I'm sure sexual abuse survivors will be happy t know that they created the interpersonal reality which "forced" them to be violated, as children. How wonderful that children are now expected to be responsible (at least partially) for how adults abuse them.
Matt & Susan were very lucky they didn't get arrested for loitering. Sometimes a reluctance to do something is based on a genuine concern, not simply irrational fears.
I live in Portchester, Hampshire, England, and your book has just been prescribed by my GP (general practitioner) to help with mental health issues. I'm just starting out, I keep at it until I get it, and then move on.
This is my first visit to your website, and this was the first part I looked at. Cats impress me, they just don't care what we think of them. Now I know you like cats, you seem more real to me, and perhaps a little eccentric. That's good. I'll stick with this.
Thanks so much for this great psychotherapy website.
I wanted to qualify what you said in the lovely story about Obie your cat:
"Much of our suffering derives from our perfectionism, and our belief that we should be “special.” But Obie is not special. He’s just an ordinary homeless cat who wandered out of the woods. Although now he is healthy and proud and has gorgeous, glistening fur, he is covered width scars and nicks, and won’t win any cat shows. And I’m not special, either, just an old fat fart of a daddy. But when Obie and I are together, it is pure magic. When you don’t have to be special, life becomes special. This may be what the Buddha was referring to when he talked about “the Great Death,” or the death of the ego."
Beautiful and intelligent as Buddha was, he of course was human and surely didn't actually "achieve" "death" of his ego, not while still alive. Of course total annihilation, or "death", of the ego isn't really healthy, it even seems to be quite an extreme utopian, idealistic, wishful thinking, perfectionistic goal (speaking of perfectionism). Though it's true that, as you said, "much of our suffering derives from our perfectionism" (mine too), it doesn't derive from "our belief that we should be "special"", per se, but more like from our, somewhat instinctual, belief that we should be more "special" than some other person or group. So in a sense, yes, no one is "special", but in a no less important sense, you and Obie, and everyone, is special in your/his/her own special way, which you surely already know and agree with, i felt need to clarify it here after reading your page about Obie, which at first i was just going to read only a bit of and get back to it later but it was so nice and interesting that i couldn't put it down. :-)
I'm a very grateful member of the public, having been introduced to Feeling Good 9 years ago. Thank God for this wonderful work by Dr. David Burns. You taught me the skills to manage depression and it really saved my life. I'm so thankful that I have an open mind, willing to learn how to change my distorted thinking. At the end of the 4 weeks of reading Feeling Good, I literally felt like I had 'won the lottery' and 'got out of prison' all on the same day. It is a wonderful feeling and I have been asked twice to volunteer to tell my story at the local depression clinic which I did with pleasure. I've read a few of Dr. Burns other books and they are great too but I always go back to booster sessions with Feeling Good and my original copy looks like it went through a tornado LOL. I guess in some ways it has. Loved the story of Obie as I am also a cat lover and have been owned by a number of the little furry critters over the years but none so special as my Budster. He's the love of my life (cat version) and he also was a stray but is the most sweet, fun a special cat ever. Thanks again Dr Burns for this story and all your wonderful work. You've been a life saver!!
I find your words to be pompous, your approach manipulative, your phrases trite, and your tone condescending.
Dear Dr. Burns,
I love the story about Obie, who reminds me of Poe, the gray kitty our daughter, Lauren, adopted when Poe was probably between one and two months old. She's always been hyper, and still scratches at us. But she's affectionate, and wants lots of attention. I'm going to try your techniques of progressively petting her in different places. As I remember, she damaged a laptop keyboard by peeing on it.
I also loved reading about your visitor Jeffrey Zeig, especially because I've been so fortunate to know and be treated by Sidney Rosen, another disciple of Milton Erickson. Years ago I was incredibly lucky to audit Sid's workshop for physical therapists at the NYU rehabilitation center, and remember him saying, the more techniques (therapies) you have under your belt, the more ways you have to help a patient. I notice that's exactly what you advocate, too. (My late aunt, Ruth Cuttler, was fortunate to work with Jeffrey Zeig some years ago.)
Tony, my husband, and I love your book Feeling Good, especially, having been started on it years ago with Marty Sloane, a cognitive therapist who worked with Jeffrey Young at the Cognitive Therapy Center in NYC. I love your other books that I recently discovered on relationships and panic disorder. I'm very grateful for all your work, and love that you allow yourself to take credit for it and at the same time remain so humble.
I also love that you've published on your blog your chapter on spirituality, which Ned Hallowell talks about frequently. Jude Powell, an incredibly powerful Reiki healer in London, who's a team leader of an online group called the Distant Healing Network, told me in an email to take a spiritual approach to the age discrimination case I lost and couldn't afford to appeal. Some of the ideas in a book he urged me to read, The Game of Life and How to Play It, written by Florence Scovelle Shinn in the early 20th century, are very similar to hypnosis: to visualize what you want to happen, to catch how dwelling on something negative only reinforces the very thing you don't want, and the importance of language in affecting our thoughts and outcomes.
Thank you for the chance to let you know how important your work has been to us.
CBT may not be much helpful to schizophrenics in some years to come if much research is not done in that angle, a prophet told in the church me he will cure my schizophrenia and tell me what predisposed me, i am looking forward to what will happen in few weeks, he simplified the disorder, I'm very hopeful. Ebeze, Nigeria
I am taking your Scared Stiff Training. This overview helped orient me.