Dear Dr. Burns --
seem to be a very involved, structured and positive therapist. It has been
difficult to find a therapist that fits this description. I've seen a couple
of "cognitive therapists" but it only ended up being traditional
talk therapy. No one has been able to be consistent with the three column
technique or other strategies.
am very knowledgeable about your strategies but I easily lose focus and get
confused. I need guidance and consistency. What do you recommend therapy
wise? How or where do I find a competent therapist?
This is one of the most common questions I get at this site. Many people want
to know how and where to find a good cognitive therapist, or a good therapist in
First, you can look on my website referral page. You will find a couple
referral lists there for cognitive therapists in various regions. This is a good
place to start.
Unfortunately, only a tiny fraction of cognitive therapists are listed there.
What are your other options?
You can call the local psychological, psychiatric or clinical social work
associations in your region to ask for help. You can also call the corresponding
departments at any local universities to ask. Finally, you will find several
centers for cognitive therapy listed on the my referral page. You can email or
phone them and ask for help. They will sometimes know of someone in your region.
My books can help you learn these methods as well, although they are not
intended as a substitute for therapy with a mental health professional. There
have been five published outcome studies on my book Feeling Good: The New
Mood Therapy. The book has been used as an antidepressant with no other
treatments. The researchers have reported that two-thirds of the depressed
people who were given the book improved or recovered in four weeks
with no other treatment.
Here's a reference to one of their many research studies. It summarizes four previous
studies and provides new data from a three-year follow-up on these
Smith, N. M., Floyd, M. R., Jamison, C., and Scogin, F.
(1997). Three-year follow-up of bibliotherapy for depression. Journal of
Consulting and Clinical Psychology, 65(2), 324-327.
Of course, you can link to the books at this website:
Book Information Page
The Ten Days
to Self-Esteem is a systematic, ten-step program for learning cognitive
therapy individually or in groups. A group leader's manual is also available. This book
presents a brief
and a somewhat simplified version of cognitive therapy.
I have recently completed the Time-Life multimedia version of
cognitive therapy. It includes several new books, along with a videotape and
five audio tapes. You can read about it by clicking here
I wish I could do
more. I have been frustrated by how hard it can be to find a therapist
who adheres to these methods in the way they are intended to be
Finally, I would like to emphasize the
importance of the written Daily Mood Log, which is a five-step process you do on
paper, not in your head. When you write down your negative thoughts you can more
easily attack them, one by one.
All the best,
David Burns, MD