Crushing Negative Thoughts / Resurrection / Relapse Prevention Training
In this third and final podcast featuring live therapy with Marilyn, David and Matt move on to the M = Methods phase of the session along, and encourage Marilyn to challenge the Negative Thoughts on her Daily Mood Log. The use Identify the Distortions, the Paradoxical Double Standard Technique, the Externalization of Voices, and Acceptance Paradox. Marilyn emerges as a powerful partner and begins to crush the negative thoughts that had seemed so real, devastating and overwhelming at the start of the session.
David emphasizes that the perceptions of therapists can often be way off base, so even though Marilyn appeared to change—fairly dramatically—during the session, David, Fabrice, and Matt will not know for sure until they review Marilyn’s end of session mood ratings on the Daily Mood Log as well as the Brief Mood Survey, and Evaluation of Therapy Session.
David defines a relapse as one minute or more of feeling lousy. Given this definition, all human beings will “relapse” frequently, including Marilyn. Relapses nearly always feel demoralizing and painful, but do not have to be devastating, or even long-lived, if the patient is prepared for them. No one is entitled to feel happy all the time, but it is entirely possible to keep our inevitable and occasional trips to the gates of hell rather brief. You will hear David and Matt doing Relapse Prevention Training with Marilyn using a number of techniques, including the Externalization of Voices.
Fabrice, Marilyn, Matt and David discuss the session, and what it meant to Marilyn from a personal and spiritual perspective. You can view this session as a powerful psychological experience—Marilyn described it as a “mind-blowing” experience. You can also see it as a profoundly spiritual experience: the emergence, resurrection, or rebirth from the “Dark Night of the Soul.” And you can ask yourself—did a genuine miracle happen here today?
Matt, Fabrice, and I are deeply indebted to Marilyn for making this phenomenal and intensely personal experience available to all of us. Thank you, Marilyn. We love you!
I want to thank my co-host, Fabrice, for making these podcasts happen! What a joy it is to work with you every week, Fabrice!
I also want to thank you, Matt, for support and friendship over these many years! Matt, as you know, I often sing your praises in my workshops around the country, telling people how amazing you are. Now they will see what I mean first-hand!
I hope that through these three podcasts, Marilyn has touched you and many people. If you were helped by these recordings, please let your friends and colleagues know, so that they might have the chance to “tune in” as well.
In the show notes for the first session with Marilyn, I mentioned the highly controversial theory that our pain usually results from our thoughts, and not from the circumstances of our lives, and put a link to a survey on the home page to see what you thought.
What do you think now? If you are interested, take thirty seconds to indicate your thinking on the survey below. Then we can look at the results of our informal experiment, and see if your thinking has changed.
Note: We’ll publish the raw, uncut version of the complete session separately (iTunes does not seem to distinguish it from the regular podcast episode).
I’m glad you and Fabrice are back. You mentioned the woman who had negative thoughts about her appearance, and who put her self down. I do that myself at times. I’ve noticed that if I distract myself by watching a funny video or something like that the thought goes away until there is another trigger. I’m wondering if that “distraction technique” is avoiding the problem and I should try a more conventional technique: “Examine the evidence, acceptance paradox, etc.” Any general thoughts? I apologize if it is unfair to ask that question in this venue.
Thanks! Can’t recall what you are referring to but you might really like the chapter on the treatment of Body Dysmorphic Disorder in my book, When Panic Attacks, available on Amazon. It will also show you the step-by-step, systematic approach I use. All the best, david
I’ve listened to all 3 sessions but I have one question.
I still do not understand the value of identifying the inherent value of determining the good qualities associated with having the negative thoughts.
Why does recognizing that your negative thoughts come from a positive place make it easier to smash the negative thoughts?
Great question, Harvey, and I will address it on the next Ask David. It is a bit of a paradox, but very powerful and helpful. The short answer is: 1. It removes shame, and the idea that you are “broken” and needing to be “fixed” when you are depressed. 2. When you “listen” and hear what your negative thoughts and feelings are trying to tell you, you won’t need to turn them up so loud any more. In fact, you can decided to dial them down a bit. There are many additional reasons I will try to address on the show. david
This whole series with Marilyn was truly amazing. Heartbreaking and healing at the same time. I don’t know if she is still with us but she is one courageous woman.
Thanks, sent your kind weords to Marilyn, Matt, and Rhonda. d
Did Marilyn pass away? If so when? Whatever the end of the story is, it is meaningful. I am enjoying my life a whole lot more because of her story. I would like to know what happened to her. She and you and Matt and Fabrice are my heroes. Marilyn demonstrated courage. Please let us all know. Thank you
Yes, sadly she died a number of months ago, and we all miss her dearly. I talk to her daily, as well as my beloved friend, Obie, whom I lost several years ago, every day when I am out walking or “slogging.” She lived far beyond expectations, and I had the chance to be with her on a number of occasions toward the end when she would come to Stanford from her home in Oakland for treatments. She did not actually die from her metastic lung cancer, but from a series of strokes that made it difficult for her to speak and to eat. She was a very humble person, but socially avoidant person, and loved by many. We are creating a special section based on her life and recovery from depression in our Feeling Good App. Thank you, Annie! Warmly, david PS If interested, you can sign up for a free beta test of the app at feelinggood.com/app. Currently, you will need an iPhone as well.