The End (for a while) of David’s Tuesday Tips

The End (for a while) of David’s Tuesday Tips

Hi colleagues,

Sadly, I have decided to cut back on a few activities, including the Tuesday tips, so I will have more time for my new book. Happily, it is not too far from being done, and I want to focus on making it as good as I can and getting it in the pipeline ASAP. I’m pretty excited about it, and hope it will be helpful for therapists and the general public as well.

My first book, Feeling Good, has been helpful to millions of individuals struggling with depression, and I’m hoping the new book will move psychotherapy as well as self-help forward even more. It will have all the latest techniques–and there have been tons of powerful and effective innovations in the treatment of depression and anxiety since I wrote Feeling Good.

By the way, it still works, so check it out if you haven’t read it, or if you have a depressed friend or loved one who hasn’t read it! There’s a good chance they’ll improve considerably if you give them a copy! It doesn’t cost much and works fairly rapidly with no side effects! (This has been documented in numerous research studies published in peer-refereed scientific journals.)

In addition, I’ve kind of run out of quasi-paradoxical Tuesday tips for a while, since I am putting all of my creative energy into the book and a couple other new projects I’m excited about.

If you liked the Tuesday tip feature, or if you have ideas for future tips, please let me know, as I could start this column again in the future when I have a bit more free time again.

In the meantime, my San Francisco intensive is coming up in less than two weeks, and I’m you can possibly join me there! We usually have a tremendous time.

See below for details.

David

* Copyright © 2018 by David D. Burns, MD.

* * *

Hey, folks, my San Francisco summer intensive will start in a few weeks. it is always one of my BEST training programs of the year. The group will be quite small this year, giving you lots of chances for Q and A and personal connection with me, plus networking with your colleagues. In addition, many individuals from my Tuesday group at Stanford will join me to provide feedback and individual mentoring for you during the small group exercises.

Here are the specifics:

Coming Soon!

High Speed, Drug Free Treatment of Depression and Anxiety Disorders–A Four-Day TEAM-CBT Intensive

August 6 – 9, 2018, South San Francisco Conference Center, California
For more information, click here
or contact http://www.iahb.org/
phone: 800-258-8411

If you can only attend one of my workshops, consider this intensive! it is simplly

THE BEST!

Seating is limited. Register now  if you want to get in on the action!

Hope to see you in San Francisco soon! David

Solution to David’s Tuesday Tips (#14)*

Solution to David’s Tuesday Tips (#14)*

Hi folks,

This was yesterday’s paradoxical tip of the day!

Sometimes, psychotherapy dovetails with religious teachings. What does this passage, from Romans 2:1 mean?

For whenever you blame another you condemn yourself.

Everyone who responded came up with great ideas and comments. Thanks!

Here’s my solution. Most of the time, when we have relationship conflicts, we tend to blame the other person and see ourselves as the victim of his or her bad behavior. My research, as well as my clinical and personal experience, has taught me that blame is the actual cause of the conflict.

The problem is NOT that the other person is to blame—the real problem is the fact that we are blaming them. And when you blame the other person, you really do condemn yourself because you will probably end up in hostility, resentment, and chronic conflict. And you are also fooling yourself because you do not “see” your own role in the conflict.

In the Interpersonal TEAM treatment model, I ask the person seeking help with a troubled relationship to identify one specific interaction in that did not go well. Then I ask my patient to write down one thing the other person said, and exactly what he or she said next. That’s all you need to understand the entire conflict, and all you really need to turn transform the hostility into warmth and trust—IF that’s what you want to do!

When we analyze the interaction, I can always show the person seeking help how he or she is triggering and reinforcing the very pattern he or she is complaining about. This is usually pretty painful and shocking for the patient, but it also empowers you to change the way you react to the other person so you can enjoy greater trust and intimacy.

If you’d like to observe this in an actual therapy session, I am currently publishing three podcasts with a live therapy session with a man who complained that his wife was overly critical and controlling. He was pretty convinced that she was like this because she had an overly controlling mother.

