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Excerpted from Feeling Good: The New Mood Therapy by David Burns. Copyright © 1999 by David Burns. Excerpted by permission of HarperCollins Publishers, Inc.  All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher. HTML and web pages copyright © by SpiritSite.com.
 

"I have been centrally involved in the development of cognitive therapy, and this book is the first to describe these methods to the general public."

  David Burns, Feeling Good, Part 1

Depression has been called the world's number one public health problem. In fact, depression is so widespread it is considered the common cold of psychiatric disturbances. But there is a grim difference between depression and a cold. Depression can kill you. The suicide rate, studies indicate, has been on a shocking increase in recent years, even among children and adolescents. This escalating death rate has occurred in spite of the billions of antidepressant drugs and tranquilizers that have been dispensed during the past several decades.

This might sound fairly gloomy. Before you get even more depressed, let me tell you the good news. 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. A group of psychiatrists and psychologists at the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine has reported a significant breakthrough in the treatment and prevention of mood disorders. Dissatisfied with traditional methods for treating depression because they found them to be slow and ineffective, these doctors developed and systematically tested an entirely new and remarkably successful approach to depression and other emotional disorders. A series of recent studies confirms that these techniques reduce the symptoms of depression much more rapidly than conventional psychotherapy or drug therapy. The name of this revolutionary treatment is "cognitive therapy."

I have been centrally involved in the development of cognitive therapy, and this book is the first to describe these methods to the general public. The systematic application and scientific evaluation of this approach in treating clinical depression traces its origins to the innovative work of Drs. Albert Ellis and Aaron T. Beck, who began to refine their unique approach to mood transformation in the mid-1950's and early 1960's.* Their pioneering efforts began to emerge into prominence in the past decade because of the research that many mental-health professionals have undertaken to refine and evaluate cognitive therapy methods at academic institutions in the United States and abroad.

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