Podcast 257: What’s an Intensive?
Today’s podcast features Dr. Lorraine Wong and Richard Lam who describe the intensive TEAM-CBT treatment program at the Feeling Good Institute in Mountain View, California. Dr. Wong is a board certified clinical psychologist and the Clinical Director of The Feeling Good Institute in Mountain View.
Richard Lam is TEAM Certified Therapist, Trainer and Certification Program Manager at the Feeling Good Institute.
An intensive is a departure from the conventional weekly 50-minute session and compresses an entire course of therapy into a brief period of time. David describes how he created this treatment approach accidentally at his hospital in Philadelphia when one of the world’s most famous and beloved actors, a man who was a great fan of Dr. Burns first book, Feeling Good: The New Mood Therapy, contacted him and asked for treatment.
However, there was a catch. He only had two days available, and asked if he could fly from Hollywood to Philadelphia and book all of my sessions for two days. I was delighted to do that, and scheduled 17 back-to-back 45-minute sessions on a Thursday and Friday.
He came in a disguise, and explained that fans and the paparazzi were constantly hounding him, and that he felt like a hunted animal. I asked if the disguise was effective, and he said it wasn’t working at all. People still hounded him and asked why he was wearing the disguise and asked for autographs.
Because he was a powerful actor, the roleplaying techniques I have developed, like Externalization of Voices, were tremendously effective, and he actually made a complete recovery within a couple hours.
Later on, I developed an intensive program for the patients in our inner-city neighborhood, with the help of the president of our hospital, and it was also incredibly effective for our patients who had few resources. However, they loved cognitive therapy!
Richard and Lorraine explain how they are implementing the intensive concept at the FGI, working with people from around the United States and the world who come to Mountain View for several days for the treatment. They describe their work with a severely and chronically depressed man who came from Europe who seemed incredibly challenging at first. He was super skeptical and said that that he’d had tons of failed therapy but nothing and no one had ever helped him.
He was telling himself things like this:
- Life isn’t worth living.
- I’m a special case and no one will be able to help me.
- Life shouldn’t be so hard.
- I should be able to enjoy life more.
However, once they blew away his resistance using Paradoxical Agenda Setting, Richard explains that “it was a breeze to blow all of his negative thoughts out of the water.”
The treatment is costly in the short-term, but can be extremely cost-effective in reality because recovery often happens rapidly. It is my impression, too, that in the hands of a skillful therapist, extended sessions and intensive treatment with TEAM-CBT can often be amazingly effective.
If you would like to contact them, you can go to the FGI website (www.feelinggoodinstitute.com) or email them: Richard@feelinggoodinstitute.com or Lorraine@feelinggoodinstitute.com.
Thanks for listening, and thanks to Richard and Lorraine for being especially fun and gracious guests on today’s podcast!
Rhonda and David
Dr. Rhonda Barovsky practices in Walnut Creek, California. She sees clients mostly via Zoom, and in her office. She 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. Check out her new website: www.feelinggreattherapycenter.com.
You can reach Dr. Burns at firstname.lastname@example.org.
This is the cover of my new book, Feeling Great. The kindle and audio versions are available now too!
It’s currently on sale at Amazon and ridiculously cheap! Act fast if you want a copy!
Wonderful podcast! Really sounds like TEAM on steroids! Lorraine and Richard were really inspiring! It really does seem to take longer than the 50min to do TEAM, great breakdown of the traditional hour, spelling out how it leaves only 15min to actually do the work!
I wonder if you could talk about another way to do TEAM on steroids, when you work with a group? I’ve always had to do TEAM or CBT from 10 steps along an educational model with groups rather than a more formal 1-1 therapy model but man oh man! I’m telling you it seems extremely powerful and often the group can “gang up” on problems much like multiple therapists. I think we have gotten a taste of this with many of the live demos and how powerfully they’ve effected people that were there. It would be great to figure out a feedback tool for the group much like a Therapist Empathy Eval though I imagine it would be complicated, but imagine going over it with the group in the next session!!?! Maybe it would be like one of those Mozart operas where everyone is singing different things at the same time but maybe a lot of potential? I’ve just seen so many powerful therapeutic moments amongst group members and I was really on the sidelines. Esp since I’m a total amateur. Big bang for the buck tho!
Thanks again for the wonderful podcasts!
Thanks we created a group program like this in Philadelphia at my hospital, based on my book Ten Days to Self-Esteem. The groups were run by people from the community who were supervised by a clinical psychologist trained in Cognitive Therapy. Like you, I have seen the mind-blowing power of groups–plus our program was vastly less expensive than traditional hospitalization, and vastly more effective.
Thanks for your wise and kind comments!
Absolutely! Thank you for your comment. You’re stories and examples of that time pervade your work in your books, on the podcasts, at your lecture at Bunker Hill Community College I saw you at once. Some of the things you said 30 years ago about working with groups have stayed with me, the song about black & white thinking for instance! Would you ever have a podcast where you talked specifically about group work? Not that you have to but I feel even though it’s very clear how powerful it can be, it would be great to hear you talk about it overtly? I swear I’m not alone in this request!
Thank you again for your wonderful podcasts!
Sure, could do a podcast on group work at some point. Thanks! What state was that college in? Warmly, david
Bunker Hill Community College, in Massachusetts, the edge of Boston, in Charlestown… “The Town…” in the early 1990s! A real thrill to see you! It wasn’t the brunt of your lecture but… you briefly segued into stories about working with the severely mentally ill in the low budget clinic you worked with using CBT and how quickly and effective the ideas were able to be accepted and utilized by the patients & staff! Very inspiring! I was working in group homes in Boston at the time. Thanks again! Another time you talked about this great African American nurse you worked with at that low budget clinic in Philly and the “games” and group exercises you would do to really make the ideas pop! I know it was probably 30 years ago though!
Thanks, yes, that was George Collette, and African American clinical social worker, I believe. He taught me some things about Buddhism from time to time, too! Thanks for jarring my memory! Warmly, david
Hey David, I’m currently reading Feeling Great and I don’t understand what you mean with “being below average”. Can you pinpoint to a specific behaviour what that”below-averageness” means? Or is it an overgeneralization to our entire way of approaching live? For example I’m an artist but in order to take action in my life I had to drastically reduce my perfectionism and just begin to create art despite not being able to concentrate for more then 2 hours while other so called “Masters” could sit down for hours on end and really concentrate on their craft.
If you are looking to do an intensive, I offer them in Canada for counselling, and in the USA for life coaching. http://www.angelapoch.com to learn more.