Today, the Cognitive Distortion Starter Kit Continues with
Rhonda begins by reading a beautiful email from one of our listeners, and I give a brief shout out for my new book, Feeling Great, which can be pre-ordered on Amazon now (see below for the link). Thanks to your support, as of today (July 2) it is already the #1 best seller in the Amazon depression AND anxiety categories for impending new books!
David and Rhonda briefly summarize the history of Should Statements, starting with the Buddha 2500 years ago, and culminating in the work of Karen Horney and Albert Ellis in the 20th century. They both emphasized that nearly all emotional suffering as well as relationship conflict results from “Shoulds.”
David and Rhonda describe the four categories of Should Statements:
- Shoulds directed against yourself cause depression, anxiety, guilt, and shame. and even lead to suicidal urges.
- Should directed against others cause anger, and can even lead to violence.
- Shoulds directed against the world cause frustration.
- Hidden Shoulds.
They also describe the three valid types of Should Statements:
- Moral Shoulds
- Legal Shoulds
- Laws of the Universe Shoulds
David and Rhonda provide vignettes illustrating the tremendous emotional damage that can result from “Shoulds” and describe a number of strategies for combating them, including:
- Positive Reframing
- the Semantic Technique
- Socratic Questioning
- the Acceptance Paradox
The final podcast in this series will focus on the two types of Blame:
- Self-Blame, which nearly always marches hand-in-hand with Self-Directed Shoulds
- Other-Blame, which nearly always marches hand-in-hand with Other-Directed Shoulds
Rhonda and David
You can reach Dr. Burns at email@example.com. Dr. Rhonda Barovsky practices in Walnut Creek, California, and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. She is a Level 4 Certified TEAM-CBT therapist and trainer 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.
Hi Dr. Burns,
Longtime listener of the podcast. You and Rhonda are fantastic — the episodes somehow just keep getting better and better every week. I’m also a longtime owner and user of your book Feeling Good… I just referred to it again a few days ago to refresh myself on how to do the Downward Arrow Technique.
I’m writing today because I have a burning question: What do I need to do to get a signed copy of your new book?
Looking forward to Feeling Great. 🙂
Thanks, love and deeply appreciated your note, and forwarded to Rhonda. I’d LOVE to sign your book but hard to do in this pandemic era. Maybe you can attend a live event when things clear up one day before not too long from now, and I’d be honored to sign your book in person. Maybe something cool to look forward to when we get back to “normal” one day soon! Warmly, david
Okay, great! Maybe we can make that happen in the future. It would be an honor for me to meet you in person.
You also reminded me of another question I wanted to ask you. I know that in the past you’ve done many live events in several cities in western Canada. Have you ever considered expanding your live events to other Canadian cities like Montreal (where I’m from) or Toronto? No doubt you and your team surely put in tons of hard work in planning and preparing these events. And perhaps it’s also easier to do them only in a few cities. But I hope you’ll keep us in mind!
Thanks! I’ve done those cities in the past, but I think we’ll be in the virtual world for a while! d
Thank you so much for everything you do. I’ve listened to all of your podcasts, and read most of your books, and am very grateful for the changes you, Rhonda, Fabrice and the rest of the team have made to my life.
I’ve just listened to this episode, and there’s one thing I’m struggling with, which is the concept of the moral should.
I’ve done a few things that made me intensely guilty – one in particular was not standing by and supporting a friend who needed people when he was going through a particularly hard time. He was angry and disappointed with me, and, in hindsight, rightly so. He has since forgiven me but I still struggle with it.
I feel that supporting him was a moral should. The knowledge that I didn’t do what I should have done led to a lot of guit and shame, and eventually depression. You say that a moral should is valid; so therefore I feel that my negative thoughts on this are not misguided but valid – I did something morally wrong and deserved to feel bad for it.
Just wondering your thoughts on this.
Thanks again, and keep up the good work!
Would love to include this on an Ask David, using just your first name, or even a fake name if you prefer. A quick response might be to ask how many minutes per day would you like to dedicate to feeling guilty? And for how many days, months, or years? In your spiritual or religious beliefs, is a person supposed to feel intensely guilty forever? Most of us have done things we are ashamed of, or feel guilty about. How much guilt and shame would your recommend for me, for example? And what is the goal of the guilt and shame? And how guilty would you recommend I feel, between 0% and 100%?
That’s one approach. Another approach would be A = Assessment of Resistance, listing what the guilt shows about you that’s positive and awesome, and then asking yourself why in the world you’d want to let go of the guilt, given all the many real positives. david
Hi Dr Burns,
Thanks so much for your quick response! I really appreciate your advice; I will dedicate a bit of time today to approaching it the way you say.
And also, I’d be delighted if you included it on a podcast! You can use my first name by all means.
Thanks, Brian, will do! d
Hi David, I tried to respond before but I’m not sure if you got it.. Anyway thanks so much for your response – it makes sense and I will use this approach to the problem in future. I don’t subscribe to any religious belief but I went against my own moral code.
Anyway I’d be delighted if you used this on an Ask David episode. And feel free to use my first name.
Thanks again, you’re amazing
I very much appreciated the discussion of “should directed towards others” and towards the world. Yours is the first such discussion I’ve found on this topic. It needs more attention.
Thanks Carole, glad you liked it! d