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Jul 20, 2020

Podcast #200: Meet Linda Jackson!

We celebrated our one hundredth podcast with an interview with Professor Mark Noble, who talked about TEAM-CBT and the brain. Today, we celebrate our two hundredth podcast with another special guest, Linda Jackson, the publisher at PESI Publishing and Media Company.  You may know of PESI for their work in continuing education programs as well as training products for mental health professionals. You may not be aware that PESI is the publisher of my new book, Feeling Great, which will be released in September, 2020.

One focus of our interview with Linda was the teamwork that is so important between any author and his or her publisher, as well as the editor. I have been really thrilled with the incredible teamwork and support that PESI has provided on this project, under Linda’s skillful leadership. That was my strong motivation in selecting PESI, and I’m really glad I made this choice. It will be their first general public “self-help” book, and I hope it is a huge success for them, and for me!

Rhonda asks how this book compares with my first book, Feeling Good. It is the first true sequel, although I have written many spin-off books based on the cognitive therapy techniques I first described in Feeling Good. But now, after 40,000 therapy sessions with individuals struggling with mild to extreme depression and anxiety, as well as four decades of research on how psychotherapy actually works, I have many powerful new techniques that you can learn about in Feeling Great.

Feeling Great is based on the TEAM-CBT that has evolved in the past ten to fifteen years in my weekly psychotherapy training and development group at Stanford. My book Feeling Good was about cognitions, and how to crush distorted thoughts.  What I have learned over the past 40 years of practice, research and teaching is that cognitions, while massively important, are not the only dimension in change. Of course, it is still true that when you change the way you think, you can change the way you feel, but now there is another powerful component:  many people seem, tp get stuck in depression or anxiety and resist change. They sometimes “yes-but” their therapists and often fail to do psychotherapy homework between sessions.


In Feeling Great, you will discover why people resist change and you will also learn how to eliminate resistance. The developments have ushered in the era of ultra-rapid recovery from depression and anxiety. Therapists who are interested in learning these new techniques will now have a clear guide, and members of the general public who are struggling with negative feelings will have the chance to use these techniques on their own, whether or not they are in treatment with a therapist.

Linda talks about her personal history and how she happened to find a career in publishing. She describes her passion for writing, journalism and editing, going all the way back to her teenage years, something that I can totally identify with. Linda also describes her background in marketing, and her appreciation of its importance. You could have the greatest book in the world, but without a strong marketing effort, it will just sit on bookstore shelves unnoticed.

Linda explained that PESI has been absolutely committed to publishing practical guides that therapists can use to improve their clinical work. But now, PESI is branching into publishing books for the general public as well, because people want answers to their questions of how to deal with feelings of depression, anxiety, and inadequacy. Linda said that PESI was not looking to publish a self-help book, but when someone in their organization heard that David was looking for a publisher, they felt it was “meant to be” that they would publish his new book. Linda believes that this book is going to help so many people who want to “feel great.”

Something I (David) have deeply appreciated about working with Linda and her PESI team has been the comradery of the writing, editing and publishing process. We discuss my brilliant editor for Feeling Great, Jenessa Jackson, who happens to be Linda’s daughter-in-law. I (David) felt especially lucky to work with Jenessa, who not only provided incredibly helpful editing, but her background in neuroscience as well as clinical work were tremendously helpful. She clearly “got” my message, including the special chapter on "micro-neurosurgery" by Professor Mark Noble.

I also am especially grateful for the marketing support PESI is providing for my new book.  I described the complete lack of support I had from the publisher of Feeling Good shortly after it was first published. That was understandable, because at the time I was an unknown author of a book on depression, and the president of the company (William Morrow & Co.) was convinced that Feeling Good had little or no commercial potential.

As a result, in those early years after it was first published, I had to do everything on my own—and it was really hard! I encountered rejection after rejection when I tried to interest magazines or radio or TV shows in interviewing me about Feeling Good. In fact, it took eight years before I finally landed a top national TV show in 1988—the Phil Donahue Show—and the book immediately jumped to the top of all the best seller lists within minutes of the airing of that show.

It was like magic!

With Linda’s strong background in marketing, we are hopeful that Feeling Great will also get the market support it needs to help as many people as possible. After all, you owe it to yourself to Feel Great!

Rhonda and David