I’m happy to announce that I’ve got a new book coming out on May 22, 2018. It’s called Cognitive Behavioral Therapy Made Simple and is being published by Althea Press, who also did Retrain Your Brain. I wanted to share a bit about what led me to write this book and why I’m excited about it.
As the title suggests, I wanted to give people a painless introduction to CBT. I figured that the typical reader isn’t looking for entire chapters on the research evidence for CBT, or a bunch of technical jargon. When we’re feeling overwhelmed by anxiety, depression, or anger, we need something that’s easy to pick up and use right away.
To that end I organized the book so you can find what you need when you need it. Each chapter covers a specific area like setting goals, managing anxiety, controlling anger, or beating procrastination. Chapters are further divided into sections that address individual topics; in the chapter on procrastination, for example, there are sections on punctuality and using a to-do list, among others. Find what you need and use as much or as little as you like.
Broader Range of Conditions
In Retrain Your Brain I was focused on ways to manage depression and anxiety. In CBT Made Simple I devote a chapter to dealing with excessive anger, and have also more explicitly addressed ways to manage stress. I also address health and well-being in a broad sense.
The issues we deal with are often interconnected—our physical health affects our mental health, our relationships influence our health habits, etc.—so it makes sense to approach our well-being holistically. Hopefully this book can be a “one-stop shop” for many people.
One of the things I’m most excited about is that I could include an entire chapter on the principles and practices of mindfulness. As you probably know, these practices are very important to me, and while I mentioned them in passing in Retrain Your Brain, I really got to dive into them in CBT Made Simple.
Mindfulness is the simple yet powerful idea that by being fully present in our lives—right in the now of this moment—we can live a much richer and less punishing life. When we join presence with an openness to our experience, we have a much easier time dealing with the vicissitudes of life.
In the chapters on anger, worry, procrastination, and self-kindness, I present mindfulness-based techniques that can help in these areas.
Think Act Be
On a related note, I realized that the Think Act Be framework was a perfect fit for this book, since I was presenting mindfulness-infused cognitive behavioral therapy. I’m really happy to hear that this idea seems to resonate with people, providing an easy way to remember three approaches we can use when we’re feeling overwhelmed. It also seems like a simple approach that aligns with the spirit of this book.
I was thrilled that my former supervisor and research mentor, psychologist Rob DeRubeis, PhD, agreed to write the foreword. Rob was an integral part of my graduate education from Day 1. He was an invaluable member of my dissertation committee, and welcomed me into his research group even though I was not doing research with them.
Rob’s lab has produced tremendously valuable research findings over the years. For example, they’ve shown that medication for depression is better than placebo only for people with really severe depression, and that CBT and medication are equally effective for treating depression.
Most of what I learned about cognitive therapy came from Rob’s practicum, which I enjoyed so much I did it 3 years in a row. So often in my therapy sessions I find myself invoking things I learned from his supervision that have become an essential part of my approach. I also strive to be a supervisor like he was, encouraging therapists in their own style rather than trying to mold them into a narrow idea of what I think a therapist should be.
Being Good to Yourself
Sometimes we can ignore the most basic elements of feeling well—eating a healthy diet, getting enough sleep, moving our bodies, and spending time with people we care about, to name some of the most important. If the fundamentals of our lives are strong, we’ll have a much better chance of staying on our feet when we meet life’s stresses. Unfortunately our culture often treats self-care as a “time-permitting” afterthought.
I wrote chapter 10, “Be Kind to Yourself,” for these reasons—as an antidote to chronically neglecting our needs. I also include sections on taking stress management seriously, practicing gratitude, serving others, and spending time in nature.
You can pre-order the book on Amazon, and the publish date again is 5/22/18. I look forward to hearing what you think!