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Feeling Good : The New Mood Therapy is available at

Feeling Good : The New Mood Therapy

by David D. Burns, MD, Aaron T. Beck (Preface)

Do you ever think that your personal and professional life may be hampered by periods of depression? Perhaps Feeling Good: The New Mood Therapy by Dr. David D. Burns can help you identify and counteract causes of depression in yourself and in others.
Published by Avon Revised April 1999,  ISBN 0380731762 [Book]
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Chances are quite high that you or someone close to you suffers from some form of mood disorder such as clinical depression.  But there is no need to despair.  Feeling Good: The New Mood Therapy by Dr. David D. Burns provides a refreshingly accessible and common sense approach to understanding and reducing depression. Here is the contents of the pocketbook edition:

  • Part I. Theory and Research
    1. A Breakthrough in the Treatment of Mood Disorders
    2. How to Diagnose Your Moods:
      The First Step in the Cure
    3. Understanding Your Moods:
      You Feel the Way You Think
  • Part II. Practical Applications
    1. Start by Building Self Esteem
    2. Do-Nothingism: How to Beat It
    3. Verbal Judo: Learn to Talk Back When You're Under Fire of Criticism
    4. Feeling Angry: What's Your IQ?
    5. Ways of Defeating Guilt
  • Part III. "Realistic" Depressions
    1. Sadness is Not Depression
  • Part IV. Prevention and Personal Growth
    1. The Cause of It All
    2. The Approval Addiction
    3. The Love Addiction
    4. Your Work is Not Your Worth
    5. Dare to Be Average!—
      Ways to Overcome Perfectionism
  • Defeating Hopelessness and Suicide
    1. The Ultimate Victory:
      Choosing to Live
  • Coping with the Stresses and Strains of Daily Living
    1. How I Practice What I Preach
  • Part VII. The Chemistry of Mood
    1. The Consumer's Guide to Antidepressant Drug Therapy

The book includes a self-evaluation questionnaire called Beck Depression Inventory that you can use to periodically assess your mood (click here for an online version).  From there, David Burns describes what Cognitive Therapy refers to as Cognitive Distortions:

  1. All-or-Nothing Thinking
  2. Overgeneralization
  3. Mental Filter
  4. Disqualifying the Positive
  5. Jumping to Conclusions
  6. Magnification (Catastrophizing) or Minimization
  7. Emotional Reasoning
  8. Should Statements
  9. Labeling and Mislabeling
  10. Personalization

David Burns describes each Cognitive Distortion and provides tools for preventing them.   The book is rich in personal accounts and revealing examples of role-playing based on real therapy sessions.  Even if you do not suffer from depression, Feeling Good: The New Mood Therapy provides a fascinating glimpse into the techniques, rewards, and challenges of Cognitive Therapy and of a modern psychiatrist.

Feeling Good: The New Mood Therapy is a good read and can help many people achieve a long and satisfying life.

Book reviewed by Greg Dixon
Saturday, August 7, 1999

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Subject keywords: depression mood therapy psychiatry cognitive therapy self-help psychology