The Cognitive Behavioral Workbook for Depression: A Step-by-Step Program, Second Edition

William J. Knaus and Albert Ellis

Format: Paperback, 336 pages
ISBN: 9781608823802
Price: $25.95

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Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) is the most widely used treatment for depression for one simple reason: it works. The CBT program in this workbook has helped thousands of readers defeat the depressive thoughts and beliefs that keep them from enjoying life and feeling like themselves. Used alone or in conjunction with therapy, The Cognitive Behavioral Workbook for Depression delivers evidence-based tools you can confidently use to do better, feel better, and prevent depression from coming back.

Through a series of worksheets and exercises, you’ll evaluate your depression and learn key skills for overcoming it. Once you have your depression symptoms under control, you will appreciate the additional information on preventing relapse that is special to this new edition. This workbook also includes twenty-five bonus tips from depression experts that can jump-start your recovery. Recommended by therapists nationwide, this workbook will help you bounce back from depression, one solid step at a time.

Includes worksheets and exercises that will help you:

  • Move past the negative beliefs about yourself that keep you trapped in the depression cycle 
  • Apply behavioral techniques that therapists use with their clients, such as activity scheduling 
  • Discover effective ways to cope with feelings of stress, anxiety, and anger 
  • Avoid procrastinating and learn to anchor the positive changes you make to maintain your progress

“Chock-full of the ready-to-use strategies you will need to help you feel good again.”
—Jon Carlson, PsyD, EdD, Distinguished Professor at Governors State University

This book has received the prestigious accolade of being included in The Albert Ellis Tribute Book Series—created to honor the life and work of Albert Ellis, the founder of rational emotive behavioral therapy (REBT). REBT is one of the most widely-practiced therapies throughout the world and is the foundation for cognitive-behavioral therapy and other evidence-based approaches. These books provide proven-effective treatments and tools to improve psychological well-being, while also supporting advancements in psychotherapy for the betterment of humanity.


“For anyone in the prison of depression, this workbook might help you get out. It’s both scholarly and practical, and leaves no stone unturned in laying out self-help strategies for helping deal with this widespread problem.”
—Frank Farley, PhD, L. H. Carnell Professor at Temple University in Philadelphia, PA, and former president of the American Psychological Association

“William Knaus has been a leading practitioner and teacher of cognitive behavior therapy for over four decades. In The Cognitive Behavioral Workbook for Depression, he draws from his vast store of experience to provide people who struggle with depression practical, usable strategies they can put to immediate use to not only feel better, but to get better. Written in an engaging, accessible manner, the book is chock full of powerful tools that, when compiled into a personal action plan, can both defeat depression and build a happy, productive life. I think this is a substantial book anyone, not just the depressive, will find valuable, and I highly endorse it for both the lay public and the clinical community alike. I know that I will keep it handy for my own personal reference and repeatedly encourage my clients to purchase it.”
—Russell Grieger, PhD, clinical psychologist in private practice, organizational consultant, and adjunct professor at The University of Virginia

“I have waited for this book my entire career! With compassion, flexibility, and scientifically sound earnestness, Knaus helps the depressed reader navigate the wide variety of cognitive behavioral treatments to choose the package that is right for him or her. Second editions often contain few, if any, theoretical concepts and clinical exercises that are significantly different from those in the first edition. Not so with this volume! It is full of fresh ideas and therapeutic assignments that help the motivated depressed individual finally crawl out of self-defeating misery.”
—Barry Lubetkin, PhD, ABPP, founder and director of the Institute for Behavior Therapy in New York, NY

“There are many self-help books on the market, but many are somewhere between vague and incomprehensible. Not this one. Knaus is a true teacher in the mold of Socrates, an instructor who takes you by the hand and leads you step-by-step to a successful outcome. Depression has become virtually viral during the last few years, and this is a book that promises to relieve the distress and delivers on its promise. And you don’t need an advanced degree in psychology to understand the Knaus message. Anyone who can follow the plans to build a model airplane or follow recipe directions can use this book to conquer depression. It is so readable that you’ll think Knaus is standing beside you. Without question, he is the country’s leading expert on the cognitive-behavioral approach.”
—Richard C. Sprinthall, PhD, professor emeritus at American International College and licensed clinical psychologist

