132: Ask David: Do we REALLY create our own interpersonal reality? What if you’re being raped?

132: Ask David: Do we REALLY create our own interpersonal reality? What if you’re being raped?

Hi Folks!

Here’s the short version of today’s Ask David questions.

  1. Do depression and anxiety result from medical illnesses, like thyroid problems?
  2. Do we REALLY create our own interpersonal reality? What if you’re being raped? Are you saying that’s your fault? How can that be?
  3. I struggle with anxiety. Why is it a mistake to try to “calm down?”
  4. How do you deal with entitlement? I think my patients should do what I tell them to do! After all, I’m a highly trained professional!
  5. How do you deal with racism, sexism, and other societal barriers? What if the injustice is real and it isn’t “all in your head?”

And here are the longer versions. Fabrice and I hope you enjoy these thoughtful questions submitted by listeners like you!

1. Barbara asks: 1) How are hypothyroidism, depression, anxiety, and bipolar disorder related, and (2) how are heart disease, depression, and anxiety related?

2. Mark asks: I’m one of your most avid listeners to your podcasts. I’ve listened to most of Feeling Good Podcasts as well as the recordings of your Facebook live broadcasts with Jill. I absolutely love your content and extremely grateful for your insights and the material you put out for free. I’ve heard you say numerous times how in interpersonal relationship problems we create the poor behavior we see in the other.

At what point though, is a threshold crossed and you acknowledge the other in the relationship is creating problems? For example, if your client is being raped by their partner and is being threatened with violence if they dare leave, you wouldn’t say to your client you’re creating that kind of treatment from your partner.

Obviously the above is a very extreme example, but what if its scaled back in terms of severity of abuse, stopping short of physical attacks and threats? Where does a line in the sand get drawn where you acknowledge the client is not creating the problems themselves? I’d deeply appreciate your reply!

3. Angela asks: I was intrigued by your comment in your podcast #88 on Role-Playing Techniques that “trying to calm down is a big mistake. . . then your emotions become your enemies,” but then you said, “that’s a good topic for another podcast.” I hope you do a podcast on that topic!!! I’m eagerly waiting to hear more about that!

4. Julio asks: I’d like to share my experience. I am a therapist and I suffered from, and am still working on, feeling inadequate. I frequently questioned “am I good enough to be a therapist?” “How can I help others if I have issues of my own?”

After reading Feeling Good I realized I frequently jump to conclusions, engage in mind reading, and labeling whenever there is some uncertainty with my clients. At times I might even have blamed them when things didn’t go the way I thought they should go.

I believe I do that to protect my ego, and I might have developed some cognitive distortions related to entitlement such as

  • “I’m a therapist, people are supposed to do what I say”
  • “I worked too hard and too long and potential employers better give me what I deserve”
  • “Because I practice evidence-based therapy, I’m better than 99% of all therapists.”

These entitled thoughts led me to become irate whenever someone didn’t act according to my expectations. I would vacillate between feeling angry and feeling depressed.

I guess when I initially emailed Fabrice I was confused as to how my entitlement develops, but now I’m realizing that it comes from the same distortions that can cause depression. I didn’t know that distortions could produce depression and entitlement.

I’m curious what you and Fabrice think about this. I thoroughly what you and Fabrice think about this. I thoroughly enjoy your podcast and often find myself re-listening to earlier episodes.

5. Holly asks: “ Burns: I have found tremendous value in your books and podcast. I have noticed that you discuss some emails/letters/etc. on your podcast and I have one I’d like to hear you discuss. What are your thoughts on dealing with racism, sexism, and other societal barriers?

For example, it is not uncommon for people with dominant identities (white, male, physically able) to tell women, people of color, or those with physical challenges that their issues are all in their minds and that if they thought differently, then they would have different outcomes.

I am an African-American woman and I don’t believe this (the statistics on access to education, employment, and justice all suggest otherwise). What are you saying (if anything) in your writing, practice about thoughts related to injustice?

Best, Holly

So there you have it! Great questions, and keep them coming!

By the way, one of our podcast fans has written an outstanding and thoughtful article asking if there is a causal link between Donald Trump’s Twitter tweets and anti-Muslim hate crimes for the prestigious journal, Scientific American. Here’s the link

Thanks, David and Fabrice

Subscribe

Dr. Fabrice Nye currently practices in Redwood City, California and treats individuals throughout the world (but not across U.S. state lines) via teletherapy. You can reach him at fabrice@life.net. You can reach Dr. Burns at david@feelinggood.com. If you like our jingle music and would like to support the composer Brett Van Donsel, you may download it here.

* * *

THREE COOL UPCOMING WORKSHOPS FOR YOU

TEAM-CBT Methods for Anxiety Disorders–

Step-by-Step Training for Therapists

by David D. Burns, MD and Jill Levitt, PhD

jill-david

Dr. Jill Levitt and I are offering what I think will be an outstanding workshop on the treatment of anxiety disorders on Sunday, May 19, 2019. Our Sunday workshops are tremendously fun, so consider attending if you are interested. 

The last Sunday workshop in February sold out quickly so register soon if you are interested. You can join in Palo Alto in person or online from anywhere in the world.

THERE WILL BE MANY EXPERT TRAINERS TO GUIDE THE ONLINE PARTICIPANTS DURING THE SMALL GROUP EXERCISES

WHEN: May 19, 2019, 8:30 am – 4:30 pm PST
(11:30 am-7:30 pm EST)

WHERE: Join us live online or in person at the Creekside Inn, Palo Alto, CA.

HOW MUCH DOES IT COST? $135,

WILL I GET CE CREDITS? YES! 7 CE hours available

WILL I GET CREDIT IN THE TEAM LICENSURE PROGRAM? YES!
Completion of this workshop also counts towards TEAM-CBT Level 1, 2 or 3 Certification

WHO CAN ATTEND? Therapists of all levels are welcome

CAN I REGISTER IF I’M NOT A THERAPIST? Although the workshop is geared for therapists, it will be taught in a clear and basic way that anyone can benefit from.

WILL I HAVE FUN? Yes!

WILL I HAVE GET TO HANG OUT WITH SOME COOL COLLEAGUES? Yes!