During the session, he was shocked to discover that he, and not his mother-in-law, was the cause of his wife’s frequent criticisms and efforts to control him. This was a very painful discovery, but it was also quite liberating.

Here is the link to the first of the three podcasts, in case you’d like to listen to them. My wonderful colleague, Dr. Jill Levitt, was my co-therapist. The session was quite rich and powerful and be worth an investment of your time.

I have to confess I am not a very religious individual, but I do believe that when we are doing our deepest and best work as psychotherapists, we are working not simply at a psychological level, but at a spiritual level as well.

Many of the most amazing insights about human nature and how to escape from suffering have been around for hundreds, if not thousands of years. But it seems like all of us have to learn these deep insights on a personal, experiential level before we can suddenly “grasp” them and experience our own enlightenment.

If you’d like to learn more about how to develop more satisfying and loving relationships, I would strongly recommend my book, Feeling Good Together. It’s for the general public, but it will also be helpful to therapists, since we all have relationship problems from time to time. At least, I know that I do! And I’m pretty sure that you do, too!

Hey, the San Francisco intensive is almost upon us. Have you considered attending? It’s usually pretty awesome. See the details below.

Use the Reply / Comment feature below to let us to know how you understand today’s tip.

Thanks!

David

* Copyright © 2018 by David D. Burns, MD.

* * *

Hey, folks, my San Francisco summer intensive will start in a few weeks. it is always one of my BEST training programs of the year. The group will be quite small, giving you lots of chances for Q and A and personal connection with me, plus networking with your colleagues. In addition, many individuals from my Tuesday group at Stanford will join me to provide feedback for you during the small group exercises.

Here are the specifics:

Coming in San Francisco in August

High Speed, Drug Free Treatment of Depression and Anxiety Disorders–
A Four-Day TEAM-CBT Advanced Intensive

August 6 – 9, 2018, South San Francisco Conference Center, California
For more information, click here
or contact http://www.iahb.org/
phone: 800-258-8411

If you can only attend one of my workshops, consider this intensive! it is simplly

THE BEST!

Seating is limited. Register now  if you want to get in on the action!

Hope to see you in San Francisco in August! David

 * * *

Also coming up soon on David’s Sunday FB Live Broadcasts

Sunday, July 22nd, 2018, at 3 PM: The Shouldy Approach to Life–How to Crush Should Statements, with special guest, Jill Levitt, PhD

If you attend live, you can ask questions and be a part of the show. However, they are all recorded so you can tune in anytime on my Public FB page!

David’s Tuesday Tips (#14)*

David’s Tuesday Tips (#14)*

Here’s your paradoxical tip of the day!

Sometimes, psychotherapy dovetails with religious teachings. What does this passage, from Romans 2:1 mean?

For whenever you blame another you condemn yourself.

Although this is from the New Testament, similar ideas have been expressed in all or nearly all religions, including Buddhism. But what does this passage actually mean, and how does it relate to the Interpersonal TEAM model that is currently featured in the Feeling Good Podcasts (the live session with Lee, Podcasts #96, #97, and #98.)

There are numerous areas of overlap between psychological and theological thinking. This is just one example!

Use the Reply / Comment feature below to let us to know how you understand today’s tip.

Thanks!

David

* Copyright © 2018 by David D. Burns, MD.

* * *

Hey, folks, my San Francisco summer intensive will start in a few weeks. it is always one of my BEST training programs of the year. The group will be quite small, giving you lots of chances for Q and A and personal connection with me, plus networking with your colleagues. In addition, many individuals from my Tuesday group at Stanford will join me to provide feedback for you during the small group exercises.

Here are the specifics:

Coming in San Francisco in August

High Speed, Drug Free Treatment of Depression and Anxiety Disorders–
A Four-Day TEAM-CBT Advanced Intensive

August 6 – 9, 2018, South San Francisco Conference Center, California
For more information, click here
or contact http://www.iahb.org/
phone: 800-258-8411

If you can only attend one of my workshops, consider this intensive! it is simplly

THE BEST!

