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Ask HN: Cognitive behaviour therapy, tried and tested resources
44 points by petecooper on April 12, 2020 | hide | past | favorite | 12 comments
I'm coming out of an extended spell of mental fog, and I would like to investigate self-administered cognitive behaviour therapy as part of my recovery and treatment. My local health service is running at capacity and so I'm looking at doing this myself, at least initially, in a responsible fashion.

I have a budget for ebooks and online courses. I would be grateful for advice or feedback on what is and is not worth investing time and money in. What works or worked for you or someone you know?

Thank you in advance.

I have had amazing results with David burns books. As a matter of fact his cbt exercises in 'feeling good' have helped me so much that I've turned them into a software for my own personal use. This way I'm able to do his exercises on the phone / laptop very easily. My bdc score dropped from 20 to 5 in 3 months just doing that.

If you've read his books I'd be happy to share the link to my website (but it won't make a lot of sense if you haven't read his book though).

Burns's "Feeling Good" book led me to a breakthrough in my mood management. Now I keep a copy of the Feeling Good Handbook for quick reference beside my desk at all times.

Turning the exercise into software sounds like a great idea. Do you mind sharing your website? I have gone through the book and it might be beneficial

Sure thing. It's at


Unfortunately since I made it for personal use there isn't a lot of documentation. But most of it would be easy to use if you're read the book

Hi.. :-)

Can't seem to get in, sent an email to your support address, got a "No mailbox" response.

edit: i tried it and everything seems to be working for me. you have to register first to load the app (just use any throwaway gmail). let me know the exact issue if you're still having probs.

ohh i guess it's having issues.. this wasnt supposed to be released but I'll have a look :)

also yeah no support or mailbox but if you have questions just shoot me an email (hn profile)

The Australian website "mood gym" has an evidence base and is sometimes recommended by English NHS therapists. https://moodgym.com.au/

The book "Mind over mood" is also recommended by English NHS therapists: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Mind-Over-Mood-Second-Changing/dp/1...

The NHS has a page of apps. I don't have much experience with these, but the page does tell you how they assess apps: https://www.nhs.uk/apps-library/category/mental-health/

Good luck!

David Burns’ books are very good. Make sure to do the exercise as you go along to get the full effect. Also if your local health service is full, there are online options available, which can help complement the self work. This article is a good overview of the topic: https://www.caredash.com/articles/what-is-online-therapy-and...

I had a hard time being convinced by the usual 2/3-pagers that tell you CBT will change your life and then going straight to "just close your eyes and breathe and focus on your nose". It irks me to be told what to do and not why. If your brain works like mine then this suggestion might be useful, otherwise probably not so much.

I found a used version of Mindfulness and Psychotherapy[1], which is designed as an introduction and contextualization of mindfulness, aimed at therapists. Because of that, it gives more details and helped me see behind the curtain, which is what a lot of therapists don't think about sharing.

An example of that: early on, there is a discussion between the usage of "client" versus "patient" to refer to the people therapists will help (which would be you), and their choice of using "patient" - as it means "one who bears suffering" -, instead of client - which means "one who puts themselves under the protection of a patron -, holds the implication the therapists are there to alleviate suffering.

[1] https://www.amazon.com/Mindfulness-Psychotherapy-Second-Chri...

Russel Brand's book and video course were great for me - wasn't particularly what I needed but really opened my eyes to some of the cognitive distortions I have.

John Kim's books I also found useful.

[random advice from the internet]

Ask your therapist for recommendations. It's the sort of thing that can be handled telephonically. Under clinical protocols, it probably adds a contact note to your chart which will enable follow up or bring a different practitioner up to speed (possibly, if they actually read your chart). In short there are not likely to be any downsides to asking...and in a time of stress, softballs from someone doing well is likely to be a bright spot in the midst of your therapist's grim regularity. Good luck.

If you're interested in philosophy, Stoicism might help. A lot of CBT is based off of stoic principles. In fact the book, "How to Think Like a Roman Emperor" goes through that history and teaches you some really useful CBT techniques.

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