063: Ask David. What’s So Great about Hopelessness or an Addiction? What Does it Take to Be a Worthwhile Human Being?

Is there anything positive about hopelessness or an addiction ? What does it take to be a “worthwhile” human being, or to have a valuable life?

In today’s podcast, David and Fabrice address three questions submitted by listeners:

  1. Avi asks another great question about the importance of Positive Reframing in TEAM-CBT. But how can we possibly find something positive in the feeling of hopelessness. After all, Dr. Aaron Beck has taught us that it’s the worst emotion of all!
  2. Avi asks a similar question about an addiction. How can an addiction possibly be a good thing?
  3. Eugene asks a tremendous question about a passage in Dr. Burns’ book, Feeling Good: The New Mood Therapy, on the topic of what it means to be a worthwhile human being, and what it takes to make a life valuable. Eugene hints that Dr. Burns may have the wrong idea, and asks what he would say to a patient who doesn’t “cry uncle!”

David and Fabrice love your questions so keep them coming!

Fabrice and I hope you enjoy our Podcasts, and also hope you can leave some positive comments for us and some five star ratings if you like what we’re doing!


At least one listener has had problems leaving an iTunes review from his i-phone, so Fabrice has created some simple to follow instructions if you need help.

4 thoughts on “063: Ask David. What’s So Great about Hopelessness or an Addiction? What Does it Take to Be a Worthwhile Human Being?

  1. Hi David, Your answer, to Eugene’s question, about not forcing your help or value system onto a patient who does not want to change, but having the patient do a cost benefit analysis to see if the patient’s values system is really serving him or her was brilliant. You are pointing the patient in the direction of healing/enlightenment, but he/she must take the steps.

    • Hi Rob, I keep reading these brilliant comments and when I go to approve them, I notice that many come from you. Thanks! Love your comments! david

  2. I can’t thank you enough for your work and this podcast! Combined with a good therapist, I was able to totally knock out a lifetime of depression in a matter of a few sessions; as well as completely flip my unhealthy and very unhappy marriage (we were in the process of calling divorce lawyers) into a growing relationship within days (I read your Feeling Good Together book in two days so I could prevent one of us moving out). My question: You have talked about treating depression, anxiety, panic and OCD, how do your techniques and tools help someone suffering with Bi-Polar disorder? I have multiple extended family members who suffer with bi-polar disorder, who have taken medication for years and occasionally attend therapy and they still seem to suffer. Can this form of therapy and tools help ones suffering from bi-polar disorder? In the mean time, I have shared your books and podcast with many families that live in my close knit community (North Shore Oahu Hawaii). I love seeing how they are feeling better too! We are starting a monthly book club to get together and support one another with a new healthy way of thinking and kicking out our distortions in our own minds, and improving our relationships. I can not thank you enough! Your work has saved my life and my marriage! I wished I lived back in the Bay Area (I grew up in Los Gatos) so I could hear you speak.

    • Wow, Michelle, that is impressive. Way to go! I will address your comment in a Sunday FB podcast or an upcoming Feeling Good Podcast. But the short answer is that individuals with Bipolar 1 (the full blown version) who have had psychotic manic episodes will usually require a mood stabilizer. When I was in practice, I used low dose lithium. But adding the cognitive therapy produced vastly superior outcomes, as compared to my days in psychopharmacology, when I only had drugs to offer, and extremely poor outcomes with Bipolar patients at the Philadelphia VA Hospital. The focus of the therapy was often on developing unconditional self-esteem, as many of the bipolar patients based their self-esteem on achievements, and felt their achievements had to be spectacular, or else they were no good at all. I felt this mind set contributed to the mood swings. More later, and thanks again! david

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