I’m excited to announce that my new book is available! It was a no-brainer (not trying to make a pun) when I was approached by a publisher and asked if I wanted to write a book that summarizes the cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) I provide for anxiety and depression. I’ve thought a lot about how to make these evidence-based treatments more widely available, and a user-friendly guide seemed like one good avenue.
As I began to write this book, I talked with my wife about how I wanted to approach it. Most of the writing I’ve done in this area is very academic, and I knew that wasn’t what someone reading this book would need. She suggested I imagine writing it for someone I love, which I knew at once felt right. And although it made the writing easy, that mindset was also tinged with sadness. I knew the people I care about most in this world would no doubt experience their own challenges with anxiety and depression, and so in a real way I was writing for them.
Lots of people were involved directly and indirectly in the making of this book; I thank many of them in the Acknowledgments. I wanted to pay tribute to one person in particular, Dr. Chris Erickson, who left this world after a long illness almost exactly 5 years ago at the age of 47.
Dr. Erickson was my professor and mentor when I was in a master’s program at The George Washington University. She steered me toward CBT, and provided warm and wise advice about applying to PhD programs. I took up many hours of her time—probably more than she had to give, I realize in hindsight—as she helped me navigate the application process. I doubt she knew how much she influenced me, or how grateful I am for her support.
My grandfather Frank Rollin Gillihan, to whom I dedicate this book, also died at the age of 47. He fought in the Pacific theater during World War II and came home a different man, haunted by the horrors he’d witnessed during multiple invasions. In 1967, 8 years before I was born, he took his own life, as so many of our returning veterans continue to do.
Why am I marking this occasion with these sad remembrances? I want to honor the inspiration for this book, both those who helped me along the way as well as those who couldn’t find the help they needed to ease their suffering. And while I’m so pleased to see this book in print, I’m also aware of the gravity of the topic. If someone buys my book, they’re in pain in some way—whether from depression, anxiety, or both—or perhaps the book was purchased for a loved one who has struggled to find help.
For those who follow the step-by-step plan laid out in Retrain Your Brain, I hope you find it helpful. I want as many people as possible to benefit from the tools of CBT as countless others have, including me.
I will be posting additional content to supplement the workbook over the coming weeks. If you have questions or comments, I look forward to hearing from you.