154: Ask David–Relationship Problems: What can you do when people “ghost” you? What can I do when my wife doesn’t want sex? And more!

154: Ask David–Relationship Problems: What can you do when people “ghost” you? What can I do when my wife doesn’t want sex? And more!

Ask David Five Secrets Relationship Questions

Kate asks: I love listening to your podcasts and am currently reading my way through your book, Feeling Good. I appreciate that you have written and spoken about relationship problems at length, but in what I have read and heard so far I do not see how this can apply to the current climate of casual dating and hook up culture which is fueled by apps such as Tinder.

I don’t know how it’s possible to build relationships when the dominant mentality is that people are disposable. It feels like no matter how much I find truth in what my date says, stroke them and empathize with them, that they will disappear (‘ghost’) at the drop of a hat.

I think this may be a significant problem for many of your listeners, and would greatly appreciate your thoughts, as well as any practical steps on how to date in today’s world.

* * * 

Eli asks: Your work has helped me tremendously over the past 2 years. However, recently I’ve discovered something about myself that I don’t know how to change. I’d be really curious to hear your thoughts.

For some reason, when it comes to sex, it seems that I have a lot of self-worth wrapped up in my sex drive. I’m realizing when my wife and I have sex I feel like I’m on top of the world afterwards. I feel so positive the following few days and I feel mentally and emotionally healthy. But it’s devastatingly real that the reverse is true as well… when we don’t have sex (and particularly when I reach out and she’s not in the mood) and when a week or so passes that we don’t have sex, I find myself feeling very insecure. I feel ugly, unlovable and generally less valuable as a person.

Is there an exercise you would recommend for me to discover possible hidden thoughts/emotions that could be causing this? Is it possible to change this about myself?

I want to have a close, intimate relationship with my wife (sexually and non-sexually) but I also want to feel valuable and positive whether or not we’re sexually active.

PS – If, by chance, you address this on the podcast, could you refer to me as “Eli” or something else anonymous as you usually do.

Thank you for all you have do!

* * * 

Susan asks: You seem like a good person to ask this question partly because you are a man. Someone I know, I won’t say whom, told me he felt emasculated when I asked him to take my car to the gas station to get the wipers replaced.

He said that he should be able to replace them himself but doesn’t actually know how, so he would prefer if I took the car to the service station. I said that was stupid, granted not very diplomatic, and he said that’s what he gets for expressing his feelings, which I frequently complain he does not do.

To me “emasculated“ is more of a concept or a thought. I will not get into toxic masculinity and the patriarchy, but I am curious what you think. By the way, this person and I have benefited a lot from your relationship journal exercise, thankfully we did not need it this time 🙂

* * * 

Knaidu asks: Here’s a specific example which occurred whilst I was trying to use the disarming technique. It is one where I failed to use the technique.

Anyway, I was meeting a friend of mine, and was a running a few min late for our lunch appointment. I couldn’t send her text to let her know as I was driving. I arrived at least 5 min late. When I arrived she immediately said

“I knew it all along, you really don’t want to meet with me or actually have lunch with me!”

I tried to explain that I was stuck in a traffic jam and couldn’t text, but it didn’t work. Here’s what I said:

 “Please Mrs. X, I was stuck in a traffic jam and that’s why I am late. Have I ever said I don’t want to meet with you? And if I didn’t why have I bothered to arrive at all, I mean I could have just not arrived if I didn’t want to meet you!”

After I said that she stormed off.

I am afraid I could agree with her idea that I didn’t really want to meet with her, because the truth was I did want to meet but couldn’t help being late. I could agree with something that was not real to me and if I did try to agree, I would be lying to her.

Please help me, David and Rhonda!

Thanks for tuning in, and keep the great questions coming!

David and Rhonda

Subscribe

You can reach Dr. Burns at david@feelinggood.com. Dr. Rhonda Barovsky practices in Walnut Creek, California, and can be reached at rbarovsky@aol.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

* * *

You may have missed the Calgary and South San Francisco intensives, but there will be two more awesome workshops
for you this fall.

High-Speed Treatment of Depression
and Anxiety Disorders

A Four-Day TEAM-CBT Advanced Intensive

November 4 – 7, 2019
The Atlanta, Georgia Intensive

Sponsored by Praxis

* * *

I also have a tremendous one-day workshop scheduled with my colleague, Dr. Jill Levitt, that will be potentially life- and career-changing (really!) You will learn powerful skills that will boost your clinical effectiveness and improve your relationships with friends, colleagues, and loved ones.

Advanced Empathy Tools for Connecting
with Challenging Patients,
Colleagues, Friends, and Loved Ones

With Drs. David Burns and Jill Levitt

Oct 6, 2019 | 7 CE hours, $135

Do you have a patient, colleague, friend or loved one who:

  • Complains endlessly but doesn’t listen to any of your good advice?
  • Appears irate, but insists s/he isn’t upset?
  • Refuses to express his / her feelings?
  • Never listens?
  • Argues, and always has to be right?
  • Always has to be in control?
  • Is relentlessly critical?
  • “Yes-but’s” when you try to make a point?
  • Insists you don’t really care—or understand—when you think you do?

Then you’re going to LOVE this workshop with David and Jill. You’ll learn about–

  • The Powerful “Law of Opposites”
  • How to find out how your patients really feel about you–if you dare!
  • How to transform therapeutic failure into success
  • How to talk to people who refuse to talk to you

You’ll also learn–

  • Why your worst therapeutic failure is actually your greatest success in disguise
  • The fine points of the Five Secrets of Effective Communication
  • Three Advanced Empathy Techniques: Multiple Choice Empathy, Changing the Focus, and Positive Reframing
  • And more

There will be lots of small group practice with expert feedback and mentoring to help you refine your skills!