Seating is limited. Register now  if you want to get in on the action!

Hope to see you in San Francisco in August! David

 * * *

Also coming up soon on David’s Sunday FB Live Broadcasts

Sunday, July 22nd, 2018, at 3 PM: The Shouldy Approach to Life–How to Crush Should Statements, with special guest, Jill Levitt, PhD

If you attend live, you can ask questions and be a part of the show. However, they are all recorded so you can tune in anytime on my Public FB page!

Solution to David’s Tuesday Tip #13*

Solution to David’s Tuesday Tip #13*

This was yesterday’s paradoxical tip of the day!

Some people think that therapy consists of codependent schmoozing behind
closed doors, with the occasional bit of “advice” or “tell me more” thrown in.
Are they right?

Hi everybody,

I am trying, perhaps without complete success, to say this politely, without enraging anybody too much . . . . but

I am sad to say that I think this Tuesday comment is somewhat correct. Many therapists just talk with patients for months or years without much change, often without specific goals, and without measuring anything from session to session to document change, or the lack of change. When I was a psychiatric resident, this type of treatment actually had a name. It was called “supportive emotive therapy.” The patient talks, the therapist listens and provides support, and encourages the outpouring of emotion at times.

Some experts claim that this type of therapy provides a “corrective emotional experience.” The idea is that the relationship with the therapist will correct some shortcoming or void in the patient because of his or her childhood and lack of support and nurture while growing up.

I’m not convinced this non-directive approach corrects much, if anything. In addition, while I know I have lots of helpful techniques to offer, and some reasonably good empathy, I’m not convinced that a relationship with me will ever correct much of anything, to be honest! I’m quite surprised, actually, that so many individuals–colleagues, clients, and students–are even willing to put up with me.

I can be, to be honest, kind of annoying and difficult at times. I don’t see myself as a “corrective emotional experience” much of the time!

I favor therapy that works rapidly, with specific goals and changes that can be documented by assessments of the patient’s feelings at the start and end of every session. This includes testing feelings of depression, suicidal urges, anxiety, and anger,as well as the patient’s feelings of satisfaction with his or her spouse or partner. The assessment of the therapist’s empathy and helpfulness by the patient after every session is also invaluable and, to my way of thinking, mandatory.

While skillful listening will always be an important part of therapy, it will rarely or never be sufficient to help a patient recover from severe depression, or any anxiety disorder, or a troubled marriage, or a habit or addiction. Much more is required, including specific techniques to help the patient change his or her life, as well as resistance-melting techniques to boost the patient’s motivation and collaboration.

Patient homework between sessions will also be a must, in my opinion. You cannot, for the most part, change your life or learn new skills without practice, any more than you could learn tennis or how to play the piano without practice between lessons with your coach or teacher.

All human beings are corruptible, and we all have a kind of inherently lazy streak. So if a therapist has a full-fee private patient, and the patient just wants to schmooze and vent every week for months or years, without being accountable and without doing psychotherapy homework, the therapist will have a guaranteed income and an easy job, since there isn’t a whole lot the therapist has to learn in order to provide this type of non-specific talk therapy, or if you prefer, “non-treatment.”

I apologize deeply if my skeptical / cynical streak is showing, but I sincerely believe our field is in need of reform, and I am saddened and sometimes frustrated, even angered, by the overall poor skill level among mental health professionals.

On the positive side, last week’s intensive in Whistler, Canada was just awesome. Oops, Lisa Kelley has urged me not to go over the top with language, so let me say it was a bit above average. In fact, the ratings for all four days were the highest I’ve received–by a big margin, actually–in the last 25 years or more of doing workshops. I was thrilled and grateful to have such a warm and responsive group.

