David D. Burns, M.D., is a psychiatrist and author on mood and relationship problems. His books include the bestseller, Feeling Good, which has sold over three million copies in the United States. Surveys indicate that American mental health professionals rate it as the top self-help book on depression. In the book, Dr. Burns shows how you can lift your spirits and develop greater self-esteem and a positive outlook on life.
Dr. Burns 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 and as visiting scholar at the Harvard Medical School. Dr. Burns is certified by the National Board of Psychiatry and Neurology.
Dr. Burns is currently adjunct clinical associate professor of psychiatry and behavioral sciences at his alma mater, the Stanford University School of Medicine. In 1998, 2000, and 2001, he received the Teacher of the Year award from the class of graduating residents there. When he is not teaching or actively doing research at Stanford, he lectures to civic and professional groups throughout the United States and Canada.
Dr. Burns has received a number of awards, including the A. E. Bennett Award in 1975 from the Society for Biological Psychiatry for his research on brain chemistry and the Distinguished Contribution to Psychology through the Media Award in 1995 from the Association of Applied and Preventive Psychology.
• Depression is an illness and not a necessary part of healthy living. What’s more important—you can overcome it by learning some simple methods for mood elevation.
• The first principle of cognitive therapy is that all your moods are created by your “cognitions,” or thoughts. A cognition refers to the way you look at thing—your perceptions, mental attitudes, and beliefs. It includes the way you interpret things—what you say about something or someone to yourself. You feel the way you do right now because of the thoughts you are thinking at this moment.
Dr. David Burns’s primary focus is helping people to deal effectively with depression, anxiety, and low self-esteem. Is depression a major issue? Absolutely. The World Health Organization reported that major depression is the #1 cause of disability in the world. In the United States, 17 percent of adults experience at least one episode of major depression during their lives (Kessler et al., 1994).
In years past, depression was treated either chemically, through traditional psychotherapy, or through some combination of the two. Yet during the past 30 years, a new revolutionary treatment was developed, known as cognitive therapy. Cognitive therapy has been described as “a fast acting technology of mood modification that you can learn to apply on your own.” Dr. Burns’s book, Feeling Good: The New Mood Therapy, shows you how.
At 736 pages, Feeling Good was the first and most comprehensive book designed to describe these methods to the general public. It is Dr. Burns’s most successful work. In the book, he explains what the simple mood-control techniques of cognitive therapy provide:
1. Rapid Symptomatic Improvement: Research indicates that two-thirds of patients with major depressive episodes have recovered in just four weeks after receiving a copy of Dr. Burns’s book, Feeling Good: The New Mood Therapy, even though these patients received no other treatment during that period of time.
2. Understanding: A clear explanation of why you get moody and what you can do to change your moods. You will learn what causes negative feelings, how to distinguish “normal” from “abnormal” emotions, and how to diagnose and assess the severity of your problems.
3. Self-control: You will learn how to apply safe and effective coping strategies that will help you break out of bad mood. You will learn to develop a practical, realistic, step-by-step self-help plan. As you apply it, your moods can come under greater voluntary control.
4. Prevention and Personal Growth: You will learn to prevent future mood swings by changing the self-defeating attitudes (like perfectionism) that make you vulnerable to painful mood swings. You will learn how to challenge your assumptions about the basis for human worth.
If you or someone you know suffers from depression, Feeling Good is the book to start with. It gives you the details behind the scientifically proven techniques that can lift your spirits and help you develop a positive outlook on life.