WILL I GET AN AWESOME FREE BREAKFAST AND LUNCH? Yes!

You will love this lively, amusing, and immensely useful day of training with Drs. Burns, Levitt and the Feeling Good Institute Staff. The trainers will use a combination of didactic teaching, live demonstrations, video, and breakout group practice to enhance skill-building.

REGISTER / LEARN MORE

Act fast if you want to attend!

* * *

And there will be two awesome summer intensives for you this year!

July 15 – 18, 2019
Calgary four-day intensive
Sponsored by Jack Hirose & Assoc.

 

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

 

131: Ask David–How Can I Develop Greater Joy and Happiness? Does “Neuroticism” Exist?

131: Ask David–How Can I Develop Greater Joy and Happiness? Does “Neuroticism” Exist?

We are getting some fascinating questions from our listeners. Thanks! In today’s podcast, we will answer six of them.

Debbie asks: Can you use TEAM-CBT to help people with medical disorders, such as Parkinsonism or Cancer?

Here is the promised link to Stirling Moorey’s book on Cognitive Therapy for cancer patients.

Here is the link the first episode of live therapy with Marilyn, a woman who was diagnosed with Stage 4 lung cancer a couple days before her session with David and Dr. Matthew May.  You may also want to listen to podcasts 50 to 52 and 59, which also feature David and Matt working with Marilyn. Marilyn described these inspiring podcasts as mind-blowing!

Mark asks: How can I help a depressed family member or friend who is passive and doesn’t want to do anything?

Paul asks: How can I get over death anxiety?

Sune asks: If you’re super-shy, does this mean you have “Avoidant Personality Disorder?” What’s the difference between garden variety shyness and a personality disorder?

Sly asks: “Do you believe in the big five personality traits model? And will your therapy tools change these big five traits? I got a score of 67 on neuroticism, which means I am more prone to anger, depression, anxiety, and vulnerability, and tend to think about things in a pessimistic way. If I do the exercises in your books, and develop a more realistic outlook on myself and others, does it follow that my “personality traits” will get more or less changed?”

According to Wikipedia, the “Big Five” are O = Openness to experience, C = Conscientiousness, E = Extraversion, A = Agreeableness, and N = Neuroticism, often represented by the acronym, OCEAN.

Here’s an important point I forgot to make on the podcast. According to Wikipedia, here’s  the definition of “Neuroticism:” People with high neuroticism indexes are at risk for the development and onset of common mental disorders. . .  such as mood disordersanxiety disorders, and substance use disorder, symptoms of which had traditionally been called neuroses.”

Can you see that this is a tautology? In other words, they ask you if you tend to have these kinds of symptoms, then they tell you this is “due to” some “trait” you have called “neuroticism.” But they are defining “neuroticism” as people who tend to have more of these kinds of symptoms! It’s circular reasoning. 

I hope you can “see” this! The reason I mention this is they make it sound like they discovered some “trait” you have which causes you to have depression, or anxiety, and so forth. But they haven’t! It’s just a word game. In fact, scientists don’t yet know the causes of any of these problems, and “traits” do not actually “exist.” 

Haike asks: What if you’ve battled your negative thoughts and self-defeating beliefs and still don’t feel happy? An absence of depression and anxiety does not necessarily mean more joy in life. How can you help people find out where they want to go in life, who they want to be, and what it is that brings them happiness?”

Here is the promised link to the first of the five podcasts on Five Simple Ways to Boost Your Happiness.

Subscribe

Dr. Fabrice Nye currently practices in Redwood City, California and treats individuals throughout the world (but not across U.S. state lines) via teletherapy. You can reach him at fabrice@life.net. You can reach Dr. Burns at david@feelinggood.com. If you like our jingle music and would like to support the composer Brett Van Donsel, you may download it here.

* * *

A COOL UPCOMING WORKSHOP FOR YOU

TEAM-CBT Methods for Anxiety Disorders–

Step-by-Step Training for Therapists

by David D. Burns, MD and Jill Levitt, PhD

jill-david

Dr. Jill Levitt and I are offering what I think will be an outstanding workshop on the treatment of anxiety disorders on Sunday, May 19, 2019. Our Sunday workshops are tremendously fun, so consider attending if you are interested. 

The last Sunday workshop in February sold out quickly so register soon if you are interested. You can join in Palo Alto in person or online from anywhere in the world.

THERE WILL BE MANY EXPERT TRAINERS TO GUIDE THE ONLINE PARTICIPANTS DURING THE SMALL GROUP EXERCISES

WHEN: May 19, 2019, 8:30 am – 4:30 pm PST
(11:30 am-7:30 pm EST)

WHERE: Join us live online or in person at the Creekside Inn, Palo Alto, CA.

HOW MUCH DOES IT COST? $135,

WILL I GET CE CREDITS? YES! 7 CE hours available

WILL I GET CREDIT IN THE TEAM LICENSURE PROGRAM? YES!
Completion of this workshop also counts towards TEAM-CBT Level 1, 2 or 3 Certification

WHO CAN ATTEND? Therapists of all levels are welcome

CAN I REGISTER IF I’M NOT A THERAPIST? Although the workshop is geared for therapists, it will be taught in a clear and basic way that anyone can benefit from.

WILL I HAVE FUN? Yes!

WILL I HAVE GET TO HANG OUT WITH SOME COOL COLLEAGUES? Yes!

WILL I GET AN AWESOME FREE BREAKFAST AND LUNCH? Yes!

You will love this lively, amusing, and immensely useful day of training with Drs. Burns, Levitt and the Feeling Good Institute Staff. The trainers will use a combination of didactic teaching, live demonstrations, video, and breakout group practice to enhance skill-building.

REGISTER / LEARN MORE

Act fast if you want to attend!

* * * 

Check out the two awesome summer intensives this year!

July 15 – 18, 2019
Calgary four-day intensive
Sponsored by Jack Hirose & Assoc.

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

 

130: What’s Fractal Psychotherapy? How do you help someone with Asperger’s?

130: What’s Fractal Psychotherapy? How do you help someone with Asperger’s?

