051: Live Session (Marilyn) — Methods, Relapse Prevention (Part 3)

Live Session (Marilyn) — Crushing Negative Thoughts (Part 3)

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 Automatic Negative thoughts on her Daily Mood Log using techniques such as 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 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 ratings on the Daily Mood Log, 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. But relapses following recovery do not have to be a problem if the patient is prepared for them ahead of time. You will hear David and Matt doing relapse prevention 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—a “mind-blowing” single session “cure,” if you will—or as a profoundly healing 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?

Marilyn DML, end of session, mood only
Marilyn BMS before and after, v 1

I, David, am very indebted to Marilyn for making this phenomenal and intensely personal experience available to all of us. What a gift! Thank you, Marilyn. We love you!

I also want to thank my co-host, Fabrice, for making these podcasts happen! What a joy it is to work with you every week, Fabrice.

And I want to thank my fantastic co-therapist, former student, and colleague, Matthew May, MD, 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 will touch large numbers of people for years, even decades, to come. If you were touched by these recordings, please let your friends and colleagues know, so that they might have the chance to “tune in” as well.

In 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. What do you think now?


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).


2 thoughts on “051: Live Session (Marilyn) — Methods, Relapse Prevention (Part 3)

  1. Hi David,

    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


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