on April 16, 2003
I've used this workbook successfully as a therapist at a community mental health clinic serving poorer clients in Tucson AZ. I've used it in individual and group therapy. Frankly, I've found "Mind Over Mood" much more user-friendly than the more popular "Feeling Good Handbook" by David Burns, which contains similar cognitive therapy methods. The "thought record" chart, in particular--the heart of CBT--is more straightforward in Mind Over Mood. They've set up seven intuitive columns, from left to right. Burns's version of this chart, where each situation and emotion is listed separately at the top of the page, tends to confuse people, in my experience.
I really like the way Greenberger and Padesky put in little hint questions in small type at the bottom of the columns, to remind you what you're supposed to be doing without having to go back and read the text. And the book is full of terrific hint boxes which give you questions to ask yourself if you're having trouble understanding the exercises. I have not seen this anywhere else.
Defects? 1) This book doesn't contain the richness of material of the Burns or other CBT workbooks. The chapters on specific conditions at the end are pretty paltry. It's really just a very large book on how to do a thought record. 2) The authors limit evaluating automatic thoughts to "evidence for", "evidence against", and a "reasonable alternative". This rigid empirical model is not suited to everyone or every situation. Surprisingly, there is no discussion of or columns for "cognitive distortions" (Burns) or "disputes" (Ellis). This is a major defect, but one can work around it by expanding what is allowed in the "evidence against" columns.
Overall though, an excellent book for use in clinical settings with general mental health patients. I find myself pulling it out much more often than my other CBT books sitting next to it on my shelf. Once clients get the hang of cognitive therapy, I introduce more sophisticated material; but I haven't found a better starting point.
on October 13, 2004
After years in therapy and various methods (Freudian, Jungian, etc.), it was finally Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) that helped me stop the negative, worrying (a facet of anxiety) voices that blared incessantly in my mind.
I can not recommend this book enough. Its simple exercises will have you seeing the fallacy of your thoughts, which are what determine your mood. The book (and CBT's) superbly simplistic idea is that your THOUGHTS are what control your MOODS. Control your thoughts, and you control your moods. But before we can do this, we have to slow down enough to take the time to see where our thoughts are coming from. This book and its exercises help us find where we are simply WRONG in the thoughts we have about ourselves which lead to depressed or anxious mood.
These exercises will help you determine your "hot thoughts," (automatic thoughts you hold about yourself that are linked to depressed/anxious mood), will help you examine evidence for and against your thoughts, and then help you use this evidence to create NEW THOUGHTS which ought to in turn help you create NEW MOODS.
These techniques are amazingly simple but also incredibly powerful. If you feel stuck in "talk therapy" analysis and can not seem to change the way you think about yourself, this book is for you! However, you should also seek a trained COGNITIVE BEHAVIORAL THERAPIST to teach you the techniques to literally CHANGE your thought process.
Anxiety and depression are more and more common in our society, and much of what causes these mood disturbances is our incorrect/unfounded thoughts about ourselves. Once we learn to manage our thoughts, we learn to change our mood. This book and what it teaches is life-changing.
on July 17, 1999
Depression descends like a veil separating the person from the processes of life and creating a dark closet where videotapes of pain experienced and hope lost play continuously. Turning off the mind videos, transitioning from sad to ok, sleeping and eating on a regular schedule, moving from self-criticism to self-acceptance can be difficult on the best of days. Mind Over Mood provides insightful narratives relating the experiences of others to the experiences I was feeling - I could begin to see the authors' cast of characters in my own mirror and begin healing with them. But more than that, Mind Over Mood contributes hands on tools that have started a process of discovery about how I think, what I'm feeling, how I react and how to chart a balanced life course.
Drs. Greenberger and Padesky are acclaimed in the book's foreword by Aaron T. Beck, the pioneer of cognitive therapy, for their "vision and innovation" as well as their abilities to teach what they practice. It is probable, however, that their contributions to the lives of their readers will be documented as their greatest success. Acknowledging that "emotions generally enrich our lives, (but) too much emotion can be disruptive", the authors provide a framework to sort automatic thoughts and core beliefs about ourselves, others and the world. Mind Over Mood's worksheets prompt insights in the first chapter at the first reading and guide the reader to developing introspective and comprehensive perspectives about seemingly modest predicaments as well as significant events. Their approach is empathetic and their tools are practical as they help all of us enhance our mental flexibility.
As parents struggle to develop well-rounded children, as teachers challenge students to not only think creatively but to think in balanced ways, as managers try to impart emotional intelligence to create agile workers, Mind Over Mood offers an approach appropriate for multiple forums and principles central to improving the quality of all lives. No book is a substitute for the guidance of a qualified and understanding therapist in crisis situations. However, Mind Over Mood clearly provides tools to identify and organize thoughts and moods to feel better and to set action plans that challenge our assumptions, reduce distorted thinking, and establish a solid platform for personal growth and improved relationships. In more basic terms, Mind Over Mood continues to work for me - I carry the concepts with me everyday. I would wish the same comfort for you and your family.
on September 24, 2005
I've NEVER EVER written a review in my life for a book or anything before. I wasn't about to start but after seeing that 1 star from that "Helen" fellow; I had to jump in. It's people like that who expect a magic pill type "Silver Bullet" INSTANT CURE that give everyone else false hopes.
Therapy is hard. Your negative and distorted thoughts cause your suffering. To be "CURED" you have to learn to talk back to your negative thoughts. Talking back to your negative thoughts is hard and painful at times.
