How to Befriend, Tame, Manage, and Teach Your Black Dog Called Depression Using CBT

Accessible CBT techniques, CBT principles, CBT worksheets, and on-line CBT resources for depression in a nutshell

Non-Fiction - Self Help
190 Pages
Reviewed on 11/22/2016
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Author Biography

I am a Consultant Clinical Psychologist and the Managing Director of the West Suffolk CBT Service. I have post-graduate qualifications in both Clinical Psychology and Counselling Psychology. I work very closely with Dr Nicola Ridgeway. Dr Ridgeway is a Consultant Clinical Psychologist and a former lecturer on cognitive behaviour therapy (CBT) at the University of East Anglia, Norfolk, England, and the University of Essex. She is currently the Clinical Director of the West Suffolk CBT Service Ltd.

    Book Review

Reviewed by Arya Fomonyuy for Readers' Favorite

How to Befriend, Tame, Manage, and Teach Your Black Dog Called Depression Using CBT by Dr James Manning is a powerful book with a message that will undoubtedly help millions of people battling their “black dogs” of depression. “Black Dog” has been used before by writers to describe the symptoms of depression, and, in this book, the author uses it in a very creative way. It is very interesting to see how he introduces a kind of interaction between the reader and these symptoms, by carefully using the symbol of the “Black Dog” and portraying how it reacts to the different responses and scenarios.

Dr James Manning’s book is very informational, written in a simple style, with most of the psychological jargon that could make reading complicated to the average reader cut out completely. Starting from the way the mind works, the author leads the reader to powerful truths about depression and its symptoms and how to handle them. Readers will understand why what they have been doing to combat depression doesn’t work. They will understand the way their “Black Dog” operates, and create the best strategy to combat stress, keep depression at bay, allay their fears, and regain emotional health and freedom.

How to Befriend, Tame, Manage, and Teach Your Black Dog Called Depression Using CBT has a very direct sub-title that indicates what readers will find in the book: "Accessible CBT techniques, CBT principles, CBT worksheets, and on-line CBT resources for depression in a nutshell." This book is a great tool for professionals working with people with emotional problems and those battling depression. It comes with many tools that can be accessed online. This is a book for everyone who wants to achieve inner freedom and keep their sanity amidst the stress and challenges of today’s competitive work environment.

Charles Remington

The following, rather cumbersome, title should in no way deter you from reading this important work: How to Befriend, Tame, Manage, and Teach Your Black Dog Called Depression Using CBT. This book on Cognitive Behavior Therapy by Dr James Manning describes the origins of the term "Black Dog" and shines a light on some of the individuals who have suffered from depression, including Winston Churchill. But perhaps most illuminating are the details of Dr Manning’s personal battles with his own Black Dog - these are dealt with in the Introduction, after which the narrative moves on to succinct easy-to-follow chapters which describe the causes, physiology, symptoms and strategies to deal with the Black Dog of depression. Worksheets are provided within the book where appropriate, together with internet links to useful videos and additional resources. Each chapter also includes a message from the Black Dog, whose objective is not to harm you, but as Dr Manning so eloquently points out, is there to help you.

As a layman, I was astonished by how accessible I found this book to be, and as I am not suffering from depression I was also surprised at how useful I found it. The early chapters which deal with the way the brain works were logical, easily understood, and surprising to the extent that one learns that depression can actually cause physical damage to parts of the brain. We all have black thoughts and bleak days when we are down, and here again I found some of the exercises described in the book useful and, best of all, effective.

I also found the messages from the book’s Black Dog strangely comforting. For example, the message at the end of chapter two reads: ‘I will often visit you if you have experienced long periods of stress. Unabated stress gradually wears down your pre-frontal cortex. When this happens it is difficult to quieten down the noise in your mind and to call off emotional reactions.’ How to Befriend, Tame, Manage, and Teach Your Black Dog Called Depression Using CBT has left me wondering, with all the stress of modern living, how many of us have a Black Dog of which we may not be aware, but which is trying to be heard. Whether you consider that you have depression or not, I would strongly urge you to read Dr Manning’s outstanding book.

Melissa Tanaka

How to Befriend, Tame, Manage, and Teach Your Black Dog Called Depression Using CBT is a wonderfully written self-help book by Dr. James Manning that aims to help readers successfully deal with their depression by using Cognitive Behavior Therapy (CBT) strategies. The term “Black Dog” is used to personify symptoms of depression; doing so allows readers to better understand the role it plays in their lives and how they can gain control over it. One thing that makes this book successful is the fill-in sheets, which are used to track activities or practice different exercises to de-escalate or resolve various issues. Manning often models how they are supposed to be filled out so that readers can fully understand what exactly they are doing, followed by a blank sheet for you to do on your own and apply it to your own life.

How to Befriend, Tame, Manage, and Teach Your Black Dog Called Depression Using CBT is a thorough look at depression and the power that CBT strategies can wield. While some sections are more science related or in-depth, Manning maintains an easily understandable approach on the subject that prevents readers from becoming overwhelmed with an influx of information. One thing I appreciated about this book is how Manning reiterates that therapy is not an end-all solution, but instead that the techniques and exercises learned from therapy may be constantly utilized throughout your life. This serves as a reminder that the use of therapy, medication, etc. is not and should not be looked down upon, but rather looked to as an avenue for a better life.

