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The Feeling Good Handbook Paperback – May 1, 1999

334 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From the Back Cover

"A wonderful achievement – the best in its class."
—M. Anthony Bates, Clinical Psychologist, Presbyterian Medical Center, Philadelphia

"Clear, systematic, forceful."
—Albert Ellis, Ph.D., President, Institute for Rational-Emotional Therapy

"This book makes a difference. Anyone who experiences emotional distress (that is, everyone) will find this book invaluable. Dr. Burns represents dozens of helpful exercises in his inimitable, lively, and self-revealing style."
—Jackie Persons, Ph.D., Associate Clinical Professor, Department of Psychiatry, University of California at San Francisco, and Director, San Francisco Bay Area Center for Cognitive Therapy.

"Dr. Burns has done it again. He has provided us with clearly described and practical guidelines for dealing with fears, anxieties, panic attacks, procrastination, and communication problems . . . invaluable."
—Marvin Goldfried, Professor of Psychology and Psychiatry, State University of New York at Stony Brook

If you are looking for sound, workable advice on how to change your life a little or a lot, this is the book for you."
—Robert L. Leahy, Ph.D., Director, Center for Cognitive Therapy, New York


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 768 pages
  • Publisher: Plume; Revised edition (May 1, 1999)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0452281326
  • ISBN-13: 978-0452281325
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 1.6 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.7 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (334 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #3,130 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

David D. Burns, M.D., a clinical psychiatrist, conveys his ideas with warmth, compassion, understanding, and humor unmatched by any other writer in the self-help field. His bestselling Feeling Good: The New Mood Therapy has sold more than three million copies to date. In a recent national survey of mental health professionals, Feeling Good was rated number one--from a list of more than one thousand--as the most frequently recommended self-help book on depression. His Feeling Good Handbook was rated number two in the same survey.

Dr. Burns's entertaining teaching style has made him a popular lecturer for general audiences and mental health professionals throughout the country as well as a frequent guest on national radio and television programs. He has received numerous awards including the Distinguished Contribution to Psychology Through the Media Award from the Association of Applied and Preventive Psychology. A magna cum laude and Phi Beta Kappa graduate of Amherst College, Dr. Burns received his medical degree from the Stanford University School of Medicine. He is currently clinical associate professor of psychiatry at the Stanford University School of Medicine and is certified by the National Board of Psychiatry and Neurology.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

711 of 721 people found the following review helpful By Phil on September 2, 2001
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
In both this book and its predecessor ("Feeling Good"), David Burns has done an excellent job of putting tools into our hands so we can change the feelings and behaviors that we want to change. The tools in this book that I've found most helpful include (i) instruments to measure both anxiety and depression, (ii) a "pleasure-predicting sheet," (iii) a daily mood log to help identify and change unwanted feelings, and (iv) tools to help you overcome procrastination.
I agree with another reviewer who said that this book and "Feeling Good" overlap to a great extent, and I recommend this one. You don't need to read "Feeling Good" first, and the worksheets in this "Handbook" are larger and easier to copy and work with.
While Dr. Burns uses tools from cognitive behavioral therapy, I strongly recommend that you also obtain "A Guide to Rational Living," by Albert Ellis. Dr. Ellis invented rational (cognitive) behavioral therapy in the mid-1950s and still writes, lectures, and works with clients. While Burns' books are generally better written than Ellis', Dr. Ellis teaches you how to use cognitive techniques more effectively than Dr. Burns does. Instead of just showing you how to recognize faulty thinking that produces unwanted feelings and behaviors and think of alternative thoughts, Dr. Ellis teaches you how to PERSUADE YOURSELF that this faulty thinking is both irrational and counter-productive. In my view, the difference in their approaches is similar to that between an intellectual discussion and a thoroughly persuasive speech. In order to make the desired changes, you need to convincingly and powerfully persuade yourself to change your thinking.
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209 of 214 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on June 14, 2004
Format: Paperback
This is a crucial book to evaluate for those suffering from depression but skeptical of the effectiveness of most psychologists and self-help books.
Burns is one of the biggest popularizers of cognitive-behavioral therapy, one of extremely few therapeutic forms that have stood up to any scientific scrutiny. Over the last 20 years, CBT has become the predominant form of therapy practiced by psychologists. This book is intensive CBT, much more involving and direct than the form practiced in most psychologists' offices.
Burns takes a very simple approach: he does not place any weight on diagnostic categories or figuring out "why" people behave the way they do or the roots of their problems. Instead, every depressed thought is traced to irrational thought processes. Why those thought processes were developed is irrelevant; the challenge is identifying one's distortions and learning to think more rationally.
Contrary to some reviewers' opinions, I believe this book is best for people who have long-term depression in the medium range (recurrent major depression or dysthymia), with substantial experiences with psychologists. Clearly for more extreme cases - a manic depressive or a suicidal person - the first course of action should be a psychiatrist or psychologist, not a self-help book. This book requires a very high level of involvement and personal responsibility. I believe that it is patients who think of themselves as having a medical problem, seeing psychologists and taking medication for years and perhaps feeling dependent on them, who will at some crisis point become frustrated, develop the energy and motivation to work through a book like this and benefit the most from it.
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395 of 420 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on May 22, 2002
Format: Paperback
Many people don't buy into the whole "root of your problems" mentality that seems to infect the mental health fields nowadays. That's understandable. There certainly is something to be said for a more pragmatic, straightforward approach to the treatment of certain mental states. It is to this group of people that Dr. David Burns addresses his Feeling Good Handbook.
The methods in The Feeling Good Handbook are aimed at helping those suffering from depression, anxiety, and other "mild" mental issues to train themselves into healthy mental patterns. Burns has put together a series of writing exercises and journaling that is intended to help readers recognize fallacies in their thought processes. He then spends a great deal of time on each of these fallacies of thought and how to overcome them.
Burns is an avid supporter of cognitive therapy. It is obvious that Burns feels the best way to mental health is through learning to master these negative thought processes. Furthermore, he states outright that it is possible to train yourself to be positive and happy by following these exercises.
Like most self-help books, Burns' popular book has both positive and negative attributes. Burns has managed to accurately classify the thought traps that those suffering from clinical depression and anxiety fall into. He also presents them in such a way that they are easily memorable and will often return to the reader's mind throughout the course of the day. Burns also includes a surprisingly accurate quiz to gauge the progress of the reader.
However, Burn's book depends very heavily on the reader following his instructions with exactness--and some of them are extremely tedious. This is, perhaps, not the best way to help those suffering with depression.
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