At some point, you are going to have to make peace with all the anger, hostility, anxiety, resentment, worthlessness, guilt, shame, hopelessness by bringing those POWERFUL emotions into your conscious awareness. If it was easy, everyone would be able to do it on their own and Therapists would be out of work.
Here's what's worked for me. I used this "WORK"book in conjunction with the the following
1. 10 days to self-esteem by David Burns
2. The feeling good handbook by David Burns
Using those 3 books for about 4 months on my own I would say, I saw about a 40% imporvement. When I got all I could out of these books on my own, I sought the help of a competent therapist.
If you live far away, you may have to travel a little bit. I live about 2 hours from philly and so I have to put aside 5 to 6 hours every week. 5 hours travel time and 1 hour for the therapy session. Your situation may be better/worse than mine but if I can do it, so can you. YOU HAVE OPTIONS !!!
BUT, EVERYTHING HAS A PRICE. If you do the exercies, you will see results. I GUARANTEE YOU. Get this book first and do the exercies. Then get the other two books that I mentioned above. After you get everything out of them that you can, move on to the next level. One of the biggest things that therapists struggle with is patients with conflicting drives. On one level, they want to change but on another level they don't.
If you do the exercises in these books, and if you still need additional help/coaching; when you do go to see a therapist, you will progress at a ridiculous speed (6 months max) simply because you'll already understand the basics and that extra nudge from a caring and competent professional will put you over the top. There won't be anything slowing you down.
Hope this helps and above all, KEEP YOUR EXPECTATIONS REALISTIC.
on November 16, 1999
This book came recommeded by a counselor I hold in high regard. It has been beneficial to me and I highly recommend it to anyone who wants to actively work at having a healthier outlook on life and bettering their relationship with others, the workplace and, above all, themselves.
on February 27, 1999
Together with a counsellor, this book did very well for me, getting me out of my depression in less than a month. Even without a counsellor, I think the book alone would have brought me back to real life and happiness. Health authorities with long waiting lists should hand this out while patients wait to see a shrink - then they might not need the shrink.
on September 27, 2005
While I found this book helpful in understanding more about depression and anxiety, the "self-analysis" techniques it recommends are much too complicated. It attempts to classify and quantify intangibles such as moods and feelings to an impossible degree. For example, it divides moods into 25+ categories such as mad, happy, cheerful, angry, disgusted, panicky, etc. The problem here is defining the exact nature of a mood. Does "mad" or "disgusted" mean the same thing to everyone? Where does "mad" end and "angry" start? Can we really place a mood into a specific "box" that has precisely defined boundaries? Next, it attempts to rate the degree of each of these moods into a numerical scale ranging from 0 to 100. In other words, how much is "mad" is in our "mad" box"? While this approach to the problem may give it the appearance of "science", it is more akin to becoming excruciatingly exact about gross approximations.
The next question is whether the person afflicted with either depression or anxiety can actually view his/her situation impartially from the outside looking in? Highly doubtful! Most likely, the sufferer is "standing too close to the trees to see the forest". Finally, the sheer volume of record keeping suggested by the author is overwhelming. This may work for some, but in my case it simply aggravates my frustration which in turn elevates my anxiety level.
While some of these techniques may prove helpful to professionals and possibly to certain individual cases, they have not been helpful to me. Sorry, but the best I can do is give it the benefit of the doubt with a mid-range rating.
on June 25, 2001
Authors Greenberger and Padesky in their Prologue use the analogy of an oyster creating a pearl out of a grain of sand. In response to an irritation, the oyster encases the particle in a smooth, protective coating, thus providing itself both relief and a thing of value. So too this book will assist anyone with a mood disorder to create relief and their own emotional pearl.
This cognitive workbook helps the anxiety sufferer alleviate mood problems as well as reduce stress, solve problems, and improve self-esteem. It does this by helping the reader identify thoughts, moods, behaviors, and physiological reactions; test usefulness of those responses; and change thinking patterns which are ineffective or dysfunctional.
However, because there is less information on how cognitions, emotions, behaviors, and physiological reactions relate to anxiety or depression than might be useful for greater self-understanding, I think this good book is, in many instances, better as an adjunct to psychotherapy than as a strictly self-help vehicle.
on November 3, 2005
I cannot recommend this book highly enough. Together with medication, the exercises in Mind Over Mood helped me recover from severe depression. They teach you to recognise unhelpful thoughts you have about yourself or others and challenge them, which has a big impact on mood. There are also chapters on making action plans, dealing with guilt and shame, monitoring your progress, and tackling deep-seated beliefs. I began using this book in a therapy group, so it's hard to say how helpful it would be used purely as a self-help book, but the exercises are fairly simple and they do make a big difference. A "must buy" for anyone suffering from depression, anxiety disorders or perfectionism.
on January 27, 2004
If there was ever a book that could change your life, this is one of them. It's so practical, insightful, intelligent, and useful. It has had a big influence on myself, and on my outlook on life. I love the way the authors (Dr's Greenberger and Padesky) use complete and incomplete thought records to "teach" the reader how to do it for him/herself. It has truly been of great help to me in recognizing my own patterns of distorted thinking as well as the "alternative/balanced" thinking which has helped to improve my mood on several occasions. I consider it one of those rare gems that helps the reader to "see the light" (as a true friend would) without forcing it upon him/her.