Attend in person or
from your home via Live Streaming

Sign up early because we always sell-out for the in-person seats. Of course, there will be lots of skilled trainers to help the online participants with the small group exercises, so you’ll have a great experience either way.

My one-day workshops with Dr. Levitt are usually pretty awesome! It is always an honor to teach with Jill!

Learn More & Register

 

* * *

Coming up in 2020

High Speed Methods to Reduce Resistance
and Boost Motivation

With Drs. David Burns and Jill Levitt

Feb 9. 2020 |  7 CE hours. $135

Learn More & Register

 The Cognitive Distortion Starter Kit:
How to Crush Negative Thoughts

With Drs. David Burns and Jill Levitt

May 17, 2020 | 7 CE hours. $135

Learn More & Register

 

153: Ask David: Is it okay to touch patients? Does depression ALWAYS result from distorted thoughts? And more!

153: Ask David: Is it okay to touch patients? Does depression ALWAYS result from distorted thoughts? And more!

New Ask David Questions

  1. Kelly asks: Would love to hear a podcast about to use or not to use touch in therapy. I personally feel touch is extremely helpful (what is more natural than to hug or put a hand on someone hurting), however I believe our profession has become so “professionalized” that is leaves out such a power act of healing. Did you ever use touch when you were practicing, and do you feel it is appropriate?
  2. Against Machines Taking Over asks: You say that depression always results from distorted thoughts. But the sadness that results from a failure, rejection, or disappointment is not distorted. Can you explain a bit more about this?
  3. Against Machines Taking Over also asks: Is there something you used to advocate for before but then you changed your mind?
  4. Eduardo asks: How do you treat hypochondriasis. Almost all articles and advices I’ve read for hypochondriasis try to cover the writer’s back by first and foremost telling you that you should get yourself checked for real causes for your concern.
  5. Eduardo also asks: I’ve been struggling with anxiety, and after reading When Panic Attacks, I got very interested in giving The Hidden Emotion model a try, but it seems to be structure-less. It seems to require a lot of detective work with no clear sheet or procedure. It’s just Detective Work, and then do something about it. Is there some newer technique to dig into what’s eating you?

You can reach Dr. Burns at david@feelinggood.com. Dr. Rhonda Barovsky practices in Walnut Creek, California, and can be reached at rbarovsky@aol.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.

* * *

You may have missed the Calgary and South San Francisco intensives, but there will be two more awesome workshops
for you this fall.

High-Speed Treatment of Depression
and Anxiety Disorders

A Four-Day TEAM-CBT Advanced Intensive

November 4 – 7, 2019
The Atlanta, Georgia Intensive

Sponsored by Praxis

* * *

I also have a tremendous one-day workshop scheduled with my colleague, Dr. Jill Levitt, that will be potentially life- and career-changing (really!) You will learn powerful skills that will boost your clinical effectiveness and improve your relationships with friends, colleagues, and loved ones.

Advanced Empathy Tools for Connecting
with Challenging Patients,
Colleagues, Friends, and Loved Ones

With Drs. David Burns and Jill Levitt

Oct 6, 2019 | 7 CE hours, $135

Do you have a patient, colleague, friend or loved one who:

  • Complains endlessly but doesn’t listen to any of your good advice?
  • Appears irate, but insists s/he isn’t upset?
  • Refuses to express his / her feelings?
  • Never listens?
  • Argues, and always has to be right?
  • Always has to be in control?
  • Is relentlessly critical?
  • “Yes-but’s” when you try to make a point?
  • Insists you don’t really care—or understand—when you think you do?

Then you’re going to LOVE this workshop with David and Jill. You’ll learn about–

  • The Powerful “Law of Opposites”
  • How to find out how your patients really feel about you–if you dare!
  • How to transform therapeutic failure into success
  • How to talk to people who refuse to talk to you

You’ll also learn–

  • Why your worst therapeutic failure is actually your greatest success in disguise
  • The fine points of the Five Secrets of Effective Communication
  • Three Advanced Empathy Techniques: Multiple Choice Empathy, Changing the Focus, and Positive Reframing
  • And more

There will be lots of small group practice with expert feedback and mentoring to help you refine your skills!

Attend in person or
from your home via Live Streaming

Sign up early because we always sell-out for the in-person seats. Of course, there will be lots of skilled trainers to help the online participants with the small group exercises, so you’ll have a great experience either way.

My one-day workshops with Dr. Levitt are usually pretty awesome! It is always an honor to teach with Jill!

Learn More & Register

* * *

Coming up in 2020

High Speed Methods to Reduce Resistance
and Boost Motivation

With Drs. David Burns and Jill Levitt

Feb 9. 2020 |  7 CE hours. $135

Learn More & Register

 The Cognitive Distortion Starter Kit:
How to Crush Negative Thoughts

With Drs. David Burns and Jill Levitt

May 17, 2020 | 7 CE hours. $135

Learn More & Register

South San Francisco Intensive Report!

Hi colleagues,

The South San Francisco intensive was also an incredible experience. Once again, people were tremendously open and receptive, and there were lots of tears and laughter. In fact, it was the highest rated intensive in the past 25 years.

Here’s a lovely email I just got from one of the participants:

Hi Dr. Burns,

I just got back to New York after attending the intensive in San Francisco and thought I would relay this funny story.

I live in a rural working-class town in the Hudson Valley. There is still a pretty big stigma around therapy here, and those who do get counseling view it as a luxury. My family and I went to the local movie theater when I got home on Friday. The teenager who was taking tickets had a book nearby for when things got slow: Feeling Good!!

I asked what he thought of it and he was in awe that I had just spent 4 days with the author. I felt like a celebrity by association! It’s great to know that the powerful techniques you developed are being used even by those who can’t afford therapy.