My dear colleague, Jack Hirose, who organized the conference, said the ratings were also the highest he has seen in the many hundreds of workshops he has sponsored in Canada. I was helped by my dear colleague, Mike Christensen, who attended and assisted with the teaching. Mike was also my co-therapist in the live demonstration with an audience volunteer who had experienced severe trauma and abuse.

Working with her was an inspiring and riveting experience. We were fortunate to due a high definition video of the session, and I hope it will be available for some type of teaching program for you.

If you would like to attend a similar conference, consider my upcoming San Francisco intensive in a few weeks. I will try my hardest to make it a little above average, too! See the details below.

Thanks!

David

* Copyright © 2018 by David D. Burns, MD.

 * * *

Hey, folks, my San Francisco summer intensive will start in a few weeks. it is always one of my BEST training programs of the year. The group will be quite small, giving you lots of chances for Q and A and personal connection with me, plus networking with your colleagues. In addition, many individuals from my Tuesday group at Stanford will join me to provide feedback for you during the small group exercises.

Here are the specifics:

Coming in San Francisco in August

High Speed, Drug Free Treatment of Depression and Anxiety Disorders–
A Four-Day TEAM-CBT Advanced Intensive

August 6 – 9, 2018, South San Francisco Conference Center, California
For more information, click here
or contact http://www.iahb.org/
phone: 800-258-8411

If you can only attend one of my workshops, consider this intensive! it is simplly

THE BEST!

Seating is limited. Register now  if you want to get in on the action!

Hope to see you in San Francisco in August! David

 * * *

Also coming up soon on David’s Sunday FB Live Broadcasts

Sunday, July 15th, 2018, at 3 PM: The Disarming Technique–Taking a Deeper Dive, with special guest, Mike Christensen

Sunday, July 22nd, 2018, at 3 PM: The Shouldy Approach to Life–How to Crush Should Statements, with special guest, Jill Levitt, PhD

If you attend live, you can ask questions and be a part of the show. However, they are all recorded so you can tune in anytime on my Public FB page!

David’s Tuesday Tips (#13)*

David’s Tuesday Tips (#13)*

Here’s your paradoxical tip of the day!

Some people think that therapy consists of codependent schmoozing behind closed doors, with the occasional bit of “advice” or “tell me more” thrown in.
Are they right?

Use the Reply / Comment feature below to let us to know how you understand today’s tip.

Thanks!

David

* Copyright © 2018 by David D. Burns, MD.

 

 

 

Solution to David’s Tuesday Tip #12*

Solution to David’s Tuesday Tip #12*

This was yesterday’s paradoxical tip of the day!

Successful treatment requires the death of the therapist’s ego;
recovery requires the death of the patient’s ego.

Sorry to be super brief again today because I am currently in Canada on the second day of the four-day intensive. If you missed it this year, you can find an announcement for the annual San Francisco intensive at the bottom of this blog! It’s coming up in August so you still have time to register.

So, what’s the solution to yesterday’s puzzle?

One of the unique features of TEAM-CBT is that patients rate therapists in the waiting room immediately after the session is over, using the Brief Mood Survey and Evaluation of Therapy Session forms. Patients leave the completed surveys before they go home. This gives the therapist the chance to review the ratings when the session is still fresh in the therapist’s mind so he or she can find out how effective, or ineffective, the session was.

The Empathy and Helpfulness scales are extremely sensitive to the smallest errors or failures of the alliance, and most therapists will get failing grades from most of their patients when they first start to use the Brief Mood Survey and Evaluation of Therapy Session. This can be painful, as it bursts the therapist’s bubble of optimism and self-confidence.

But if you, the therapist, process the information with your patient at the start of the next session in the spirit of humility, warmth, and curiosity, it can have a tremendously beneficial effect on the treatment. I’ve experienced this amazing phenomenon more times than I can remember! But it can be very painful to have to face your errors and shortcomings. That’s because the patient’s criticisms of the therapist will always contain, not just a grain of truth, but a whole lot of truth!

Yikes! That sucks!

