David D. Burns, M.D.

Amongst many other achievements in a very long and distinguished career, David D. Burns M.D. is probably most famous as the author of “Feeling Good: The New Mood Therapy”, a book which more than any other is responsible for thrusting CBT into the public consciousness in the early the 1980s, and has since gone on to sell in excess of 4 million copies in US alone.

This episode was a pretty special event for me. Not only because David is a huge figure in the cognitive therapy movement, while this is still a piddly little podcast with barely any listeners. But on a personal level because this very book had a massive impact on me during the peak of my struggles with mental illness, and gave me the impetus needed to take control of my situation. So it’s crazy that here I am almost two years later, well on the way to recovery, and interviewing him for a podcast.

Dr. Burns is currently Adjunct Clinical Professor Emeritus of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences at the Stanford University School of Medicine. He has received numerous awards, including the A. E. Bennett Award for his research on brain chemistry, the Distinguished Contribution to Psychology through the Media Award, and the Outstanding Contributions Award from the National Association of Cognitive-Behavioral Therapists.

In addition to Feeling Good, which also boasts the distinction of being the book most frequently “prescribed” for depressed patients by psychiatrists and psychologists in the United States and Canada, Dr. Burns has written a number of other popular books on mood and relationship problems, such as “10 Days to Great Self Esteem“, “When Panic Attacks“, and “The Feeling Good Handbook“.

He’s the creator of the Burns Depression Checklist, a 25 point questionnaire used by mental health professionals to detect and measure the severity of patient depression, which some of you may have filled out during the consultation phase with your therapist.

He’s also hosted a TEDx talk about “Feeling Good” which has so far amassed more than 95,000 views and counting on YouTube.

During the course of today’s episode we discuss the origins and trajectory of David’s career, the chemical imbalance “myth”, his phenomenally successful self-help book “Feeling Good: The New Mood Therapy”, the 10 cognitive distortions, his development of a new approach to cognitive therapy known as T.E.A.M therapy, and much more.


David’s Recommended Links

FeelingGood.com – David’s website

Books Mentioned in This Episode

51xcjb2p9ll-_sx295_bo1204203200_     51m2iplcvl-_sx327_bo1204203200_     41hbx0x7e3l-_sx311_bo1204203200_     5116886kqtl-_sx299_bo1204203200_


3 replies
  1. HappywithDepression
    HappywithDepression says:

    I really loved this podcast! I’m currently reading “feeling good” and blogging a bit about it along the way 🙂 CBT in form of videos and books helped me to deal with a lot of negative thinking patterns but I guess I have to further improve (I currently am on a ~40 score and came from an ~80 score on the Burns Depression Checklist)!

    I’ve listened to most of your podcast episodes and think you’re doing a great job with picking interesting topics and asking the questions that have to get asked! Keep up the great work 😀

    • Danny Whittaker
      Danny Whittaker says:

      Hi HwD,

      Thank you for the feedback. Good to hear that CBT is working for you. Feeling Good is a brilliant book, ESPECIALLY if you actually sit and do the written exercises and stick with it for the recommended 8-12 weeks.

      I had a few false starts myself, taking a very casual approach, doing the exercises when I just kinda felt like it. It was only when I became consistent that my improvement began to skyrocket.

      Best of luck, Danny

      • HappywithDepression
        HappywithDepression says:

        Hey Danny,

        thanks for your reply! I took a very casual approach myself with the first self-help-book I read. I had really bad slip-ups on the way but in the end it helped me a great deal to progress.

        You’re so right: Consistency is key! After my last major depressive episode I was so desperate that I started binge-watching and -listening every self-help-video and -podcast I could find. It took me a month but that really got rid of most of my constant negative thinking and I learned realizing when to take a step back and reframe my thinking when necessary.

        Best of luck to you, too!


Leave a Reply

Want to join the discussion?
Feel free to contribute!

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.