Thank you for a wonderful, informative intensive. I look forward to practicing my new skills!

Bonna

PS

A special thank you to all the wonderful helpers at the conference. They really enhanced my experience!

If you missed the Calgary and South San Francisco intensives, consider the November intensive in Atlanta (see below) or my upcoming one day October 6 workshop on the Five Secrets of Effective Communication with my dear colleague, Dr. Jill Levitt! You’ll find the details and links for registration below.

david

* * *

You may have missed the Calgary and South San Francisco intensives, but there will be two more awesome workshops
for you this fall.

High-Speed Treatment of Depression
and Anxiety Disorders

A Four-Day TEAM-CBT Advanced Intensive

November 4 – 7, 2019
The Atlanta, Georgia Intensive

Sponsored by Praxis

* * *

I also have a tremendous one-day workshop scheduled with my colleague, Dr. Jill Levitt, that will be potentially life- and career-changing (really!) You will learn powerful skills that will boost your clinical effectiveness and improve your relationships with friends, colleagues, and loved ones.

Advanced Empathy Tools for Connecting
with Challenging Patients,
Colleagues, Friends, and Loved Ones

With Drs. David Burns and Jill Levitt

Oct 6, 2019 | 7 CE hours, $135

Do you have a patient, colleague, friend or loved one who:

  • Complains endlessly but doesn’t listen to any of your good advice?
  • Appears irate, but insists s/he isn’t upset?
  • Refuses to express his / her feelings?
  • Never listens?
  • Argues, and always has to be right?
  • Always has to be in control?
  • Is relentlessly critical?
  • “Yes-but’s” when you try to make a point? 
  • Insists you don’t really care—or understand—when you think you do?

Then you’re going to LOVE this workshop with David and Jill. You’ll learn about–

  • The Powerful “Law of Opposites”
  • How to find out how your patients really feel about you–if you dare!
  • How to transform therapeutic failure into success
  • How to talk to people who refuse to talk to you

You’ll also learn–

  • Why your worst therapeutic failure is actually your greatest success in disguise
  • The fine points of the Five Secrets of Effective Communication
  • Three Advanced Empathy Techniques: Multiple Choice Empathy, Changing the Focus, and Positive Reframing
  • And more

There will be lots of small group practice with expert feedback and mentoring to help you refine your skills!

Attend in person or
from your home via Live Streaming

Sign up early because we always sell-out for the in-person seats. Of course, there will be lots of skilled trainers to help the online participants with the small group exercises, so you’ll have a great experience either way.

My one-day workshops with Dr. Levitt are usually pretty awesome! It is always an honor to teach with Jill!

Learn More & Register

 

* * *

Coming up in 2020

High Speed Methods to Reduce Resistance
and Boost Motivation

With Drs. David Burns and Jill Levitt

Feb 9. 2020 |  7 CE hours. $135

Learn More & Register

 The Cognitive Distortion Starter Kit:
How to Crush Negative Thoughts

With Drs. David Burns and Jill Levitt

May 17, 2020 | 7 CE hours. $135

Learn More & Register

 

 

152: Treating At-Risk Teens with TEAM-CBT. Can You REALLY Make a Difference?

152: Treating At-Risk Teens with TEAM-CBT. Can You REALLY Make a Difference?

In today’s podcast, Rhonda and I interview the incredibly brilliant, funny, and creative Amy Spector. Amy is a licensed marriage and family therapist and credentialed school counselor with over a decade of experience working with adolescents and their families. She is passionate about providing school-based mental health services and advocates for legislation to mandate universal mental health care for youth.

Amy works with “at risk” teenagers at Vicente High School in Martinez, California. This is a continuation high school, as well as teens at Briones School, an independent study school. Her students are credit deficient and at risk of not graduating from high school. Nearly all have experienced significant trauma and most are severely depressed, anxious and angry when first referred to Amy, and some have suicidal thoughts or urges as well.

Although you might think that this would be an exceptionally challenging, oppositional, and frustrating group to work with, Amy has had tremendous success treating these teenagers with TEAM-CBT. She measures symptom severity at the start and end of every session, just as we do with adults, and often reports a phenomenal reduction of 60% in depression and anxiety in a single, 30-minute therapy session. Although this may be hard, or even impossible, to believe, it is real, and you’ll see why when you listen to this amazing interview. Amy’s secret involves a combination of superb E = Empathy skills to form a meaningful relationship, along with A = Paradoxical Agenda Setting to reduce resistance, followed by truly creative applications of M = Methods. And, of course, she does T = Testing with every student at every session, and plots her effectiveness over time.

Amy describes her work with a severely anxious young man with artistic skills, who drew an “Anxiety Hero” figure who saves the world by worrying constantly about every little thing, plus a “Chilled Out” figure who never worries and ends up getting hit by a bus. In other words, Amy skillfully emphasized the many BENEFITS of the young’s man’s constant anxiety, as well as the downside of getting cured. This paradoxically boosted his motivation, and he improved rapidly.

This is prototypical TEAM, which is difficult for many therapists to learn, because therapists are so used to, and addicted to, “helping.” Amy has developed expertise in aligning with the resistance of her students. paradoxically, she ends up on the same page, and this allows some awesome TEAMwork to emerge.

Amy, Rhonda and David talk about the idea of teaching TEAM through creative innovations, with many examples of games Amy has created. For example, she created a game with another one of our fabulous TEAM-CBT therapists, Brandon Vance, MD, which can be played with teens and adults, called “Tune In / Tune Up.” This game provides a really fun way to learn the 5-Secrets of Effective Communication. If you’re interested, you can check it out at  www.gamefulmind.com.

