096: Live Session with Lee: “Why is my wife trying to control me?”

Part 1 of 3 podcasts illustrating
the TEAM treatment model for a relationship conflict

With Drs. David Burns and Fabrice Nye, and special guest Dr. Jill Levitt,
Director of Training at the Feeling Good Institute in Mtn. View, California

Hi everybody!

For the past couple months, Fabrice has asked me to set up a live therapy session to illustrate how to treat troubled relationships using TEAM-CBT. I was fortunate to get an email request from a colleague named Lee who wanted help with his marriage. He explained that his wife was very controlling and critical of him and attributed this to the fact that she had a controlling mother. This is very typical in troubled relationships, most of us are convinced that the problem is the other person’s fault. Of course, Lee told us that his wife, in turn, blames back and feels that Lee is the one who needs to change.

Lee initially thought we’d do couples therapy, but in TEAM-CBT we actually prefer to treat just one person in a troubled relationship.

Two weeks ago, Jill and I sat down with Lee on a Saturday morning, linking to each other on the internet since he lives abroad, for a three-hour treatment session. The session has been broken down into three separate podcasts plus commentary from Fabrice, Jill and David on each of the three segments.

By way of disclaimers, Lee is a colleague who does coaching for individuals with alcohol addiction problems. We are not entering into a formal treatment relationship with Lee. Instead, he has offered to help us illustrate a therapy technique, using a real person problem, as part of his training and personal growth. We are deeply grateful to Lee for letting us share his intensely personal “session” with you!

Today, you will hear the first segment on T = Testing and E = Empathy. Lee will tell his story. Jill and I will listen without trying to “help” or “rescue” Lee. On the Brief Mood Survey, he indicated no depression or suicidal urges. He was mildly anxious and slightly angry. His Positive Feelings Survey indicated that he was quite happy except in two areas: He felt only moderately close to people and only slightly connected to others. His score on the Relationship Satisfaction Scale indicated significant marital distress. You will also hear him say that he felt like one of the loneliest people we would ever meet toward the end of the empathy phase of the session.

Lee Davy is the creator and founder of “The Truth about Alcohol.” He offers free weekly webinars for people who need help and support with their drinking. Check it out!


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Attend my 2018 Summer Intensive in San Francisco!

This year, I am again offering my annual SF summer intensive in August at the South San Francisco Conference Center. This four-day intensive is almost always my most exciting and rewarding workshop of the year.

Here are the details:

David’s TEAM-CBT Summer Intensive

August 6 – 9, 2018, South San Francisco Conference Center, California

For more information, click here, or call at 800-258-8411

Here are just a few of the really cool things about this intensive:

  • You will have the chance to practice techniques in small groups after I demonstrate each technique with a live demonstration in the front of the room.
  • You will get immediate feedback and personal grooming from me and from many of my colleagues from my weekly TEAM-CBT training group at Stanford. They’ll be there to help you, and I’ll be there to help you, too!
  • There will be a live demonstration on the evening of day 1. The amazing Dr. Jill Levitt will be my co-therapist. Last year’s live demonstration, and in fact all of them in recent years, have been jaw-dropping and incredibly inspirational!
  • You’ll get a chance to practice TEAM-CBT in real time the evening of day 3. This will be an incredibly challenging but rewarding “solo flight.”
  • You will be able to do your own personal work on the last day of the workshop using the Externalization of Voices and Acceptance Paradox. In previous workshops, at least 60% of the participants indicated they experienced jubilant enlightenment during this exercise. Their fears and insecurities suddenly vanished!
  • You’ll learn how to do Relapse Prevention Training (RPT).
  • You’ll learn how to improve your empathy skills.
  • You’ll learn tons of powerful cognitive, behavioral, and motivational treatment techniques for depression and all of the anxiety disorders.
  • You will have the abundant opportunities to schmooze with colleagues, network, and have fun.
  • You will have two fabulous free luncheon banquets featuring talks by Sunny Choi, LCSW, who is using TEAM-CBT successfully with an underserved population in primary care with limited resources and language skills (“I must apologize for my success.”), and the wonderful Vandana Aspen, PhD, who will speak on “New Treatment Strategies for Eating Disorders.”)
  • And much more.

If you can only attend one of my workshops this year, the South San Francisco August intensive is the one to attend!


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