“Occasionally a book on depression comes around that is different from the usual dull books on this topic. This is one of those outstanding books. Between its covers, you’ll discover a helpful and balanced approach. The ideas can quickly grab your attention, peak your interest, and titillate your sense of humor. I finished this book smiling, feeling lighter, and being better able to help those suffering from depression.”
—Rev. Thomas A. Downes, PhD, master chaplain at the Academy of Certified Chaplains, REBT supervisor, and cofounder of the Order of Universal Interfaith

“Depression impacts the lives of millions; as many as twenty percent of the world population is affected over a lifetime. A leading cause of disability, depression is a highly serious but largely untreated condition. Knaus presents an up-to-date, evidence-based cognitive behavioral approach that practically anyone can use to defeat and prevent depression. This is probably the best psychological self-help manual on the subject. Besides being immensely beneficial to anyone who reads it, I predict this work will help reduce a lot of suffering in this world. Outstanding!” 
—Sanjay Singh, MD, DNB, PhD, rational emotive education (REE) representative in India

“Knaus has admirably culled the best treatments for depression from the field of cognitive behavioral therapy and integrated them into a highly readable and useful program of self-help. Although the seminal work of Albert Ellis informs the approach, many other contributions to the understanding of depression are seamlessly included. Everyone who wants to know more about clinical depression and its proven treatments can benefit from this comprehensive account.”
—Richard L. Wessler, PhD, emeritus professor of psychology in New York, NY, and developer of cognitive appraisal therapy

“Knaus has written much more than a workbook. This is an uncommonly excellent guide for students, mental health practitioners, and those suffering from depression. He takes complex cognitive behavioral theory and makes it readily understandable. Moreover, by copious use of charts, diagrams, graphics, and questionnaires, he shows how this treatment for depression can be readily applied. This workbook is a self-help pearl as well as a psychotherapeutic gem.”
—V. Rev. Fr. George Morelli, PhD, licensed clinical psychologist, marriage and family therapist, and chairman of the department of chaplain and pastoral counseling of the Antiochian Orthodox Christian Archdiocese

“In this second edition of The Cognitive Behavioral Workbook for Depression, Knaus eloquently and compassionately converts a three-pronged truth about depression—that it is a time-limited state of mind that can be remedied through activity—into a set of incredibly powerful cognitive behavioral tools for defeating depression. Helping you to identify and refute irrational thoughts that may be keeping you depressed, Knaus gently guides you to take action. Read this book, do the exercises, and don’t just find out how to conquer your depression—actually do it!
—Elliot D. Cohen, PhD, author of The Dutiful Worrier

“Knaus has again produced a handbook that is filled with useful ideas and practical exercises to help people overcome a wide variety of challenges. He takes a simple approach with explanations and examples that give people confidence that they can get started without great difficulty. The handbook includes lots of ways to track progress and document the results of exercises, and employs a graduated approach by beginning with simple, less challenging exercises and progressively building to much more challenging issues. Knaus’ book should prove very helpful to anyone wanting to improve their handling of many of life’s challenges.”
—James W. Thompson, PhD, business psychologist

“Knaus’s The Cognitive Behavioral Workbook for Depression provides depressed individuals with all the psychological ‘workouts’ that are needed to pull them out of that state. A great resource for professionals, as well.”
Edward J. Garcia, MA, CSW

“’Simplify and clarify’ seems to be the credo of Knaus. He has distilled his own experience and a thorough perusal of the germane literature into an accessible and succinct series of explanations and exercises that will make profound change in thinking seem facile and, if not effortless, then at least possible.”
—Joseph Gerstein, MD, FACP, founding president of SMART Recovery Self-Help Network and assistant clinical professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School (retired)

“Whether you are solving the problem of depression through medication, professional therapy, or doing it yourself, this book will be of tremendous help. The Cognitive Behavioral Workbook for Depression is chock-full of the ready-to-use strategies you will need to help you feel good again.”
—Jon Carlson, PsyD, EdD, Distinguished Professor at Governors State University

“This is an excellent second edition of Knaus’s workbook for overcoming depression. It contains a clear explanation of the complete range of cognitive behavior therapy techniques for managing depressive episodes and preventing relapse. It includes plans and worksheets one can readily use to keep you on track. I recommend it without reservation.”
—Anthony Kidman, AM, PhD, clinical psychologist and director of the health psychology unit of the University of Technology, Sydney