Amy and her students have also created a podcast that you might want check out.

Although I (David) have been primarily an adult shrink, I have really enjoyed working with teenagers as well. A few years back, I tested hundreds of juveniles who had been arrested in California, many for violent crimes, including murder, at the request of the probation department, using my Brief Mood Survey to find out how depressed, anxious, suicidal, and angry the kids were.

Toward the end of the podcast, I describe what happened when I was invited to visit two groups of incarcerated gang members at the Juvenile Hall in San Mateo, California to find out how they felt about the tests I administered, and to get their take on the causes of so much teen violence.

I think you’ll find this episode to be fun, funny, and inspiring! Amy is a strong advocate for including mental health training in high schools, and her experience illustrates the enormous potential for rapid and profound mental health growth and learning in teens.

If you would like to contact Amy, she can be reached at babyfreud@gmail.com.

Subscribe

You can reach Dr. Burns at david@feelinggood.com. Dr. Rhonda Barovsky practices in Walnut Creek, California, and can be reached at rbarovsky@aol.com.

If you like our jingle music and would like to support the composer Brett Van Donsel, you may download it here.

* * *

You may have missed the Calgary and South San Francisco intensives, but there will be two more awesome workshops
for you this fall.

High-Speed Treatment of Depression
and Anxiety Disorders

A Four-Day TEAM-CBT Advanced Intensive

November 4 – 7, 2019
The Atlanta, Georgia Intensive

Sponsored by Praxis

* * *

I also have a tremendous one-day workshops scheduled with my colleague, Dr. Jill Levitt, that will be potentially life- and career-changing experiences (really!) You will learn powerful skills that will boost your clinical effectiveness and improve your relationships with your patients as well as the people you care about.

Advanced Empathy Tools for Connecting
with Challenging Patients,
Colleagues, Friends, and Loved Ones

With Drs. David Burns and Jill Levitt

Oct 6, 2019 | 7 CE hours, $135

Do you have a patient, colleague, friend or loved one who:

  • Complains endlessly but does listen to any of your good advice?
  • Appears irate, but insists s/he isn’t upset?
  • Refuses to express his / her feelings?
  • Never listens?
  • Argues, and always has to be right?
  • Always has to be in control?
  • Is relentlessly critical?
  • Insists you don’t really care—or understand—when you think you do?

Then you’re going to LOVE this workshop with David and Jill. You’ll learn about–

  • The Powerful “Law of Opposites”
  • How to find out how your patients really feel about you–if you dare!
  • How to transform therapeutic failure into success
  • How to talk to people who refuse to talk to you
  • Why your worst therapeutic failure is actually your greatest success in disguise
  • The fine points of the Five Secrets of Effective Communication
  • Three Advanced Empathy Techniques: Multiple Choice Empathy / Disarming, Changing the Focus, and Positive Reframing
  • And more, including lots of small group practice with expert feedback and mentoring to refine your skills!

Attend in person or
from your home via Live Streaming

Sign up early because we nearly always sell-out for the in-person seats. Of course, there will be lots of skilled trainers to help the online participants with the small group exercises, so you will win either way.

My one-day workshops with Dr. Levitt are usually pretty awesome! It is always an honor to teach with Jill!

Learn More & Register

* * *

Coming up in 2020

High Speed Methods to Reduce Resistance
and Boost Motivation

With Drs. David Burns and Jill Levitt

Feb 9. 2020 |  7 CE hours. $135

Learn More & Register

 The Cognitive Distortion Starter Kit:
How to Crush Negative Thoughts

With Drs. David Burns and Jill Levitt

May 17, 2020 | 7 CE hours. $135

Learn More & Register

151: Treating LGBTQ Patients–What’s the TEAM Approach?

151: Treating LGBTQ Patients–What’s the TEAM Approach?

Are there some special techniques therapists need
to use when working with LGBTQ patients?

Does the therapeutic approach have to be different?

In today’s podcast, Rhonda and David interview Kyle Jones, a brilliant 5th year PhD student at Palo Alto University. Kyle has been a member of David’s training group at Stanford for the past four years, and now sees patients at the Feeling Good Institute in Mt. View, California. Today’s program is based on Kyle’s doctoral research on the treatment of LGBTQ patients.

To get the interview started, Kyle defines LGBTQ:

L = lesbian

G = gay

B = bisexual

T = transgender

Q = questioning, or queer.

Then Rhonda asks the obvious question: How does the treatment of LGBTQ individuals differ from the treatment of individuals who are heterosexual? What are the key differences? What special techniques or procedures should therapists use? And what does Kyle’s research reveal about the important factors in the treatment of LGBTQ individuals?

Kyle emphasizes that most important factor is the therapist’s attitude toward the patient, as opposed to any special techniques or procedures that are unique to the treatment of the gay population. Sensitivity to and awareness of the unique challenges this population faces in terms of hatred and prejudice are tremendously important. Kyle points out that some therapists place an excessive focus on the patient’s gayness, while some tend to sweep this “uncomfortable” issue under the rug.

Kyle emphasizes that most important factor is the therapist’s attitude toward the patient, as opposed to any special techniques or procedures that are unique to the treatment of LGBTQ people. Sensitivity to and awareness of the unique challenges this population faces in terms of hatred and prejudice are tremendously important. Kyle points out that some therapists place an excessive focus on the patient’s LGBTQ identity, while some tend to sweep this “uncomfortable” topic under the rug.

Kyle emphasizes that the therapeutic approach is largely the same for gay and straight patients. In TEAM, we first provide strong empathy, so the patient feels understood and accepted. This, of course, is crucial for all patients. Then we set the agenda, asking the patient if she or he wants help, and if so, what is the problem that he or she wants help with?

