Promised Photos / Inner Hiking

Hi friends and colleagues,

Yesterday I promised to show you some photos from our Sunday hike, which was 3 1/2 hours long. There were six of us on the hike.We went up through the Hidden Villa Ranch, which is gorgeous, but one of our hikers, found two embedded tics in his back and side when we got the to the top. The tics can be frightening because some of them carry Lyme disease.

So here are the photos, thanks to Maryam Hamidi, our official hike photographer. Maryam is on the Stanford staff, working on wellness for physicians. She is an expert in nutrition, and a member of our Tuesday psychotherapy training group.

First, here are some photos she took of our new kitty, Miss Misty! In addition, you can see me in the current moment, beard and all! I am still grieving the loss of our beloved Obie, who is featured on one of the tabs on my website,, but my wife and I are both deeply in love with the new arrival! We brought her outdoors for the first time Sunday and yesterday (Monday). Exciting brave new world out there!


IMG_1025The next photos show some of the fabulous spring flowering trees as well as our gorgeous California poppies, plus one of the trails we were hiking on.





The tree below with the red bark is cold to the touch, for some reason. I believe the Indians who populated these hills long before California folks lived here used it for refrigeration in the summer. At least that’s what I’ve heard from a local expert in the wildlife and plants and trees in this area.


We do personal work on the hikes, along the idea of “Physician, heal thyself,” and sometimes tears are shed. There are three common themes for the personal work. First, we do a lot of work on the perfectionistic, self-critical thoughts that create depression, anxiety and self-doubt for mental health professionals, as well our patients, such as “I should be better than I am.” Second, we do a lot of work on personal relationship conflicts. It seems that many individuals struggle with conflicts in intimate relationships, or have trouble finding someone to love, and mental health professionals are no different from anyone is this regard. And third, we often work with habits and addictions, such as procrastination, binge eating and so forth.

The personal work is what makes the hikes really wonderful. These are the “inner adventures” that bring us together and create magic every Sunday morning. So when we are hiking up steep hills, we are often conquering inner mountains at the same time.


Here are five of the six from the Sunday hike, along with other shots along the way.




Below you can see my friend and colleague, Stephen Pfleiderer. Stephen joined our Tuesday training group several years ago with the dream of doing work in the addictions field. He worked his butt off studying my psychotherapy eBook (he read it cover to cover three times) and practicing between training sessions. His effort paid off bit time. Now he is a certified addiction counselor doing tremendous work, including interventions, from his office in San Francisco. Stephen is doing effective, creative work integrating the new TEAM-CBT into the treatment of individuals struggling with drug and alcohol problems.


3 thoughts on “Promised Photos / Inner Hiking

  1. Pingback: Promised Photos / Inner Hiking | goodnewsintherapy

  2. Not super computer literate so not sure where best to start a new topic or ask a question but will try to do so here.

    I have worked with a client we will call, Bob.
    Bob has a social anxiety phobia and has so for 40 plus years.
    Bob is also a member of AA.
    Bob has been attending AA for 12 years. He speaks and reads at some meetings and has done so off and on for the last 12 years, but he is just as nervous today as he was 12 years ago.
    I have worked with Bob on identifying distortions and encouraged him during exposure to engage in deep breathing, to focus on something in the room and to reassure himself that his anxiety will pass.
    However, nothing seems to work.
    He recently got a beta-blocker (propranonol) for his anxiety and this he says works for him (however he doesn’t want to rely on this and he already has low blood pressure so this causes him to be dizzy).

    I have been listening to your podcasts. They are awesome and very inspiring!! When you spoke about curing your blood phobia in 15 minutes with a toothbrush and the gunpowder victim, the 8 minute elevator phobia cure, and the one session panic attacked cured by jumping jacks, I am just curious why Bob’s exposure is not working and what perhaps I may be recommending that is incorrect.



    • Practically all therapeutic failure results from Agenda Setting errors, or the complete failure of the therapist to set the agenda skillfully. If you’d like some training in TEAM-CBT, you might want to purchase my psychotherpay eBook, Tools, Not Schools, of Therapy, and / or attend a workshop, like one of my upcoming summer intensives in burlingame, CA (end of July and first few days in August) or Banff, Canada (late July) (see my workshop page for details), or join one of the weekly online training groups (a list of times and contact persons can be found here on my website.)

      In my opinion, you can’t just throw a couple techniques at some based on a diagnosis or problem (such as social anxiety). TEAM-CBT is radically new, different, and systematic way of doing psychotherapy.

      All the best, David

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