112: Truth-Based Techniques

Hi everybody!

One of the goals for our Feeling Good Podcasts is to bring the TEAM-CBT techniques to life for mental health professionals, patients, and the general public as well. I (David Burns) use more than 50 Techniques when I’m working with individuals with depression, anxiety disorders, relationship problems, or habits / addictions. Today we will compare and contrast the four Truth-Based Techniques, including:

  1. Examine the Evidence
  2. The Experimental Technique
  3. The Survey Technique
  4. Reattribution

These were among the first cognitive therapy techniques ever developed, and they were based on the work of Dr. Aaron Beck, from Philadelphia, as well as Dr. Albert Ellis, from New York. Dr. Ellis is the Grandfather of Cognitive Therapy, and he described many of these techniques in the 1950s. He called his treatment Rational Emotive Therapy, and it’s still popular today. During the 1960s, Beck, who is considered the Father of Cognitive Therapy adapted the ideas of Dr. Ellis to the treatment of depression, and called his version of the treatment Cognitive Therapy.

Beck emphasized that depression results from a negative view of the self, the world, and the future. In other words, the patient may think:

  1. I’m a loser. (negative view of the self)
  2. Nothing i do will be successful or rewarding. (negative view of the world)
  3. Things will never change. I’m hopeless. (negative view of the future)

Beck claimed that the negative thoughts of the depressed individual are the actual cause of the depression. He also emphasized that the disturbing negative thoughts of depressed patients are nearly always distorted and illogical; however, depressed individuals don’t realize that they’re fooling themselves, so they think their negative thoughts are absolutely valid. Beck also claimed that depression could be treated without drugs in many cases, and focused his treatment on challenging the patient’s distorted negative thoughts.

Beck often compared depressed patients to scientists who have a theory about the world that simply isn’t true. That’s why scientists learn to test their theories by examining evidence and performing experiments. Beck suggested that depressed patients could also test the validity of their negative thoughts and beliefs by examining the evidence for and against what they’re telling themselves, as well as by doing actual experiments to test their thoughts and beliefs.

David and Fabrice bring the four basic truth-based techniques to life with actual patient examples. They answer the question, “What’s the difference between Examine the Evidence and the Experimental Technique?” And “How does the Survey Technique work?”

They emphasize the tremendous importance of warmth and empathy, as well as melting away patient resistance, before trying to implement any of these techniques. They also emphasize that these techniques, like all of the techniques, are powerful, and must be used with skill and compassion, or else they can backfire.

Thanks for reading this and listening to our Feeling Good Podcasts. Please tell your friends of forward this to them so our numbers can continue to grow. We are in the range of 60,000 downloads per month, thanks to all of you! Fabrice and I greatly appreciate your support!

David and Fabrice


Dr. Fabrice Nye currently practices in Redwood City, California and treats individuals throughout the world via teletherapy. You can reach him at You can reach Dr. Burns at If you like our jingle music and would like to support the composer Brett Van Donsel, you may download it here.

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Act fast if you want to attend.

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Rapid Recovery from Trauma

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by David D. Burns, MD

November 1-2, 2018–Woodland Hills, CA

You can attend in person or from home via Live Streaming

Includes a dramatic live demonstration on the evening of day 1

For further information, go to
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Powerful, Fast-Acting, Drug-Free Techniques 
to Defeat Anxiety & Worry

a 2-day workshop by David D. Burns, MD

November 29 and 30, 2018: San Francisco, CA
(in person only)


December 3 and 4, 2018: Portland, Oregon
(in person and live streaming)

PESI is proud to offer an exciting workshop by David Burns, M.D., a pioneer in the development of cognitive behavior therapy (CBT). Achieve rapid and lasting recovery with all your anxious clients, just as Dr. Burns has done in over 35,000 therapy sessions with severely troubled clients. Become skilled at treating every type of anxiety without drugs.

In this unique 2-day certificate course you’ll master more than 20 treatment techniques to help your clients eliminate the symptoms of anxiety quickly – even your most challenging, resistant clients.

Dr. Burns will illustrate concrete strategies that provide rapid, complete recovery and lasting change for your patients. You’ll learn…

  • How to integrate four powerful treatment models to eliminate symptoms.
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David will provide you with guided instruction and share powerful video sessions that capture the actual moment of recovery. You will take away practical strategies to use immediately with any anxious client. Leave this certificate course armed with tools you can use in your very next session!

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