In other words, there is no special “agenda” that the therapist should impose on the treatment simply because the patient is gay, bisexual, transgender or queer. Kyle mentions that this is not a trivial point, because many therapists will try to set the agenda for the patient, thinking there is some “correct” way one should treat LGBTQ people, or some “correct” set of issues that must be addressed. David points out that thinking there is a special approach to gay patients could actually be viewed as a type of bias, thinking that the treatment of members of the LGBTQ community must be somehow “different” or special. However, the therapist using knowledge of the LGBTQ community skillfully in therapy is important.

In TEAM, we do NOT treat disorders, diagnoses, or “types” of patients. We treat humans in a highly individualize way, using the fractal approach described in a previous podcast. In other words, we ask the client to describe one specific moment when he or she was upset and wants help. Then the treatment flows from the exploration of that specific moment, because all the patient’s problems will be encapsulated in how she or he was thinking, feeling, and behaving at that moment. The treatment might then focus on depression, anxiety, a relationship problem, or a habit or addiction.

Rhonda, Kyle and David discuss the problem of therapists who have a strong anti-gay bias, as well as the question of whether gay therapists are obligated to announce this to the patient, and they come up with some pretty cool answers! Rhonda points out that when and how to do self-disclosure is a question therapists face with all patients, and that the goal of the self-disclosure should be on how best to help the patient.

Kyle and David reflect on some of the personal work Kyle did during his training program, and how important that work has been to Kyle as he has evolved into a dynamic, compassionate therapist and teacher. They reminisce about the first personal work Kyle did with David on one of the Sunday hikes. Kyle was feeling depressed because he’d just been rejected, unexpectedly, by his boyfriend, and was able to turn the situation around dramatically and quickly using TEAM-CBT. Kyle also describes his own discovery during college that he was gay, and what happened when he shared his sexual orientation with his parents and brother.

The message of this podcast turned out to be pretty simple and basic. The key to the effective treatment of all of our patients is acceptance. The therapist needs to accept the patient, and the patient needs to learn to accept themselves. In fact, acceptance seems to be the path to recovery and enlightenment for all of us!

For those interested in more depth and breadth (non-TEAM related) on this topic, Kyle recommends the following resources, or feel free to reach out to him at: Kyle@feelinggoodinstitute.com

Balsam, K.F., Martell, C.R., Jones K.P., & Safren S.A., (2019) Affirmative cognitive-behavior therapy with sexual and gender minority people. In Culturally responsive cognitive-behavioral therapy: Assessment, practice, and supervision.  Washington, DC: American Psychological Association Press

Pachankis, J. E., & Safren, S. A. (Eds.). (2019). Handbook of Evidence-Based Mental Health Practice with Sexual and Gender Minorities. Oxford University Press, USA.

David D. Burns, MD, Rhonda Barovsky, PsyD and Kyle Jones (PhD candidate)

Subscribe

You can reach Dr. Burns at david@feelinggood.com. Dr. Rhonda Barovsky practices in Walnut Creek, California, and can be reached at rbarovsky@aol.com.

If you like our jingle music and would like to support the composer Brett Van Donsel, you may download it here.

* * *

You may have missed the Calgary and South San Francisco intensives, but there will be two more awesome workshops
for you this fall.

High-Speed Treatment of Depression
and Anxiety Disorders

A Four-Day TEAM-CBT Advanced Intensive

November 4 – 7, 2019
The Atlanta, Georgia Intensive

Sponsored by Praxis

* * *

I also have a tremendous one-day workshops scheduled with my colleague, Dr. Jill Levitt, that will be potentially life- and career-changing experiences (really!) You will learn powerful skills that will boost your clinical effectiveness and improve your relationships with your patients as well as the people you care about.

Advanced Empathy Tools for Connecting
with Challenging Patients,
Colleagues, Friends, and Loved Ones

With Drs. David Burns and Jill Levitt

Oct 6, 2019 | 7 CE hours, $135

Do you have a patient, colleague, friend or loved one who:

  • Complains endlessly but does listen to any of your good advice?
  • Appears irate, but insists s/he isn’t upset?
  • Refuses to express his / her feelings?
  • Never listens?
  • Argues, and always has to be right?
  • Always has to be in control?
  • Is relentlessly critical?
  • Insists you don’t really care—or understand—when you think you do?

Then you’re going to LOVE this workshop with David and Jill. You’ll learn about–

  • The Powerful “Law of Opposites”
  • How to find out how your patients really feel about you–if you dare!
  • How to transform therapeutic failure into success
  • How to talk to people who refuse to talk to you
  • Why your worst therapeutic failure is actually your greatest success in disguise
  • The fine points of the Five Secrets of Effective Communication
  • Three Advanced Empathy Techniques: Multiple Choice Empathy / Disarming, Changing the Focus, and Positive Reframing
  • And more, including lots of small group practice with expert feedback and mentoring to refine your skills!

Attend in person or
from your home via Live Streaming

Sign up early because we nearly always sell-out for the in-person seats. Of course, there will be lots of skilled trainers to help the online participants with the small group exercises, so you will win either way.

My one-day workshops with Dr. Levitt are usually pretty awesome! It is always an honor to teach with Jill!

Learn More & Register

* * *

Coming up in 2020

High Speed Methods to Reduce Resistance
and Boost Motivation

With Drs. David Burns and Jill Levitt

Feb 9. 2020 |  7 CE hours. $135

Learn More & Register

 The Cognitive Distortion Starter Kit:
How to Crush Negative Thoughts

With Drs. David Burns and Jill Levitt

May 17, 2020 | 7 CE hours. $135

Learn More & Register

Calgary Intensive Report!

