Seth J. Gillihan - Think, Act, Be
Published on: August 18, 2021
Seth J. Gillihan is a clinical psychologist, best-selling author, podcast host, and creator of the Think Act Be Online School. He specializes in mindfulness-centered cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT). Seth completed an undergraduate degree at Indiana University in biology and French, a master’s degree in community counseling at George Washington University, and a doctorate in psychology from the University of Pennsylvania. He is the author of [multiple books](http://sethgillihan.com/books/) on mindfulness and CBT, and host of the *Think Act Be* podcast.
Please give us a quick introduction to who you are and what you do.
I'm a clinical psychologist. I provide therapy, write books and blogs, host a weekly podcast, and run the Think Act Be online school.
What inspired you to become an educator?
I was drawn to psychotherapy because I wanted to offer tools that would help people to find greater peace and ease in their lives. So many of us are dealing with overwhelming stress and anxiety, or depression, or sleep problems, or all of the above. I learned early in my training that many of us can find relief through some pretty simple tools, like the ones I offer through mindfulness-based cognitive behavioral therapy.
In recent years I've been working on ways to bring these effective practices to more people than I can reach directly through therapy, since I can see only a small number of people each week. So I see myself as an educator in all my professional roles—author, therapist, blogger, podcaster, instructor—as I work to share treatments that work with those who need them.
You created the Think Act Be Online School - do tell us more about it
My clinical practice filled up quickly, and I knew there was more demand for mindfulness-centered CBT than there were therapists with availability. So I created the online school to bring the same approach I use in therapy—and honestly in my own life—to more people. I aimed to make the sessions really manageable, since the last thing we need is another reason to feel overwhelmed! I also stay closely connected to the courses, answering student questions and doing what I can to help everyone get the most out of the experience. It's been really rewarding so far.
Who would benefit most from your courses?
Right now the courses are focused on stress, anxiety, and worry, and I think most people could benefit from the techniques I offer for dealing with these experiences. Some people may need a higher level of care, like if they're having really severe symptoms, so they'd probably do better working directly with a professional. I also have future courses planned for issues like depression and coping with chronic illness (something I have personal experience with).
Do you have any success stories from people who have completed your courses? We would love to hear them!
I've gotten some really lovely feedback from students, like:
Seth: all I can say is, Thanks for sharing your knowledge. I finally can meditate, and I will continue to use your meditations as they bring so much calmness to my anxious mind. I have also learned how to stay focused in the present and to practice mindfulness.
I was going through so much sadness and uncertainty the past six months. Over this course I have definitely learned how to love myself. I had no idea how much I needed to do that.
I finished the course today and I think this was one of the best investments that I did for myself. I have learned new tools here and they have been proving to be quite helpful in managing daily stressors. ... I have downloaded all the meditation audios to my phone and practice about 10-15mins daily. I find it very calming. It is amazing because I never thought I would ever have a meditation practice in my life! :-) Overall I am getting a lot out of this course. I found it to be very detailed without being complex or boring. The length of the videos was right; the content and appropriate material were very relevant. I am very pleased to have taken this course and thank you for the shared knowledge! God bless you and your family.
Thank you for this course, Seth! It has helped me remember how to shift from anxiety and worry to present-moment awareness and I've been able to identify some of the reasons why I worry, how worry may actually be telling me something softly underneath the content. Thank you so much for helping me realize this. I wish you all the best in your career!
A truly well-thought out course.... I will enjoy using the CBT Deck, too. I feel this course to be the best $216 dollar investment in myself ever.
Wonderful course! The sessions are not too long, and Dr. G. does a great job in calmly breaking down the key points of each topic.
You specialize in mindfulness-centered cognitive behavioral therapy. Why are you passionate about this subject?
I was always a big fan of CBT, but the passion for me really came with the integration of mindfulness. Cognitive and behavioral approaches are great for the mind and body, but we're more than just those parts—we're also spirit. And for me, mindfulness-centered CBT puts the spirit at the heart of our experience. That might sound kind of vague or woo-woo, but it's actually the simplest and realest experience. To be mindful just means to really be in our lives: right now, just as they are. There are so many levels to that practice, and it just gets better and better. Mindfulness practice can offer a level of peace beyond what we've imagined. It's a peace that doesn't depend on everything working out just the way we want it to, or think it "should." This peace is always available, even when we're struggling. I know this not just from my clinical work but from countless moments in my own life. So that's what gets me really excited. And just to be clear, mindfulness is way more than meditation. It's for every moment of our lives. That's a lot of what I try to share in my online courses.
You are also a best-selling author. Please tell us more about your books.
I've written a couple books on CBT, and recently I've developed three card decks that make it really easy to bring mindfulness-centered CBT into daily life. With these card decks you just draw one card each day and practice the technique on that card, which could be a way to train your mind, or to practice being in your life more fully, or to do the things you care about. I created The CBT Deck and The CBT Deck for Anxiety, Rumination, & Worry, and recently I co-wrote The CBT Deck for Kids and Teens with my ten-year-old daughter Ada, who went through her own bout of really overwhelming anxiety. Ada told me that the original CBT Deck was extremely helpful when she was having a hard time, so it was very meaningful to collaborate with her on a deck just for young people.
What are some of the things you do to motivate your students?
Two of the most unmotivating things are when a task is too big or when it's not clear. So in my courses I really aim to make the sessions easily digestible and easy to follow. That way students can focus on getting the most out of the content, rather than feeling like there's too much to do or they're not sure they're doing it right or something.
What is your best advice for a student who is considering becoming a licensed psychologist?
Spend time really getting to know yourself. Start with the assumption that you're someone worth knowing! Discover more about what you love, what you're drawn to, what brings you alive. And then pursue that, rather than asking what others expect of you or what the best market prospects are. There's plenty of advice out there about courses to take, research assistantships, etc., and that's all important. But remember that you are your greatest asset, and never neglect your own well-being and development. The world needs you, and you need you.
Where can our readers discover more of your work or sign up for your courses?
The best place to find me is on my website: sethgillihan.com. You can find links to my online school, blogs, books, podcast, etc. there. I hope to see you in class!