A Random Strange Encounter—
and the Emergence of Fractal Psychotherapy

* * * PLUS  * * *

How can you help a family member with Asperger’s /

high-functioning Autistic spectrum problems? 

Today’s podcast features special guest host, Dr. Rhonda Barovsky!

I (David) begin this podcast with a description of a random encounter I had one day when I was walking in downtown Bryn Mawr, when my wife and I were still living in Pennsylvania. A young man started walking next to me and talking. He seemed friendly and told me that he he’d been studying Buddhism and was hoping to become a motivational speaker.

That might sound racist to call him a “black man.” I agree, and my colleague, Fabrice, asked, “If he’d been white, would you have called him a “young white man?”

I had to agree that I would not have described him as a young white man. But this was a very white area. If a young white man was walking in a neighborhood that was predominantly black, I think I might actually have described him as a “young white man.”

At any rate, I was curious, and told him I didn’t know much about Buddhism but found it interesting. He explained that according to Buddhism, we get reincarnated repeatedly, going through the life-death cycle over and over again. He also explained that if you could just change yourself for one brief moment, you would experience enlightenment and you’d no longer have to go through the life and death cycle and more. In addition, because the world is one, the entire world would be become enlightened at the same time. He cautioned that it’s extremely difficult to change yourself for even one brief moment, and this achievement typically requires hundreds or even thousands of reincarnations.

This was interesting, but seemed totally nutty, and I was concerned that his prospects as a motivational speaker might be a bit limited. How can one small change trigger enlightenment? And how could the entire universe become enlightened at the same moment?

Impossible! Right?

But when I began to think of what he’d said in the context of my clinical work, it began to make total sense. One of the most important ideas in TEAM-CBT is the concept of Specificity, one of the key steps in Paradoxical Agenda Setting. Here’s how it works. If you’re my patient, and you want help, I will ask you what specific problem you want help with. These are the four most common problems I see: depression, anxiety, relationship conflicts, or habits and addictions. Then I’ll ask you to zero in on one specific moment when you were struggling with that problem.

For example, if you want help with depression and low self-esteem, I’ll ask you to describe one moment when you were feeling down. It could be any moment at all—it might even be right now, sitting in my office (or reading this text).

Then I’d ask you to tell me exactly what you were thinking and feeling at that moment. You might be telling yourself, “I’m no good. I shouldn’t have screwed up! I’m always doing that! I’ll feel like this forever.” These thoughts actually cause the feelings of depression, shame, inferiority, and hopelessness.

In contrast, if you want help with anxiety, I will ask you to identify one specific moment when you were feeling anxious, worried, nervous, frightened or panicky. For example, you might have been feeling shy and insecure at a party, or terrified just before you had to take a test or give a talk at work. Or it might have been a moment when you were having a panic attack and feeling like you were on the verge of passing out or losing control and going crazy.

If you’ve been having trouble getting along with a friend or family member, I would ask you to describe one brief interaction you’ve had with the person you’re at odds with, and I’d ask you to write down one specific thing they said to you, end exactly what you said next.

For example, a podcast fan told me that his wife said, “You never listen.” He responded by saying, “That’s not true! I’m listening to you right now.” He was puzzled when she got even more upset and then the argument escalated!

I recently did a one-day workshop on the treatment of unwanted habits and addictions, like procrastination, overeating, excessive cell phone use, or drinking too much. I encouraged the audience members to focus on one specific moment when they felt tempted to procrastinate, binge, or have a drink, or give in to their habit / addiction, and to write down all the Tempting Thoughts that were going through their minds, like:

  • Oh, that beer looks SO GOOD!
  • I’ve had a hard day, I deserve it.
  • I’ll just take one little sip. That can’t hurt!
  • There’s a good basketball game on TV. It will be way more fun to watch if I enjoy a few beers!

In each case—of depression, anxiety, a relationship problem, or a habit / addiction—I focus on one brief and specific moment when my patient was upset and having that problem. There are two reason for this concept of Specificity:

  1. When we understand what was happening at that one brief moment, we will understand everything of importance about that problem. As it turns out, all of your suffering will be encapsulated in that one brief example. So, when you understand why you were feeling depressed or panicky or whatever at that specific moment, you will understand everything you need to know about why you get depressed, or panicky, or whatever at any moment of your life.
  2. In addition, the moment you learn how to change the way you were thinking, feeling at that one brief moment, you will become enlightened, and you will suddenly grasp the solution to all of your problems. That’s because that one specific problem will simply repeat itself over and over, in slightly different disguises, every time you are depressed, or anxious, or arguing with a friend or family member, or struggling with temptations. So, once you understand the solution to that problem at one specific moment, you will understand the solution to that type of problem at any time in your life.

For example, if you were having a conflict with a loved one, you will not only learn how to resolve that conflict at that specific moment, but you will learn how to resolve any conflict you have with that person, or with practically anybody.

Fabrice and David link this Specificity concept to the amazing insights of the new branch of “fractal geometry.” Fractal geometry is a revolutionary form of mathematics in which a very simple formula, or shape, gets reproduced an infinite number of times. In the process, it morphs from a simple geometric shape and suddenly becomes a complex picture. For example, it may turn into a stunning green fern, or a gorgeous, multi-colored parrot, or a breathtaking landscape. But if you zero in on the tiniest piece of the picture, it will always look exactly the same—the same simple design that started the process.

Similarly, in “fractal psychotherapy,” we zero in on one very brief moment of your life, but the formula—or error—that caused you to become upset at that moment will always be the very same error you make every time you feet inferior or anxious or angry or tempted. And once you’ve changed at that one brief moment, you really will experience enlightenment! And your entire universe will become enlightened as well!

Fabrice provides another metaphor, that of a hologram. A hologram is a photograph that allows to display a fully 3-dimensional picture of an object. The hologram works differently from a regular photograph. Citing from Wikipedia, “When a photograph is cut in half, each piece shows half of the scene. When a hologram is cut in half, the whole scene can still be seen in each piece.” This remains true as you fragment the hologram into smaller and smaller pieces. So you could say that your problem is a kind of hologram of all the problems in your life, in a single moment so you can see the pattern that is repeated in many other situations.