Hi colleagues,

The Calgary intensive was an incredible experience. People were tremendously open and receptive, and there were lots of tears and laughter. I think it is fair that there was magic in the air! I am very indebted to Mike Christensen, who was my co-therapist in the live demonstration. Mike helped with the small group exercises as well.

If you missed Calgary, consider the South San Francisco intensive starting this coming Monday. You will learn innovative, new approaches to psychotherapy, and you’ll have the chance to do some personal healing as well. But register right away if you’re interested, as this intensive is almost fully subscribed. There are only a few spots left, but we’ve been saving one of them for you!

On day 1 you’ll see a video illustrating super-fast treatment of a woman struggling with PTSD. We’ll also do some advanced empathy training, and you’ll have the chance to start work on your own personal healing. In the evening, Dr. Jill Levitt will be my co-therapist for a live demonstration of TEAM-CBT with a volunteer from the workshop. Jill is one of the finest therapists and teachers I have ever had the pleasure of working with, and I have no doubt that you will be touched as well by her compassion and brilliance.

On day 2, you’ll learn how to identify the eight most common causes of therapeutic resistance / failure. You’ll also learn some incredible new resistance-busting techniques that can greatly boost you effectiveness as well as your satisfaction in your clinical work.

And on days 3 and 4, you’ll learn many powerful TEAM methods to overcome depression, all of the anxiety disorders and habits and addictions as well. On day 3, there will also be a special lunch presentation by Sunny Choi. Sunny works with individuals with few resources, often immigrants who do not speak English, and does amazing work that will inspire you. He was a huge hit at last year’s intensive, and has kindly agreed to return this year to speak about TEAM-CBT with compassion!

There will be tons of skillful helpers from the Feeling Good Institute in Mt. View to guide and tutor you throughout the workshop, and I’ll be providing you with personal feedback and support as well.

I know that taking four days from your practice and personal life is a high price to pay for a psychotherapy workshop. I will do everything I can to try to make this the most meaningful and rewarding training experience of your career!

Sincerely,

David D. Burns, MD

High-Speed Treatment of Depression
and Anxiety Disorders

A Four-Day TEAM-CBT Intensive

with David Burns, MD

S. San Francisco, July 29 – August 1,2019

and

Atlanta, November 4 – 7, 2019

Register with friends and save 20%!

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32 hrs of CE credit!

plus TEAM-CBT certification hours

 

 

150: I’m anxious, but I don’t have any negative thoughts. What can I do?

150: I’m anxious, but I don’t have any negative thoughts. What can I do?

What can you do when you can’t identify your negative thoughts?

Is it really true that our feelings always result from negative thoughts?

How can I get over my public speaking anxiety?

Rubens, a faithful and enthusiastic Feeling Good Podcast fan, sent me an email with a terrific question that has both  practical and theoretical implications. He wrote:

Dear Mr. David,

I’ve read “Feeling Good” and I’m reading “When Panic Attacks” now. Both have and are helping me immensely.

However, the one thing I have never understood is that my anxieties and worries often don’t come as a thought. For instance, I have an academic presentation tomorrow, and I’m suffering from much anxiety because of that. But the symptoms did not appear because I thought in my mind the sentence “you are going to fail!”. In my case, it is usually silent. I just remember that I have a presentation tomorrow, then I immediately feel worried. My chest hurts before any thought. How do I counter-argument my thoughts, if I have none?

Thank you for replying, Mr. David!

 In today’s podcast, Rhonda and I address this question and explain what to do when you can’t pinpoint your negative thoughts. There are  two really good methods.

We will also demonstrate how to deal with some of the negative thoughts that typically trigger public speaking anxiety. The cure involves changing the way you think, and changing the way you communicate with the people in your audience. If you’ve ever struggled with public speaking anxiety, this podcast may be helpful for you!

Thank you again, Rubens, for your excellent question!

David D. Burns, MD / Rhonda Barovsky, PsyD

Subscribe

You can reach Dr. Burns at david@feelinggood.com. Dr. Rhonda Barovsky practices in Walnut Creek, California, and can be reached at rbarovsky@aol.com.

If you like our jingle music and would like to support the composer Brett Van Donsel, you may download it here

* * *

You may have missed the Calgary intensive, but there will be two more awesome intensives
for you this summer and fall.

 

The incredible SF intensive will be here in one week!

July 29 – August 1, 2019
South San Francisco four-day intensive
Sponsored by Praxis

 

November 4 – 7, 2019
Atlanta, Georgia four-day intensive
Sponsored by Praxis

 

149: Is Cognitive Therapy a Cure-All for Everything?

149: Is Cognitive Therapy a Cure-All for Everything?

I recently published the results of a survey of Feeling Good Podcast fans like yourself. The findings were overwhelmingly positive and illuminating. However, there were a few criticisms as well, like the excellent and thoughtful comments Rhonda and I will address in this podcast. I appreciate negative feedback, as this provides the greatest opportunities for growth and learning. 

However, like most people, I sometimes find criticisms emotionally challenging  and want to lash out, defending myself! Do you sometimes feel that way, too?

When I feel defensive, its because I think I have a “self” or some cherished “territory” that’s under attack. When I let go of this “self,” it can be incredibly liberating to find truth in a criticism and discover that the feedback is really coming from a trusted colleague or friend, rather than some enemy who is trying to destroy or defeat you! 

Here’s what s/he wrote:

Dr. Burns, you seem to disregard healing modalities outside of CBT. CBT is wonderful and nobody teachers it better than Dr Burns—I believe that it is a foundational practice to well-being. However, working with difficult emotions is very important and not always well addressed through CBT alone.