So, the death of the therapist’s ego will often be required. This, to me, is a good thing, because it gives therapists tremendous opportunities to grow and learn at the same time that their patients are growing and learning. But the negative feedback does hurt at times. And the pain can be fairly intense.

For the patient to recover, the death of the ego may also be required. A great deal of depression and anxiety results from the idea that we aren’t good enough, so we beat up on ourselves relentlessly, thinking perhaps that if we punish ourselves enough, we will grow and eventually attain some goal of perfection or superiority.

But this mind-set is the problem; it is not the cure. Recovery more often results from what I call the Acceptance Paradox–which means the death of the patient’s ego. That means accepting that you are, and always will be, quite flawed, and accepting this with a sense of inner peace, or even humor. In fact, once your ego has died, you can join the Grateful Dead, and that’s incredibly freeing and cool!

 

More later, and sorry to offer you so little in the last couple weeks. I’ve been working hard on the new book, so I’m kind of short on time, but there will be a ton on this topic when the book is released, so hang in there!

Thanks!

David

* Copyright © 2018 by David D. Burns, MD.

Hey, folks, my San Francisco summer intensives is nearly always my BEST training program of the year because the group is quite small, giving you lots of chances for Q and A and schmoozing. In addition, many individuals from my Tuesday group at Stanford join me to provide feedback during the small group exercises. Here are the specifics:

* * *

Coming in San Francisco in August

High Speed, Drug Free Treatment of Depression and Anxiety Disorders–
A Four-Day TEAM-CBT Advanced Intensive

August 6 – 9, 2018, South San Francisco Conference Center, California
For more information, click here
or contact http://www.iahb.org/
phone: 800-258-8411

If you can only attend one of my workshops, consider this intensive! it is simplly

THE BEST!

Seating is limited. Register now  if you want to get in on the action!

Hope to see you in San Francisco in August!

David

Solution to David’s Tuesday Tip #11*

Solution to David’s Tuesday Tip #11*

This was yesterday’s paradoxical tip of the day!

Self-acceptance is the greatest change a person can make.

 

Sorry to be super brief today on such an important topic, but desperately pressed for time due to my upcoming trip next week for the Canada intensive. See below if you think you might want to attend! The intensives are usually great experiences. If you can’t make the Canadian intensive in July, think about the San Francisco intensive in August.

Some of us struggle with perfectionism, thinking we can become something GREAT if we just try hard enough and beat up on ourselves when we fall short or screw up. But this can sometimes be the cause of nearly all of our suffering.

Still, we don’t want to accept our flawed selves because we don’t want to “settle” for second best, because that sounds just awful! But when you accept yourself, that’s when the magic happens.

In my Stanford Tuesday training group last night, one of the participants revealed her fear of speaking up or role-playing a technique in group for fear she might not be “good enough,” and then feared that everyone in the group will judge or dislike her. Tears were flowing down her cheeks. Paradoxically, revealing her vulnerability made everyone feel incredibly close to her, and she set the tone for an evening of magical training. And all she did was to reveal her fears, flaws, and insecurities.

As many of you know, I learned an important lesson from my wonderful cat, Obie. He’s the one who taught me that “when you no longer need to be special, life becomes special!”

More later, sorry to offer so little right now. Obie and I deeply apologize!

Obie 1

Thanks!

David

* Copyright © 2018 by David D. Burns, MD.

Hey, folks, my summer intensives are nearly always my BEST training programs of the year, and they are almost upon us. Here are the specifics:

Coming in Canada in July

Advanced Cognitive Behavioral Therapy:
A Four-Day Intensive Training in TEAM-CBT

July 3 – 6, 2018 Whistler, BC, Canada

For more information, contact Jack Hirose & Associates Inc.
Phone: 604.924.0296, Toll-free: 1.800.456.5424

* * *

Coming in San Francisco in August

High Speed, Drug Free Treatment of Depression and Anxiety Disorders–
A Four-Day TEAM-CBT Advanced Intensive

August 6 – 9, 2018, South San Francisco Conference Center, California
For more information, click here
or contact http://www.iahb.org/
phone: 800-258-8411

If you can only attend one of my workshops, consider an intensive! They are

THE BEST!

