Today, Rhonda and David discuss three great questions submitted by podcast fans like you!
When something terrible happens, like being raped or having your house burn down, or being a victim of racial discrimination, doesn’t the event itself upset you? Do you really have to have a negative thought before you can feel anger, fear, grief, or worthlessness?
For example, if our house burned down and we lost everything, or we or someone we loved was raped–doesn’t the event affect you directly? Do you really have to have negative thoughts before you can feel sad, depressed, anxious or angry?
Do all of our feelings REALLY result from our thoughts? What about people who have been treated unfairly or been discriminated against because of their race, religion, gender identity, etc. Aren’t their feelings a direct result of their experience and not just their thoughts?
This thoughtful question is from our beloved Rhonda! . . . And the answer may surprise you!
What do you do when patients fall in love with you?
Hi David and Rhonda,
My name is Ben and I live in Maryland. I started listening to the feeling good podcast about 3 years ago when I was in a period of life transition. The podcast has been incredibly helpful to me as I dealt with my childhood trauma, explored my motivations and drives for life, and reoriented my personal relationships and career, away from what I thought I should be doing, toward what I love and deeply want for my life.
In part because of the podcast’s inspiration, I have decided to pursue a master’s degree in social work, and hope to become a psychotherapist. Thank you for all that you do, and the amazing help you have been to me personally.
I do have one question. In one past episode. You mentioned the possibility of using five secrets to defuse the situation when a patient falls in love with the therapist because they feel understood and cared for. This has happened to me a few times when I talk with a friend about their personal difficulties, and they begin to develop feelings for me. I would like to keep these relationships friendships, rather than romantic. I would love to have your advice on how best to both inoculate against and resolve such situations.
Thank you again.
What can you if your boss is not empathic?
Hi Dr. Burns,
You guys are always so good at empathy. I’d love to hear one day your method about how to cope when there is lack of empathy, but you still have to keep a relation.
For example: when your boss doesn’t empathize with you and his message makes you feel bad, but you still need the job. I had an experience like that and it really hurt the ego.
Cheers, David. Have a great day!
One can always learn a lot from one exchange with the boss. What did he say and what, exactly did you say next?
Waiting for empathy from others is never something I have recommended! That’s a really long wait!
But you CAN discover how you are provoking the very problem you are complaining about if you have the courage. This empowers YOU to change.
Questions on the next Ask David:
- Are depression and anxiety states of self-hypnosis?
- How do you deal with somatic symptoms in TEAM?
- Should we forgive Hitler and Stalin?
- What if a patient feels stuck and unable to identify emotions?
- Do you still really believe that depression and anxiety, regardless how severe, can be treated even without the use of prescription drugs?
- Do you have to work on your negative thoughts the moment they appear?
- What role, from your years of practice, does spirituality have in the psychotherapy?
Rhonda and David
You can reach Dr. Burns at firstname.lastname@example.org. Dr. Rhonda Barovsky practices in Walnut Creek, California, and can be reached at email@example.com. She is a Certified TEAM-CBT therapist and specializes in the treatment of trauma, anxiety, depression, and relationship problems. She also does forensic work in family court, but finds TEAM-CBT to be way more rewarding!
If you like our jingle music and would like to support the composer Brett Van Donsel, you may download it here.
This is the cover of my new book, Feeling Great. It will be released in September of 2020, but you can pre-order it now on Amazon! If you pre-order it, this will help greatly in the ratings the day actually released.
Just thinking of the words not horrible backfired on me this morning. So w the evaluator worked w me just now and verbalized w me looking at my hand and focusing on the present moment and verbalizing not all that bad.. CBT is much more helpful than REBT in this regard. REBT is extreme in this regard.
But CBT calmed me down this morning.
Wow I feel so much better!
Thanks Thomas! it is always great to hear from you. You are very thoughtful about philosophical matters, something I greatly appreciate! david
How do you explain babies who cry when they are hungry, hurt wet etc? Clearly they aren’t having a thought prior to the feeling.
Your technique clearly seems to work for the woman in your example but how do you know you didn’t just give her a new pretend thought that made her feel better? If the woman was in an abusive relationship she is in fact in a bad situation it isn’t just in her thoughts. Should she change her thoughts or the situation?
hi James, good thinking! I like skepticism, as I have enormous doses of it myself. The claim is that negative feelings (emotions) like depression, anxiety, inferiority, hopelessness, anger, and so forth area entirely caused by thoughts. Physiologic urges like hunger, or physical pain when you have a broken arm, or feeling wet if you are in a rain storm, are not caused by thoughts, although I suspect our feelings and mind set can have an influence on feelings of hunger and pain, too. In fact, in my research on physical pain and negative emotions, the findings suggest that as much as 50% of the sensation of physical pain results from emotional magnification by depression, anxiety, and anger.
With regard to trauma, I recently treated 40 trauma patients with severe depression, guilt, worthlessness, anxiety, and so forth, and these feelings were, in fact, caused by their thoughts and interpretations of the horrific traumas they’d endured, and they reported a 90% reduction in negative feelings, and an 85% boost in positive feelings of happiness and joy, in a single, two-hour therapy session. Pretend thoughts, as I’ve said in my teaching and books and podcasts, and so called “positive affirmations,” have no value in the treatment of depression, and are, in fact, irritating. The treatments I use and have developed are based on crushing the distorted thoughts that trigger negative emotions. Once you have experienced this personally, then you suddenly “get it.”
This idea is very basic–that thoughts, not events, cause feelings, has been around since the time of Epictetus, nearly 2,000 years ago, but it is hard to comprehend at first because it is so so basic.
All the best, David