Using Bibliotherapy to Ward Off Depression

Using Bibliotherapy to Ward Off Depression
Dr. David Burns' book, "Feeling Good," was recommended to me as bibliotherapy. I hadn't heard of this therapy before, so I looked it up. Merriam-Webster defines it as "the use of reading materials for help in solving personal problems or for psychiatric therapy." The book cites five studies published in the Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology that illustrate that reading a good self-help book on depression can be the equivalent of treatment with antidepressant drugs. What's more, according to studies, the results are long-lasting. This is great news for people like me who cannot tolerate the psychoactive medications on the market today. After a lifetime of reading self-help books in an effort to relieve my oft-present depression, I wondered why I hadn't achieved the results that Dr. Burns had predicted. After reviewing some of the titles still on my bookshelves, I realized that most of them dealt with the causes of the condition and did not prescribe any treatment. The theory of those authors was that if you understood the source, then that understanding alone would lead to an improvement in symptoms. As a result, I had relived nearly every minute of my childhood looking for clues. Of course, there were conclusions to be drawn. Whether they were correct or not is another issue. The larger issue is that my depression hasn't improved. Dr. Burns' book is a bit different from the other books on depression in that he offers instructions on how to treat it. His approach is to reverse the negative thoughts — which he terms cognitive distortions — that he considers to be responsible for the negative feelings. He believes that once you recognize these distortions and use his techniques to turn them around, your thoughts become more positive and your d
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  1. tracie says:

    I enjoy reading your articles. I can not afford a subscription. Heck, I can’t even afford medicine and food.
    Thanks for the advice.

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