Register right away if you want to get in on the action!

Hope to see you in Whistler in July or San Francisco in August!

David

Solution to David’s Tuesday Tip #10*

Solution to David’s Tuesday Tip #10*

This was yesterday’s paradoxical tip of the day!

There’s no such thing as a false criticism.

The best way to explain this is through a specific criticism you have received from someone. You can nearly always, if not always, find some truth in it. When people criticize you, they always have something in mind about you that’s bugging them. And even if they express their criticism in an exaggerated way, you can still find the truth in what they are saying if you are motivated to really SEE and comprehend what they are trying to tell you.

The most obvious example of a tough criticism to agree with might be the outburst from a hospitalized individual with schizophrenia who angrily says something to you that sounds delusional, like “I know you are from the FBI plotting to have me killed, and don’t you deny it!”

Is there some truth in this criticism? Of course there is, and if you think about your therapy session with this individual yesterday, you might recall that it was pretty tense, so you could say something like this:

“Jim, I have to agree with you. We’re on the same page. Yesterday I thought I didn’t do a good job making you feel safe or cared about during our therapy session, and I don’t think I communicated enough warmth or respect. It was awkward for me to, and I’ve been criticizing myself as well, especially since I really do like you. I wouldn’t be surprised if you were feeling anxious, scared, mistrustful, and even angry with me. Can you tell me what that was like for you? Your feelings are really important, and I want to hear more about what you’ve been thinking and feeling.”

That’s just off the top of my head, and you could probably improve on it. But the odds are about 90% that Jim will calm right down and open up. Of course, your statement has to be genuine, and it has to come from the heart, or it won’t be effective.

The statement I wrote is an example of the Disarming Technique, which is one of the Five Secrets of Effective Communication. When you us the Disarming Technique, you find truth in what the other person is saying, even if it seems totally untrue or unfair. And the moment you do this, if you do it skillfully, the other personal will nearly always stop believing their criticism. This is a paradox. In other words, you can usually put the lie to a criticism by genuinely agreeing with it, showing self-respect and respect for the other person.

But this is hard because:

  1. It is a high art form that requires lots of practice.
  2. It requires genuine humility and the death of the “ego,” or “self.” The Buddha called this the “Great Death,” but the concept is woven into nearly all religions.
  3. It requires the strong desire to have a close and rewarding relationship with the person who is criticizing you.

Very few people will fulfill these three requirements. That’s one of the main reasons why we continue to have so much conflict and suffering in the world, both between individuals (married couples, friends, family members, strangers, and colleagues) as well as between religions, nations, political parties, and so forth. We all want to be “right.” I have often said that “truth” is the cause of nearly all the suffering in the world today.

There’s another paradox. Did you get it?

Thanks!

David

* Copyright © 2018 by David D. Burns, MD.

Hey, folks, my summer intensives are nearly always my BEST training programs of the year, and they are almost upon us. Here are the specifics:

Coming in Canada in July

Advanced Cognitive Behavioral Therapy:
A Four-Day Intensive Training in TEAM-CBT

July 3 – 6, 2018 Whistler, BC, Canada

For more information, contact Jack Hirose & Associates Inc.
Phone: 604.924.0296, Toll-free: 1.800.456.5424

* * *

Coming in San Francisco in August

High Speed, Drug Free Treatment of Depression and Anxiety Disorders–
A Four-Day TEAM-CBT Advanced Intensive

August 6 – 9, 2018, South San Francisco Conference Center, California
For more information, click here
or contact http://www.iahb.org/
phone: 800-258-8411

If you can only attend one of my workshops, consider an intensive! They are

THE BEST!

Register right away if you want to get in on the action!

Hope to see you in Whistler in July or San Francisco in August!

David