David provides an example of how this works, using an example provided by a podcast fan we’ll call Janine. Janine was convinced that her husband couldn’t deal with feelings because he had “Asperger’s / high level autism.” David asked Janine for a brief simple exchange between Janine and her husband. what, exactly, did he say to her, and what exactly, did she say next?

That brief moment is all we need to understand her problem; and things suddenly began to look radically different when we examined how she responded to her husband!

You can see the first two steps of Janine’s Relationship Journal if you can click here.

It turned out she was right–someone definitely WASN’T dealing with feelings? But who? You’ll see two spiritual principles brought to life in the Relationship Journal.

  1. We create our personal reality at every moment of every day.
  2. We like to blame others for the problems in our relationships instead of pinpointing our own role in the problem.
  3. Intimacy, and enlightenment, require a painful death of the ego, or self. When you “look inward” for the cause of the problem, instead of blaming, you will find the answer you’ve been looking for–but the answer can sometimes be pretty painful.
  4. If you’re willing to let your ego, or “self,” die, you will receive a pretty awesome reward in heaven. But this heaven occurs when you are still alive!

You’ll see Rhonda model a more effective response using the Five Secrets of Effective Communication, as well as one of the advanced communication techniques called “Multiple Choice Empathy.”

David

Subscribe

Dr. Fabrice Nye currently practices in Redwood City, California and treats individuals throughout the world (but not across U.S. state lines) via teletherapy. You can reach him at fabrice@life.net. You can reach Dr. Burns at david@feelinggood.com. If you like our jingle music and would like to support the composer Brett Van Donsel, you may download it here.

* * *

THREE COOL UPCOMING WORKSHOPS FOR YOU

TEAM-CBT Methods for Anxiety Disorders–

Step-by-Step Training for Therapists

by David D. Burns, MD and Jill Levitt, PhD

May 19, 2019

You can attend in person or from home via Live Streaming

Check it out now!

THERE WILL BE MANY EXPERT TRAINERS TO GUIDE
THE ONLINE PARTICIPANTS IN THE SMALL GROUP EXERCISES

Coming Soon!

Act fast if you want to attend! The February 10 workshop habits and addictions sold out early.

And there will be two awesome summer intensives for you this year!

THE INTENSIVES ARE ALMOST ALWAYS
THE BEST WORKSHOPS OF THE YEAR!

July 15 – 18, 2019
Calgary four-day intensive
Sponsored by Jack Hirose & Assoc.

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

129: Flexing the Mindfulness Meditation Muscle

129: Flexing the Mindfulness Meditation Muscle

What is Mindfulness? Why Meditate?

In this role-reversal of the traditional Feeling Good Podcast, Dr. David Burns and his special guest, Dr. Rhonda Barovsky, interview Dr. Fabrice Nye, your beloved podcast host, on the topic of Mindfulness and Meditation, which are currently popular with the therapeutic community.

Fabrice answers questions like these:

  1. What’s mindfulness? How does it differ from meditation?
  2. What’s the history of mindfulness as well as meditation? Did it originate with the Buddha, or did it date back even earlier?
  3. What are some of the goals and potential benefits of mindfulness?
  4. Why specific exercises can you do to develop greater mindfulness ?
  5. Why is mindfulness helpful? How does it work?
  6. Some people meditate in silence for prolonged times, like ten days, for example. What is the goal here?
  7. Are there any dangers of meditation?
  8. How does mindfulness differ from yoga, relaxation training, and self-hypnosis?
  9. Some people seem to love and benefit from meditation, and others find it uninteresting or even annoying. Why is this? What’s the difference in these two groups of people? Is it okay not to be interested in meditation, or is something that everyone “should” do?
  10. The goal of mindfulness seems to be learning to deal more effectively with stressful thought and feelings. Does it deal with motivation and the resistance to change? TEAM-CBT makes us aware of the incredible importance of resistance, and provides many methods for reducing or eliminating resistance before you try any Method to “help” the patient. Does Mindfulness Meditation deal with resistance, or would it best be viewed as a method that can help individuals who are already strongly motivated to invest time and effort in their personal growth?

David

Subscribe

Dr. Fabrice Nye currently practices in Redwood City, California and treats individuals throughout the world (but not across U.S. state lines) via teletherapy. You can reach him at fabrice@life.net. You can reach Dr. Burns at david@feelinggood.com. If you like our jingle music and would like to support the composer Brett VanDonsel, you may download it here.

* * *

THREE COOL UPCOMING WORKSHOPS FOR YOU

TEAM-CBT Methods for Anxiety Disorders–

Step-by-Step Training for Therapists

by David D. Burns, MD and Jill Levitt, PhD

May 19, 2019

You can attend in person or from home via Live Streaming

Check it out now!

THERE WILL BE MANY EXPERT TRAINERS TO GUIDE
THE ONLINE PARTICIPANTS IN THE SMALL GROUP EXERCISES

Coming Soon!

Act fast if you want to attend! The February 10 workshop habits and addictions sold out early.

And there will be two awesome summer intensives for you this year!

THE INTENSIVES ARE ALMOST ALWAYS
THE BEST WORKSHOPS OF THE YEAR!

July 15 – 18, 2019
Calgary four-day intensive
Sponsored by Jack Hirose & Assoc.

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

128: Intense Social Anxiety–I’m Losing Control! What Can I Do? Part 1.

128: Intense Social Anxiety–I’m Losing Control! What Can I Do? Part 1.

Feedback from last week’s workshop from the woman who provided the example of a political conflict with her mother:

Hi David and Fabrice,

I listened to the podcast on the way to work today, I loved it! Felt honored by the kind attention David and Fabrice gave to this.

Using the 5 secrets has led to a much healthier and loving relationship with my  mom, and her Xmas visit was so much nicer than others have been, because I understood so much more about what her political stance means to her. I think it is a way for her to stay connected to my dad, who died 5 years ago–they loved to talk about politics together, though he was as brainwashed as she is. 😉

That allowed me to realize that her vote for Trump, and her failure to understand how horrifying he is, wasn’t a personal swipe at me. It was about longing and connection, and although it seems twisted to me, her Faux news/Alex Jones/Sean Hannity group on TV is a reliable community for her.