Thinking CBT is the answer for most issues is loaded with cognitive distortions. Example–Discounting the Positive in other practices, All or Nothing Thinking, Magical Thinking, and seeing CBT as a “cure all.” In my personal healing journey CBT has been absolutely essential–as has self compassion, learning to let things go, inner child work, mindfulness, somatic awareness and more. I have noticed there has repeatedly been a dismissive tone for other valuable practices.

Obviously. the Feeling Good Podcast is about CBT and sticking to your expertise is essential. However, I would be careful not to disregard other healing practices that could potentially help someone out.

I have such respect for Dr Burns and his team-but your words carry weight- please be thoughtful about discounting other methods that could be helping someone.

Thank you, whoever you are, for this thought-provoking feedback. And you are SO RIGHT. Cognitive Therapy has value for some problems, but it is definitely NOT a panacea. In fact, no treatment is! The belief that you have THE ANSWER for everything is incredibly misguided but unfortunately, way too common in our field. 

I have no doubt that many people have shared your concerns. Let us know what you think after you hear today’s podcast! 

David and Rhonda

Subscribe

You can reach Dr. Burns at david@feelinggood.com. Dr. Rhonda Barovsky practices in Walnut Creek, California, and can be reached at rbarovsky@aol.com.

If you like our jingle music and would like to support the composer Brett Van Donsel, you may download it here

* * *

There will be two more intensives
for you this summer and fall! The SF program is starting soon, so act fast if you want to attend.

 

July 29 – August 1, 2019
South San Francisco four-day intensive
Sponsored by Praxis

 

November 4 – 7, 2019
Atlanta, Georgia four-day intensive
Sponsored by Praxis

 

The intensives are always THE BEST!
I hope you can join me at one of these incredible events!

 

Is there only one way to do things?

Is there only one way to do things?

Hello everyone,

At my Stanford Tuesday training group this week, one of our members asked a super-important question, “Does David believe there is only one correct way to do things?” By way of coincidence, Rhonda and I recently recorded a podcast on this very topic, and it will be published on Monday. This is the title: “Is Cognitive Therapy a Cure-All for Everything?” You might enjoy it, and you’ll get my thinking on several controversial topics.

If you’re not yet a podcast fan, you and some of your patients might like them. Here’s an email I got just this morning from someone in Kosovo.

Dr. David,

Greetings from Kosovo. Your book has been a wonderful journey on my self-help regarding my anxieties, worries, and stress – so thank you very much. After reading the book I found out about the podcast (very recently) and ever since I started watching all of the episodes one by one from the very first one. The story of Marilyn has hit me deeply and has made me realize how irrational I am being about my problems – although they feel very real to me. However, seeing how Marilyn coped with her severe anxieties, mine went away almost instantly. I’m sending all my love to You, Matt and Marilyn. I have recommended your book and podcast to all of my friends.

Gratefully, Dea

As you can see, Dea actually experienced significant improvement just from listening to the live work with Marilyn. You or your patients might also find that my podcasts o books might greatly accelerate learning and recovery.

You can find a list of all the podcasts and show notes on my website.  In addition, you will find a search function in the right-hand panel of every page. This makes my entire website searchable, which is super-convenient if you want to recommend certain kinds of podcasts to your patients, or if you are looking for self-help. For example, you can type in “Five Secrets of Effective Communication,” “Positive Distortions,” “Anxiety,” “Suicide Prevention,” or whatever you want, and some wonderful resources will pop right up!

david

 * * *

And if you need training, CE credits, or just four days of training and personal refueling, attend one of my upcoming intensives. The Calgary program is coming up in two days but if you move fast, you can still register!

High-Speed Treatment of Depression and Anxiety Disorders—

Attend one of the three Summer / Fall Intensives

With David D. Burns, MD!

Three Great Locations—

Calgary, July 15 to 18, 2019

South San Francisco, July 29 to August 1, 2019

Atlanta, Georgia,November 4 – 7, 2019

 Learn powerful new tools to boost your effectiveness in the treatment of depression and all of the anxiety disorders! Discover how TEAM-CBT can produce extremely rapid and lasting changes for your depressed and anxious clients—and for you.

This workshop will be experiential. You will have the chance to practice lots of innovative techniques in small groups and get immediate feedback so you can refine your skills. You’ll also have the chance to work on your own feelings of self-doubt so you can leave this workshop on a high, with renewed confidence and excitement about your clinical work.

This dynamic workshop offers:

  • State-of-the-art TEAM-CBT techniques for depression and all of the anxiety disorders.
  • Powerful new methods for the treatment of habits and addictions—your own and your clients’!
  • Innovative resistance-busting techniques to boost patient motivation and eliminate “yes-butting.” Learn to pinpoint and eliminate the eight most common forms of therapeutic resistance.
  • Live demonstrations and video clips from actual therapy sessions.
  • Powerful Relapse Prevention Training for lasting results.
  • Lots of fun and the chance to get some much-needed emotional refueling!

The annual intensives are almost always the best workshops of the year. If you can join us this year, they will be even better!

This workshop has been approved for Levels 1 through 3 TEAM-CBT Certification
and is s
uitable for novice as well as highly experienced therapists.
Of course, you’ll get tons of CE credits as well.

The two intensives will be similar, but there are some differences that may be important to you.

Special features at this year’s South SF intensive

  • Sunny Choi will be speaking on “TEAM with Compassion.” Sunny spoke last year and was amazing, so he is returning, as they say, “by popular demand.” He describes incredible, high-speed TEAM therapy to populations with severe problems and extremely limited resources, including immigrants who do not speak English.
  • Dr. Jill Levitt will be joining me as co-therapist for the live demonstration on the evening of day 1. In past years, these dramatic live demos have provided tremendous opportunities for learning. If you have never seen Jill, this will be a real treat for you!
  • I will be joined by many expert helpers from the Feeling Good Institute who will help provide feedback for you during the many practice sessions.
  • There will be two amazing evening sessions to add depth to your training. You’ll be totally exhausted, but chock-full of incredible new skills and insights that can change the direction of your career and transform your personal life as well.

