How to Change a Self-Defeating Belief (SDB) (cont’d)
Last week, you had the chance to listen to our Tuesday training group at Stanford as we worked on the “Achievement Addiction,” Part 1 (Podcast 211). Although we were working with a therapist named Zeina Halim, it turned out that just about everybody in the group had this belief, and perhaps you do, too–thinking that your worthwhileness as a human being depends on your achievements, hard work, and productivity.
This belief, which is also known as the Calvinist work ethic (e.g. you are what you do) is actually at the heart of Western Civilization. And while it can trigger intense achievement, it can sometimes also trigger angst, including feelings of depression, anxiety, and endless self-doubt, wondering if you and your achievements are “good enough.”
In last week’s podcast, we played the first half of the Tuesday group’s session, featuring the Cost-Benefit Analysis. In today’s group, we play the the recording of the last half of the group, featuring these three additional techniques. At the end of today’s recording, Zeina joins us and talks about the session, and the techniques that were the most meaningful for her.
- The Semantic Technique. This involves change at the intellectual level. If you decide that a SDB is not working to your advantage when you do a CBA, you can you modify it so you can keep all the advantages you listed while getting rid of most if not all of the disadvantages. This is a bit of practical personal philosophy exercise with significant emotional implications. The group members came up with a wide variety of alternate beliefs, and I critiqued several of them, pointing out the benefits and pitfalls of each new version.
- The Feared Fantasy. Here’s where change at the gut level begins, and you also can begin to challenge the idea that high achievers really are more worthwhile. We did a version of this technique that I’ve often demonstrated in my workshops called the “High School Reunion.” It is a humor-based technique, but the goal is to make a powerful point at the gut level, so you can (hopefully) suddenly “see” that it is simply not true that people who achieve a great deal really are more worthwhile human beings.
- The Double Standard Technique. Here’s where change at the gut level continues, and you will hear a beautiful example in Zeina’s dramatic interaction with Dr. Levitt. Dr. Levitt plays the role of someone trying to figure out if she really is less worthwhile than people who achieve a great deal more.
Rhonda and I hope you enjoyed our podcasts on the Achievement Addiction. We’d also like to thank our courageous Zeina for sharing her very personal work with all of us. Live work–and showing how a technique works–is generally far more inspiring and illuminating than simply teaching how a technique works.
Please let us know if you’d like more Feeling Good Podcasts like this in the future, with recordings from our weekly training group, and also if there are additional Self-Defeating Beliefs you’d like us to feature.
My new book Feeling Great, is now available on Amazon (see the link below) as a hardbound volume or as an eBook. It features all the new TEAM therapy techniques, and is geared for therapists as well as the general public.
Rhonda and David
You can reach Dr. Burns at firstname.lastname@example.org. Dr. Rhonda Barovsky practices in Walnut Creek, California, but due to Covid-19 restrictions is working via Zoom, and can be reached at email@example.com. 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! Check out her new website: http://www.feelinggreattherapycenter.com
Zeina Halim, MA, AMFT practices in Menlo Park, California. She specializes in the treatment of TEAM-CBT with adults and anyone aged 13 or older, struggling with depression or anxiety. She also works with executives or adults wanting to boost their performance. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. She is supervised and employed by Matthew May, MD.
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This is the cover of my new book, Feeling Great. The kindle is available now, too, and the audio version may be available by the time you read this, too!