Anyway, I think she felt more loved and accepted and valued when she stayed with us this year, and I feel really great about that. Thank you all for the guidance and great teaching!

Eileen

Thanks so much for that wonderful note, Eileen! . . . And now for today’s show!

You CAN Defeat Shyness!

Lately, I’ve gotten lots of emails from podcast fans who struggle with shyness, which is categorized in DSM5 (The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders) as “Social Anxiety Disorder.” This is one of my favorite things to treat, since I struggled with practically EVERY type of social anxiety early in my life, so I really know how it feels and how to defeat it. It’s incredibly common. In fact, when I give workshops for mental health professionals, I sometimes ask how many of them have struggled with shyness or public speaking anxiety, and nearly all the hands go up.

This podcast will be the first of several on this topic, because it’s so common and relatively easy to overcome–IF you have the courage!

Here the are several different “flavors” of social anxiety recognized by the American Psychiatric Association, including:

  1. Shyness
  2. Public Speaking Anxiety
  3. Performance Anxiety (such as intense anxiety during a musical or athletic performance)
  4. Shy Bladder (or Bowel) Syndrome. This is the fear of peeing or pooing in a public restroom, for fear you’ll freeze up or make too much noise and others will notice.
  5. Test Anxiety

One common theme is the fear that others will notice your anxiety or poor performance and judge you. Another common source of suffering is shame of feeling like you are inherently flawed and will be seen as defective or even as insane by others. Sometimes, these fears become so extreme that they can significantly interfere with relationships and leisure-time activities as well as work.

Dan is a podcast fan who courageously immigrated to the United States from Iran as a young man. When he arrived in America, he had little education and almost no knowledge of English. He also suffered from an extreme case of acne, which eventually cleared up, but left him with severe social anxiety.

In spite of these problems, Dan worked hard, learned English, and became a top student in college and in graduate school as well, and went on to develop an excellent career. But in certain performance situations, such as public speaking or interacting with strangers, he panics and trembles and his heart races; his mouth twitches and his voice gets shaky, and he has thoughts like these:

  1. I’m about to lose control over myself.
  2. Others will see my symptoms and think I’m mentally insane.
  3. In spite of making Herculean efforts to control these symptoms, I have failed.
  4. I will never overcome this.
  5. I am defective for life.
  6. I will lose my job.

David and Fabrice remind listeners that they cannot treat anyone through a podcast, and that there are large numbers of treatment techniques that can be extremely helpful in the context of a compassionate and skillful therapeutic relationship. Since Dan is seeing an excellent therapist, they suggest and illustrate five powerful Interpersonal Exposure Techniques that Dan might want to do under the supervision of his therapist, including:

  1. The Survey Technique
  2. Self-Disclosure
  3. The Experimental Technique
  4. Shame Attacking Exercises
  5. The Feared Fantasy Technique

David and Fabrice also discuss how to address patient and therapist fears of using powerful exposure techniques, and how the avoidance of exposure can sabotage the treatment. They describe four techniques David as developed to help therapists with this, including:

  • Dangling the Carrot
  • The Gentle Ultimatum
  • Sitting with Open Hands
  • Fallback Position

David describes “Reverse Hypnosis.” This is where the patient hypnotizes the therapist into giving up on exposure thinking that it is “too dangerous,” or that the patient isn’t “ready” or is “too fragile.”

And speaking of anxiety, listeners might want to consider the upcoming workshop by David and his colleague, Dr. Jill Levitt, on the treatment of anxiety disorders on May 19, 2019. Check it out below!

Also, I promised to post my list of 100 Shame Attacking Exercises, so here it is! It’s not perfect, so please have low expectations. It does have some value.

Thanks. Stay tuned for more on Social Anxiety in future podcasts!

David

Subscribe

Dr. Fabrice Nye currently practices in Redwood City, California and treats individuals throughout the world (but not across U.S. state lines) via teletherapy. You can reach him at fabrice@life.net. You can reach Dr. Burns at david@feelinggood.com. If you like our jingle music and would like to support the composer Brett Van Donsel, you may download it here.

* * *

THREE COOL UPCOMING WORKSHOPS FOR YOU

TEAM-CBT Methods for Anxiety Disorders–

Step-by-Step Training for Therapists

by David D. Burns, MD and Jill Levitt, PhD

May 19, 2019

You can attend in person or from home via Live Streaming

Check it out now!

THERE WILL BE MANY EXPERT TRAINERS TO GUIDE
THE ONLINE PARTICIPANTS IN THE SMALL GROUP EXERCISES

Coming Soon!

Act fast if you want to attend! The February 10 workshop habits and addictions sold out early.

And there will be two awesome summer intensives for you this year!

THE INTENSIVES ARE ALMOST ALWAYS
THE BEST WORKSHOPS OF THE YEAR!

July 15 – 18, 2019
Calgary four-day intensive
Sponsored by Jack Hirose & Assoc.

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

127: How Can We Communicate with Loved Ones on the Opposite Side of the Political Divide?

127: How Can We Communicate with Loved Ones on the Opposite Side of the Political Divide?

Can the Five Secrets of Effective Communication Help Us in this Era of Intensely Polarized Politics?

Clearly, the nation is intensely divided, and passions on both sides of the political divide are characterized by hostility, frustration, and mistrust. Can the Five Secrets of Effective Communication help us communicate with colleagues, friends and loved ones who may have radically different political beliefs?

Find out on this edition of the Feeling Good Podcast, as the David and Fabrice respond to Eileen, a podcast fan who kindly allowed us to share her intensely painful conflict with her mother with all of you. Eileen’s mother is an ardent Trump fan, and Eileen is an equally ardent anti-Trumper, and there have been plenty of tears on both sides of the aisle!

Eileen wrote:

“How can you talk to someone with whom you fundamentally disagree? My Mom is a big fan of the current regime (Trump) and I’m horrified by what’s happened in the past two years and what’s coming. It’s hard for me to get past my rage at her. . . intensely distorted and not-reality based beliefs, fed by right-wing media. To be clear, she thinks exactly the same about my beliefs and information sources. I feel so stuck. . . and I would love to repair this relationship with her before she dies.”