Special features at this year’s Calgary, Canada intensive

  • The three optional evening hikes / meals together will be a highlight for many. While hiking, you will have chances for personal work with David, Q and A, difficult case consultation, and additional practice with the new techniques you are learning.
  • If you don’t want to hike, you can enjoy your evenings with friends or family and refuel for the next day.
  • There will be a live demo on the morning of day 2. In past years, these live therapy sessions have been inspirational and wonderfully informative. Last year’s live therapy demonstration in Whistler was jaw-dropping!
  • And, as you probably know, Jack Hirose always puts on an amazing event, designed to provide you with maximum comfort, delight, and learning!

In both workshops, David promises to catapult at least 65% of the participants into a state of joyous enlightenment. Would you like to finally free yourself from feelings of self-doubt and endless obsessions about whether you’re “good enough?” Check out the registration links now!

Feeling good feels wonderful! You owe it to yourself to feel good! Join me in

Calgary (in two days!)

or

South San Francisco (at the end of July)

or

Atlanta (in early November)

David Burns, MD

Here’s a photo of my esteemed colleague, Mike Christensen, at a recent Canadian workshop.

IMG_20180607_100631_1

 

The Cognitive Revolution! Wow!

The Cognitive Revolution! Wow!

Whether you’re a patient, therapist, or general citizen, you might enjoy my interview on The Cognitive Revolution on Stanford’s radio station KZSU,  published yesterday.

It was an incredibly fun and energetic interview. They plan to re-broadcast it to let more people know about the benefits of CBT, as well as the new TEAM-CBT.

Here is a link to the interview:  http://www.modernteknews.com. The radio station reported that they got a strong and positive response to the program, and I hope you like it, too!

 * * *

And if you need training, CE credits, or just four days of fantastic training and personal refueling, attend one of my summer intensives. The Calgary program is coming up REALLY SOON but if you move fast, you can still register!

High-Speed Treatment of Depression and Anxiety Disorders—

Attend one of the three Summer / Fall Intensives

With David D. Burns, MD!

Two Great Locations—

Calgary, July 15 to 18, 2019

South San Francisco, July 29 to August 1, 2019

Atlanta, Georgia,November 4 – 7, 2019

 Learn powerful new tools to boost your effectiveness in the treatment of depression and all of the anxiety disorders! Discover how TEAM-CBT can produce extremely rapid and lasting changes for your depressed and anxious clients—and for you.

This workshop will be experiential. You will have the chance to practice lots of innovative techniques in small groups and get immediate feedback so you can refine your skills. You’ll also have the chance to work on your own feelings of self-doubt so you can leave this workshop on a high, with renewed confidence and excitement about your clinical work.

This dynamic workshop offers:

  • State-of-the-art TEAM-CBT techniques for depression and all of the anxiety disorders.
  • Powerful new methods for the treatment of habits and addictions—your own and your clients’!
  • Innovative resistance-busting techniques to boost patient motivation and eliminate “yes-butting.” Learn to pinpoint and eliminate the eight most common forms of therapeutic resistance.
  • Live demonstrations and video clips from actual therapy sessions.
  • Powerful Relapse Prevention Training for lasting results.
  • Lots of fun and the chance to get some much-needed emotional refueling!

The annual intensives are almost always the best workshops of the year. If you can join us this year, they will be even better!

This workshop has been approved for Levels 1 through 3 TEAM-CBT Certification
and is s
uitable for novice as well as highly experienced therapists.
Of course, you’ll get tons of CE credits as well.

The two intensives will be similar, but there are some differences that may be important to you.

Special features at this year’s South SF intensive

  • Sunny Choi will be speaking on “TEAM with Compassion.” Sunny spoke last year and was amazing, so he is returning, as they say, “by popular demand.” He describes incredible, high-speed TEAM therapy to populations with severe problems and extremely limited resources, including immigrants who do not speak English.
  • Dr. Jill Levitt will be joining me as co-therapist for the live demonstration on the evening of day 1. In past years, these dramatic live demos have provided tremendous opportunities for learning. If you have never seen Jill, this will be a real treat for you!
  • I will be joined by many expert helpers from the Feeling Good Institute who will help provide feedback for you during the many practice sessions.
  • There will be two amazing evening sessions to add depth to your training. You’ll be totally exhausted, but chock-full of incredible new skills and insights that can change the direction of your career and transform your personal life as well.

Special features at this year’s Calgary, Canada intensive

  • The three optional evening hikes / meals together will be a highlight for many. While hiking, you will have chances for personal work with David, Q and A, difficult case consultation, and additional practice with the new techniques you are learning.
  • If you don’t want to hike, you can enjoy your evenings with friends or family and refuel for the next day.
  • There will be a live demo on the morning of day 2. In past years, these live therapy sessions have been inspirational and wonderfully informative. Last year’s live therapy demonstration in Whistler was jaw-dropping!
  • And, as you probably know, Jack Hirose always puts on an amazing event, designed to provide you with maximum comfort, delight, and learning!

In both workshops, David promises to catapult at least 65% of the participants into a state of joyous enlightenment. Would you like to finally free yourself from feelings of self-doubt and endless obsessions about whether you’re “good enough?” Check out the registration links now!

Feeling good feels wonderful! You owe it to yourself to feel good! Join me in

Calgary

or

South San Francisco!

David Burns, MD

Here’s a photo of my esteemed colleague, Mike Christensen, at a recent Canadian workshop.

IMG_20180607_100631_1