Faridah Nassozi

Many people are living with the symptoms of depression without realising it. Depression presents in many different forms and most people do not even recognise it until it becomes a serious case or is pointed out to them by a professional. For some, the symptoms will stay around for years, while for others it may disappear after a much shorter period. But the bottom line is that depression will stay with you for as long as it needs, and denying it or fighting it most probably just makes it worse. This, however, does not mean that you should allow it to take over your life. The most optimal solution is in developing and mastering coping strategies to keep the symptoms at bay. The key is in accepting the reality of it, learning to recognize your symptoms, and developing a strategy on how to manage them and not allow them to take over your life. Dr James Manning is here to show you how to do that. The book explains what depression is, its common triggers, and how to manage its symptoms so you can stay in control of your life.

How to Befriend, Tame, Manage, and Teach Your Black Dog Called Depression Using CBT by Dr James Manning is a practical guide on how to recognize and manage the symptoms of depression. Dr James Manning draws from his immense knowledge and experience in the field of clinical psychology and from his own personal journey to share practical advice on dealing with depression. His moving personal story about his long battle with depression sheds some much-needed light on the reality of how so many people struggle with the symptoms of depression without realizing it. The book dissects the subject to give the reader a better understanding of the subject and offers advice on how to manage the symptoms. How to Befriend, Tame, Manage, and Teach Your Black Dog Called Depression Using CBT by Dr James Manning is an ideal read for people struggling with depression and those seeking to understand and manage it.

Alyssa Elmore

Feeling depressed? Do you tend to isolate yourself? Have you noticed a dip in your self-esteem? Have you been accused of over-thinking everything? You may be being visited by The Black Dog, also known as many forms or types of depression. The Black Dog is a messenger, signaling to you that you aren't listening to your body. Referred to as The Black Dog by British Prime Minister Winston Churchill during WWII, The Black Dog has a terrifying reputation. Dr. James Manning explains how you can work with The Black Dog to come to healthful terms with your messenger in his book, How to Befriend, Tame, Manage, and Teach Your Black Dog Called Depression Using CBT. For years, the author failed to understand and work with his own Black Dog, causing much unnecessary pain in his life. He suffered social disorders, anxiety, and serious depression until at last he was taught how to befriend his Black Dog and work with it. Now, he helps others transform their lives by teaching them how to befriend their Black Dog and tame it.

How to Befriend, Tame, Manage, and Teach Your Black Dog Called Depression Using CBT by Dr. James Manning explains how living in a constant state of stress can eventually cause permanent damage to your brain. It gives the reader a more active role in their mental health. This book is written in easy-to-understand terms. With helpful pictures, links to informative videos, and worksheets, this book is more of a course than a self-help book. The author has included case studies as well as practical applications. I found this book extremely helpful. The book is interesting and the writing is engaging. I would highly recommend this book to those that lead stressful lives, have a hard time focusing, or struggle to relax.

Viga Boland

If you haven’t read any of the other dozen books Dr. James Manning has published on using Cognitive Behavior Therapy, CBT, to deal with depression, it doesn’t matter. This, his latest book, How to Befriend, Tame, Manage and Teach Your Black Dog Called Depression using CBT, is one of the easiest to read and it brings the most important information contained in all the other books into a neat 165 pages.

One of the best things about How to Befriend, Tame, Manage and Teach Your Black Dog Called Depression using CBT is that the author isn’t just a doctor. He’s a man who has experienced the painful lows of depression first hand for many years…and managed to get on top of it using CBT and a number of other methods he explains in this book. Dr. Manning knows his subject inside out and approaches this book almost memoir-style, giving his suggestions even greater credibility.

Completing the written explanations of why and how depressed people get caught up in ongoing visits from the black dog of depression are diagrams, cartoons, examples and worksheets. And at the end of each chapter, the kindly, yes, kindly black dog offers advice and summarizes the key points in that chapter. Readers learn the black dog comes to visit following long periods of stress when serotonin levels run low. The black dog suggests we keep track of our moods, along with those activities that bring on negative feelings. He points out how avoidance of triggering situations isn’t a solution and rumination…going over the negative thoughts about past actions and events…keeps depression alive. The black dog reminds us that self-absorption is detrimental, but encourages self-observation as a key to improvement. Filling in the many worksheets provided helps readers come to know themselves and their triggers, and gives them a place to begin their own healing.

There is so much excellent information in this short, easy to read and understand book on how to cope with depression. And one of the best features comes after the main part of the book is finished: Dr. James Manning offers superb advice to those living with a partner or loved one suffering from recurring bouts of depression. He gives us the “do says” and “don’t says”. He also includes a wonderful section on how to best help a depressed teenager. Given the current suicide rates amongst teens, How to Befriend, Tame, Manage and Teach Your Black Dog Called Depression using CBT is an important read for parents. Highly recommended.