Can you identify with similar conflicts in your own family or circle of friends? I know that I can, and it’s quite painful. Fabrice and I will give you our take on a new approach to this widespread problem this Sunday!

While you’re listening, you can take a look at Eileen’s Relationship Journal. You may also want to review the Five Secrets of Effective Communication as well as the three advanced communication techniques we discussed in last week’s podcast.

Let us know what you think after you’ve listened to the podcast!

David

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Dr. Fabrice Nye currently practices in Redwood City, California and treats individuals throughout the world (but not across U.S. state lines) via teletherapy. You can reach him at fabrice@life.net. You can reach Dr. Burns at david@feelinggood.com. If you like our jingle music and would like to support the composer Brett Van Donsel, you may download it here.

* * *

THREE COOL UPCOMING WORKSHOPS FOR YOU

TEAM-CBT Methods for Anxiety Disorders–

Step-by-Step Training for Therapists

by David D. Burns, MD and Jill Levitt, PhD

May 19, 2019

You can attend in person or from home via Live Streaming

Check it out now!

THERE WILL BE MANY EXPERT TRAINERS TO GUIDE
THE ONLINE PARTICIPANTS IN THE SMALL GROUP EXERCISES

Coming Soon!

Act fast if you want to attend! The February 10 workshop habits and addictions sold out early.

And there will be two awesome summer intensives for you this year!

THE INTENSIVES ARE ALMOST ALWAYS
THE BEST WORKSHOPS OF THE YEAR!

July 15 – 18, 2019
Calgary four-day intensive
Sponsored by Jack Hirose & Assoc.

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

126: How To Communicate with Someone Who Refuses to Talk to You!

126: How To Communicate with Someone Who Refuses to Talk to You!

Advanced Communication Techniques

We’ve had many podcasts on the Five Secrets of Effective Communication, and we’ve featured these powerful techniques in the live sessions with Lee (sessions #96 to #98)), a man who was upset because his wife was constantly criticizing him and trying to control him.

Here are the links to the first two podcasts on the Five Secrets (14 and 15). For more practice you can listen to podcasts 54 – 57 and 65 – 69.

Learning to use the Five Secrets skillfully requires strong motivation and lots of practice, but the benefits can be tremendous. The Five Secrets have transformed my clinical work as well as my personal and professional relationships. And they’ve also had a huge impact on my teaching.

But there are even more communication techniques that can be immensely helpful. In this podcast, we discuss three advanced techniques:

  1. Changing the Focus. This technique can be tremendously helpful when there’s an “elephant” in the room.
  2. Multiple Choice Empathy. This technique can be transformative when you’re trying to connect with a teenager, friend or loved one who refuses to talk to you.
  3. Positive Reframing. This technique can be invaluable when you’re fighting with a colleague, patient, friend or family member, and you’re both feeling frustrated, angry, and upset.

These techniques may look easy, but they are actually difficult to learn. They require humility, determination, and lots of practice. Success also depends on a strong desire to develop a more loving relationship with the person you’re not getting along with.

People who are serious about learning can read Feeling Good Together and do the written exercises while you read!

Thanks!

David

Subscribe

Dr. Fabrice Nye currently practices in Redwood City, California and treats individuals throughout the world (but not across U.S. state lines) via teletherapy. You can reach him at fabrice@life.net. You can reach Dr. Burns at david@feelinggood.com. If you like our jingle music and would like to support the composer Brett Van Donsel, you may download it here.

* * *

A COOL UPCOMING WORKSHOP FOR YOU

TEAM-CBT Methods for Anxiety Disorders–

Step-by-Step Training for Therapists

by David D. Burns, MD and Jill Levitt, PhD

jill-david

Dr. Jill Levitt and I are offering what I think will be an outstanding workshop on the treatment of anxiety disorders on Sunday, May 19, 2019. Our Sunday workshops are tremendously fun, so consider attending if you are interested. 

The last Sunday workshop in February sold out quickly so register soon if you are interested. You can join in Palo Alto in person or online from anywhere in the world.

THERE WILL BE MANY EXPERT TRAINERS TO GUIDE THE ONLINE PARTICIPANTS DURING THE SMALL GROUP EXERCISES

WHEN: May 19, 2019, 8:30 am – 4:30 pm PST
(11:30 am-7:30 pm EST)

WHERE: Join us live online or in person at the Creekside Inn, Palo Alto, CA.

HOW MUCH DOES IT COST? $135,

WILL I GET CE CREDITS? YES! 7 CE hours available

WILL I GET CREDIT IN THE TEAM LICENSURE PROGRAM? YES!
Completion of this workshop also counts towards TEAM-CBT Level 1, 2 or 3 Certification

WHO CAN ATTEND? Therapists of all levels are welcome

CAN I REGISTER IF I’M NOT A THERAPIST? Although the workshop is geared for therapists, it will be taught in a clear and basic way that anyone can benefit from.

WILL I HAVE FUN? Yes!

WILL I HAVE GET TO HANG OUT WITH SOME COOL COLLEAGUES? Yes!

WILL I GET AN AWESOME FREE BREAKFAST AND LUNCH? Yes!

You will love this lively, amusing, and immensely useful day of training with Drs. Burns, Levitt and the Feeling Good Institute Staff. The trainers will use a combination of didactic teaching, live demonstrations, video, and breakout group practice to enhance skill-building.

REGISTER / LEARN MORE

Act fast if you want to attend!

* * *

And there will be two awesome summer intensives for you this year!

THE INTENSIVES ARE ALMOST ALWAYS
THE BEST WORKSHOPS OF THE YEAR!

July 15 – 18, 2019
Calgary four-day intensive
Sponsored by Jack Hirose & Assoc.

 

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

 

125: Ask David: How Do You Treat Chronic Laziness?

125: Ask David: How Do You Treat Chronic Laziness?

Answers to More Great Questions from Listeners Like YOU!

