Two Unexpected Encounters

A colleague from a recent hike, Grace Fung, sent me a video of four deer who ran by as we were hiking, this was unexpected encounter #1 of 2 on this hike. I am attaching a couple hiking photos from the same day! I hope you enjoy them!

A web visitor asked who the people on the Sunday hikes are. They are mainly people from one of my training groups at Stanford. We hike for three to four hours and do personal work along the way. This is, you might say, my form of “worship,” which involves freeing people from depression and anxiety, We use the new TEAM-CBT techniques I have developed with help from a number of compassionate and skillful colleagues in my training group, and often see dramatic changes in people fairly rapidly. The idea is, “Physician, heal thyself,” a Biblical quotation I believe.

Personal work has been a time-honored component of psychotherapy training. When you can make your tools work in your personal life, and overcome your own feelings of self-doubt, you move from “technician” to “healer,” and you have a far more dynamic message for your patients. You can say, “I know what that feels like, because I’ve been there myself, and I can also show you the way out of the woods.”

Recently, we had a wonderful hiker who joined us in quite a different way, and this was unexpected encounter #2. On the hike I was doing some personal work with one of the hikers in the parking lot near the Rhus Ridge trailhead. We were waiting and chatting so several of our hikers could catch up with us.  While we talked, I noticed a man listening intently from about ten feet away. After a while, he said, “Are you Dr. Burns?”

I confirmed that I was, and asked where he knew me from. He said he recognized my voice from my Feeling Good Podcasts! This really blew my mind, and I felt like a mini-celebrity! He expressed an interest in joining our hikes, and hiked with us three days ago for the first time, which was great.

The first photo shows me on an uphill trail several miles into the hike.

The second shows more of the trail weaving up the mountain. It is fairly steep, and winds uphill for a good mile or more, and was quite a challenge for one of our hikers.

The third is the video of the four deer who asked us to step aside so they could run past us, going in the opposite direction. it was so cool!


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