I guess I was destined to become a psychologist---given the experiences that I had. My parents were divorced when I was an infant--my father was an alcoholic and he was unable to support us. We moved back to New Haven Connecticut, lived with my Italian grandparents, and then moved to an Irish working-class housing project. We were poor, but we always had kids to play with and we learned the values of honesty, perseverance, fairness, and keeping your eye on the prize. When I wasn't playing basketball, I was reading everything. My mom told me that she couldn't afford to send me to college, but I insisted I would get a scholarship. Fast forward--- I got my undergraduate degree and PhD at Yale. Later I did my postdoctoral training with Aaron Beck, the founder of cognitive therapy.
I have been interested in helping people overcome depression, anxiety, substance abuse, and relationship issues. Someone asked me, "Don't you get depressed talking to depressed people?", and I respond, "There's nothing more rewarding than helping people overcome depression". I've written and edited fifteen other books for psychologists-- books on depression, anxiety, bipolar disorder, personality disorders, etc. I lecture throughout the world and I am excited that several of my books have been adapted as training texts at leading schools. The great appeal of cognitive and behavioral therapy is that it actually works. People get better. There is hope--even if you feel hopeless.
I have also been fortunate to be able to play a role in professional organizations that promote cognitive therapy. I am the President of the International Association of Cognitive Therapy, President-elect of the Academy of Cognitive Therapy and I serve on a number of international and national committees, boards, and journals. My colleagues and I are helping to coordinate the training of cognitive therapists in Beijing, China, and at The American Institute for Cognitive Therapy we are training psychiatrists and psychologists in cognitive therapy in the New York area. I began working on the popular audience book, The Worry Cure, a few years ago. I decided to write an "honest" and "informed" book---one that drew on the best work by the top people worldwide. I have identified seven steps to overcome worry-- each step reflecting not only my own ideas but the work of leading experts. I am honored that many of them in USA, Canada and the UK have told me personally how much they appreciate the work reflected in this book. I owe a great deal of gratitude to the leading researchers throughout the world who really made this book possible. The Worry Cure tries to provide you with a serious understanding about the nature of worry--- the intolerance of uncertainty, the over-valuation of thinking, the avoidance of emotion, procrastination, the sense of urgency, and the maladaptive beliefs underlying your worry. I try to provide you with a full-range of self-help tools--- realizing that no one of them will work for everyone. A number of our patients at our clinic use the Worry Cure as part of their self-help--and they find it reassuring to know that they can now understand why their worry has persisted and how they can reverse this detrimental process.
The Worry Cure was named by Self Magazine as one of the top eight self-help books of all time. I was stunned when I read that--- my colleague Rene showed me the story in the magazine. But I have been fortunate to have been able to learn from my patients about the nature of their worry and what helps them--and to be able to write something that can make a difference.
My friend, Bill, said to me when I was writing this, "Bob, if you help one person overcome their anxiety it would be worth it." It's like the wise saying, "You save the world one life at a time".
To read more of my work, visit my blogs at Psychology Today (https://www.psychologytoday.com/experts/robert-l-leahy-phd) and the Huffington Post (https://www.huffingtonpost.com/author/robert-leahy-phd).