  1. Kevin asks: After your initial improvement from treatment or from reading your book, Feeling Good, what can one do moving forward to give yourself “booster shots?”
  2. Umatsagir asks a related question: I feel great right after reading your book, Feeling Good, but the effect diminishes over time. What should I do?
  3. Umatsagir also asks: Is there an anxiety masterpiece equivalent of your book, Feeling Good?
  4. Kyle asks: What can I do, as a therapist, about the passive patient who just shrugs when I ask what he wants to work on, and says, “My Mom thinks I should come to see you.” When I try to dig deeper to try to find out what patients like this want help with, I run into resistance and then they typically drop out of therapy. What should I do?
  5. Benjamin asks a somewhat related question: How do you treat chronic laziness? In your book, Feeling Good, you call this “Do-Nothingism,” which is a lack of motivation that you often see in depression. In your book, you talk about ten different types of procrastination, with a different approach for each. If the patient feels overwhelmed by many things he or she is procrastinating on, how can you help that person, since he or she probably can’t do the psychotherapy homework, either! It’s a Catch-22, since they cannot find the motivation to do anything, but have to do the homework to improve!
  6. Jim asks another related question: How about doing a podcast on psychotherapy homework? “What do you have your patients do for homework? This is particularly important since I have 45 minute sessions and can only see my patients for 45 minutes every two or three weeks.”

Subscribe

Dr. Fabrice Nye currently practices in Redwood City, California and treats individuals throughout the world via teletherapy. You can reach him at fabrice@life.net. You can reach Dr. Burns at David@feelinggood.com. If you like our jingle music and would like to support the composer Brett Van Donsel, you may download it here.

* * *

THREE COOL UPCOMING WORKSHOPS FOR YOU

TEAM-CBT Methods for Anxiety Disorders–

Step-by-Step Training for Therapists

by David D. Burns, MD and Jill Levitt, PhD

May 19, 2019

You can attend in person or from home via Live Streaming

Check it out now!

THERE WILL BE MANY EXPERT TRAINERS TO GUIDE
THE ONLINE PARTICIPANTS IN THE SMALL GROUP EXERCISES

Coming Soon!

Act fast if you want to attend! The February 10 workshop habits and addictions sold out early.

 

And there will be two awesome summer intensives for you this year!

THE INTENSIVES ARE ALMOST ALWAYS
THE BEST WORKSHOPS OF THE YEAR!

July 15 – 18, 2019
Calgary four-day intensive
Sponsored by Jack Hirose & Assoc.

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

124: Ten MORE Errors Therapists Make (Part 2)

124: Ten MORE Errors Therapists Make (Part 2)

The Final Five Therapist Errors (in no particular order)

This concludes our three-part series on Common Therapist Errors. I hope you’ve enjoyed it, and I apologize in advance if any of the ideas I’m proposing in today’s podcast seem “over the top” or simply off base.

I teach with great passion, but I’m not always right! Fortunately, my esteemed host, Dr. Fabrice Nye, challenges me quite a bit, and he is almost always right. Hopefully, you will enjoy our dialogue and the chance to think a bit more critically about psychotherapy. 

And when you find I’ve made an error, or said something offensive to you, I hope you will put it in perspective. I’m kind of a mixed bag, to be honest. I believe I have a lot to offer, but I’ve got tons of flaws, too! I fight my flaws, but not always with success.

For better or worse, here are today’s therapist errors! 

1. Confusing psychoeducation with psychotherapy. Pyschoeducation can be helpful, but it’s rarely curative. Effective psychotherapy requires much more.

Here are some examples of helpful psychoeducation:

  • Teaching people about the list of ten common cognitive distortions from David’s book, Feeling Good: The New Mood Therapy
  • Teaching people how to pinpoint their negative feelings at any moment in time using David’s Daily Mood Log
  • Teaching people that your thoughts, and not external events, create all of your positive and negative feelings
  • Explaining the Five Secrets of Effective Communication
  • etc. etc. etc.

Psychotherapy means helping people CHANGE the way they think and feel, or helping people develop more loving and satisfying personal relationships. That requires a great deal of therapeutic skill and hard work on the part of the patient–during sessions and between sessions. it also requires a warm and trusting therapeutic alliance.

2. Belief in Gurus. Believing that the individuals who start schools of therapy are nice and well-balanced individuals! David describes conversations with the late Albert Ellis, PhD, who argued that many, and arguably most, are incredibly narcissistic and manipulative. Sometimes, individuals who appear incredibly charming and brilliant and inspiring have a dark underbellies they are keeping hidden!

David argues that it might be more desirable to have a science-based, data driven, systematic approach to psychotherapy, as opposed to a field dominated by therapeutic schools, which sometimes function almost like competing cults.

3. Reverse / “backward” statistical reasoning. Most therapists who work with patients with Borderline Personality Disorder as well as Multiple Personality Disorder, as well as patients who are prone to violence, believe that childhood trauma, deprivation, or abuse is the main cause of these problems. They believe this because patients with those diagnoses frequently describe traumatic experiences in their past, so they assume those experiences caused the patient’s disorder. 

This is a statistical and conceptual error, because most individuals who experienced traumas when growing up never developed Borderline Personality Disorder or Multiple Personality Disorder. This is not to say that traumas are unimportant—traumatic experiences at any phase of life can be very damaging. What this DOES mean is that most psychiatric problems have other causes. 

What are those other causes? They are not known, for the most part.

This information is not easy for many people to accept. For example, I just found this statement on WebMd:

“As many as 99% of individuals who develop dissociative disorders have recognized personal histories of recurring, overpowering, and often life-threatening disturbances at a sensitive developmental stage of childhood (usually before age 9).”

Here’s another web comment:

“Several studies have shown that a diagnosis of BPD is associated with child abuse and neglect more than any other personality disorders [78], with a range between 30 and 90% in BPD patients [79].” https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5472954/

The same source also stated that:

“. . . Widom and collaborators [12] followed 500 children who had suffered physical and sexual abuse and neglect and 396 matched controls, and they observed that . . . the presence of a risk factor, such as adverse childhood events, was not necessary or sufficient to explain the reason why some individuals developed BPD symptoms in adulthood, whereas others did not.”

If you are interested, you can find the references to these studies at the end of this blog.