“Knaus is one of the world’s leading authorities on depression. The second edition of The Cognitive Behavioral Workbook for Depression will be an invaluable tool for the understanding, treatment, and elimination of this complex emotion. If you, a family member, or a friend suffers from depression, you need look no further. The knowledge contained in this workbook can guide you out of a debilitating haze that often leads to a chronic dissatisfaction in life. I cannot recommend it more highly.”
—Vincent E. Parr, PhD, clinical psychologist at the Institute for Advanced Study MRL

“One of the best, most highly readable manuals on overcoming depression I’ve ever seen. It provides explicit methods for identifying and countering the negative thought patterns that underlie depression—but that is just a start. This workbook details a compendium of the best of the empirically proven techniques for mastering depression’s major accompaniments, including self-blame, perfectionism, worthlessness, anxiety, and low frustration tolerance. Knaus then guides readers to set goals and strategies for achieving them in order to move from being enervated to being energized. Most strikingly, this book’s self-help exercises don’t pull the reader into further frustration; they are clear and doable.”
—Janet L. Wolfe, PhD, former executive director of the Albert Ellis Institute and staff psychologist for over thirty-five years

Praise for the First Edition

“Here is a great source for anyone interested in learning the causes, consequences, and cures of depression. The book is a great resource for practitioners seeking effective and efficient ways to assist clients in working their way out of depressive states. It’s an easy read, both informative and well-organized.”
—Joseph R. Ferrari, PhD, professor of psychology at DePaul University and editor of the Journal of Prevention and Intervention in the Community

“How to conquer depression with self-education is Knaus’s gift to readers in his new book, The Cognitive Behavior Workbook for Depression. Drawing on the wisdom of depression experts as well as his own innovative PURRRRS & Depression Inventory, Knaus shows how to reduce the depth and shorten the duration of most depression. He teaches the reader how to quickly identify and overcome the main components of his or her individual depression. Self-disclosure and case examples offer a realistic perspective and encouragement to anyone struggling with depression’s demons. Knaus offers us here a most hopeful book on depression!”
—Deborah Steinberg, MSW, private practitioner and coauthor of How to Stick to a Diet

The Cognitive Behavioral Workbook for Depression is the best bet and the best book I've seen for tackling one's depression. It admirably blends a wealth of research and well-chosen examples into step-by-step procedures for understanding and undermining one’s misery. It is fun to read, easy to follow, and full of optimism.” 
—Emmett Velten, PhD, clinical psychologist, board of trustees member of the Albert Ellis Institute of New York, and founding member of the self-help recovery system that became SMART Recovery®

“I am very impressed with Knaus’s focus on breaking out of the procrastination and debilitating inertia that usually accompanies depression. His expertise on procrastination sets his book apart as a resource that can really make a difference to those seeking to reduce their depressive thoughts and feelings. If you're struggling with depression and this book is in your hands, I encourage you to follow Knaus’ advice and ‘do it now!’ The tools and strategies in this book will certainly help you better understand yourself and move out of the misery of depression.” 
—Timothy A. Pychyl, PhD, associate professor of psychology at Carleton University in Ottawa, Canada, and director of the Procrastination Research Group

Table of Contents




Part 1: Basic Techniques to Defeat Depression

1. Depression Is Not Your Life

2. Your Depression Test and Action Guide

3. A Master Plan to Defeat Depression

4. How to Make Changes That Stick

5. Break a Procrastination-Depression Connection

Part 2: Recognizing and Defeating Depressive Thinking

6. Recognizing Depressive Thinking

7. Confronting Depressive Thinking

8. Albert Ellis's ABCDE Method

9. Ending Worthlessness Thinking

10. Defeating Helplessness Thinking

11. Overcoming Hopelessness Thinking

12. Restraining Blame

Part 3: Building Emotional Resilience

13. Coping with Depressive Sensations

14. Attending to Your Anxieties

15. Confronting Negative Emotions

16. Building Tolerance for Frustration

Part 4: Special Strategies to Anchor Positive Changes

17. Activity Scheduling to Defeat Depression

18. Behavioral Methods to Feel Good Again

19. Avoiding the Pitfalls of Perfectionism

20. Managing Relationships

21. A Multimodal Approach to Defeat Depression

22. Your Relapse Prevention Program


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