Feeling Good: The New Mood Therapy

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Feeling Good: The New Mood Therapy
Feeling Good The New Mood Therapy.jpg
First edition
AuthorDavid D. Burns, M.D.
SubjectCognitive therapy
PublisherWilliam Morrow and Company
Publication date

Feeling Good: The New Mood Therapy is a book written by David D. Burns, first published in 1980, that popularized cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT).[1]


Feeling Good grew out of dissatisfaction with conventional Freudian treatment of depression. Burns's mentor, Dr. Aaron T. Beck (considered the "father" of cognitive therapy; Dr. Albert Ellis is considered the "grandfather"), concluded that there was no empirical evidence for the success of Freudian psychoanalysis in treating depressed people. The idea that negative feelings such as depression and anxiety are triggered by thoughts or perceptions has a long history, dating back to the Greek philosopher Epictetus, who said that people are disturbed not by things but by the way we think about them.


The book has sold over four million copies in the United States, and has also been published in Argentina, Australia, Austria, Canada, China, France, Germany, India, Indonesia, Iran, Israel, Japan, Korea, Mexico, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Spain, Yugoslavia and many other countries. It was named one of the top ten behavioral science books of 1980 by the journal Behavioral Medicine, while according to The Authoritative Guide to Self-Help Books (New York: Guilford Press, 1994) it is the book most frequently recommended for depressed patients by mental health professionals in the United States. A commentary on Feeling Good is included in 50 Psychology Classics (2006) by Tom Butler-Bowdon.[2]

Benefits of bibliotherapy[edit]

Evidence from six studies suggests that reading Feeling Good as a form of self-directed bibliotherapy had a large helpful effect on treating depression.[3] Evidence from eleven studies supports bibliotherapy generally, when people also have additional guidance. The evidence was limited, because all trials completed only had a small number of participants.[3]

One of these studies found that in older adults with mild to moderate depression, reading Feeling Good with brief intermittent phone check-in sessions was an effective treatment for depression.[4]

In her text on Cognitive Therapy, Beck's daughter Judith S. Beck recommends it as a "layman's book" to be used by patients undergoing CBT.[5]


  1. ^ "History of Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy". National Association of Cognitive-Behavioral Therapists. Archived from the original on May 6, 2016. Retrieved March 8, 2011.
  2. ^ Butler-Bowdon, T.,'Feeling Good: The New Mood Therapy', in 50 Psychology Classics (Nicholas Brealey, 2006).
  3. ^ a b Anderson, L.; Lewis, G.; Araya, R.; Elgie, R.; Harrison, G.; Proudfoot, J. (2005-05-01). "Self-help books for depression: how can practitioners and patients make the right choice?". British Journal of General Practice. 55 (514): 387–392. PMC 1463163. PMID 15904559.
  4. ^ Scogin, F; Jamison, C; Gochneaur, K. "Comparative efficacy of cognitive and behavioral bibliotherapy for mildly and moderately depressed older adults". J Consult Clin Psychol. 57: 403–7. doi:10.1037/0022-006x.57.3.403. PMID 2738212.
  5. ^ Beck. Judith S. (1995). Cognitive therapy: basics and beyond. Guilford Press via Google Books snippet view. p. 41. ISBN 0-89862-847-4.