Here is one way of understanding this error. Childhood sexual abuse is far more common in the population (typically estimated in the range of 15% of men and 25% of women), and if you add childhood trauma or neglect, these percentages in crease even more. AT the same time, the incidence of Borderline Personality Disorder or Dissociative Identity Disorder are typically estimated around 1%. That means that most individuals who have experienced childhood sexual abuse, neglect or trauma do not develop these disorders. 

I do not in any way mean to minimize the importance of trauma, sexual abuse or neglect. The impact of these experiences can be profound and can include physical as well as psychological problems.

My only point, and perhaps it is an overly humble one, is that we simply do not know the causes of most (or any) of the problems listed in the DSM5 (Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of the American Psychiatric Association.) I think it is great that we have many treatments that can be helpful and effective for individuals, but it might not further our cause to jump to conclusions about the causes of things based on what we see before our eyes when we are doing clinical work.

Sometimes, seeing is believing, but sometimes, our “seeing” can be misleading. 

I hope I have not offended anyone! 

4. Believing in Mental Disorders. Do the so-called Mental Disorders” described in the DSM actually exist? Or are they simply the fabrics of our imagination?

Years ago, Thomas Szasz, a psychiatrist and psychoanalyst, wrote a popular and controversial book called The Myth of Mental Illness, in which he claimed that mental disorders do not exist. David argues that Szasz was only partially right. Most of what we see in the DSM are simply arbitrary constructs, and not real “disorders.” For example, most people worry about things from time to time. Worrying is unpleasant but normal, and there is a wide range of worrying in the population. Some people rarely worry, and some people almost constantly worry, and most of us are in-between. 

The American Psychiatric Association will take the group who worry the most, and give them a label of “Generalized Anxiety Disorder.” But there is no such “thing.” It is not a real brain disorder. The same problem afflicts a great many of the so-called “disorders” listed in the DSM. These are problems, not brain disorders.

However, there are several real brain disorders, such as schizophrenia, Bipolar I Manic-Depressive Illness, and Alzheimer’s Disease. These are disorders of brain tissue or wiring, and are not simply variants of normal human behavior or experience. 

When I work with individuals, I measure the severity of symptoms and say things like this, “Jim, I can see you tend to be very shy (or depressed or anxious, or whatever.)” I do not say, “Jim, I want you to know you have a brain disorder called “Social Anxiety Disorder,” because I feel that is potentially upsetting to the patient and not really “true.” In addition, shyness can be fairly easily treated in most cases without medication.

Most non-MD therapists do not make the mistake of confusing symptoms with “mental disorders.” It seems likely to me (David) that psychiatrist are more likely to make this mental error, since psychiatry, as I understand it, is emulating the medical model of diagnosis followed by medication treatment or some other kind of biological intervention. 

5. Ignoring a Diagnostic Evaluation. Most therapists skip a formal diagnostic evaluation, because the DSM is so difficult to work with, and since a formal diagnostic interview can be frustrating and time-consuming. And, as I pointed out in my discussion of the previous error, it is somewhat misleading to tell patients they have mental disorders, like “Generalized Anxiety Disorder” or “Social Anxiety Disorder,” when, in reality, the patient is simply shy or has a tendency to worry a lot.

And yet, there can be significant negative consequences of NOT doing a thorough initial evaluation of the patient’s many symptoms, since you can easily overlook something important, like drug or alcohol abuse, or suicidal or violent urges in new patient.

The EASY Diagnostic Survey provides a fresh and helpful option. patients can complete it on their own, between sessions, and it automatically diagnoses more than 50 of the most common “disorders” in DSM5. Then the therapist can review it during a session and assign the diagnoses in less than ten minutes in most cases.

This provides the therapist with an accurate map of the patient’s problems. You do not have to think of them as a variety of “mental disorders,” but rather as areas of suffering and difficulty. I don’t tell myself I’m treating “Generalized Anxiety Disorder,” but rather treating a human being who is troubled by constant and excessive worrying–and fortunately, that is very treatable!

Therapists who are interest in purchasing a license to use the EASY in your clinical work can check this link. 

Thanks!

David

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Dr. Fabrice Nye currently practices in Redwood City, California and treats individuals throughout the world (but not across U.S. state lines) via teletherapy. You can reach him at fabrice@life.net. You can reach Dr. Burns at david@feelinggood.com. If you like our jingle music and would like to support the composer Brett Van Donsel, you may download it here.

TWO COOL UPCOMING WORKSHOPS FOR YOU

Dr. Jill Levitt and I are offering what I think will be an outstanding workshop on the treatment of unwanted habits and addictions on Sunday, February 10. Our Sunday workshops are tremendously fun, so consider attending if you are interested.  We quickly sold out in-person but you can still join online.

THERE WILL BE MANY EXPERTS TRAINERS TO GUIDE THE ONLINE GROUP IN THE SMALL GROUP EXERCISES

During the program, you will have the chance to work on one of your own habits / addictions  so you will get the double benefit of learning cool new treatment techniques and doing some personal healing at the same time!

You will develop a deeper understanding of Outcome and Process Resistance, and you will learn how to deal with this twin-horned Devil. As you know, TEAM-CBT features many innovative techniques to reduce Outcome and Process Resistance.

Here’s the BAD news. Very few therapists have the skills, insights, or mind-set to deal with resistance, and this is the main cause of therapeutic failure in the treatment of depression, anxiety disorders, relationship problems, and habits and addictions.

Here’s the GOOD news. Once you acquire these skills, your clinical effectiveness will soar!

Here are the specifics–

Coming Soon!

Act fast if you want to attend!

Don’t miss out learning from David Burns, MD, one of the great pioneers of Cognitive Therapy, and from the fabulous, Jill Levitt, PhD, Director of Training at the Feeling Good Institute in Mt. View, CA!

TEAM-CBT Methods for Unwanted Habits and Addictions: Step-by-Step Training for Therapists

WHEN: February 10th, 2019, 8:30 am – 4:30 pm PST
(11:30 am-7:30 pm EST)

WHERE: Join us live online or in person at the Creekside Inn, Palo Alto, CA.

HOW MUCH DOES IT COST? $135,

WILL I GET CE CREDITS? YES!
7 CE hours available

WILL I GET CREDIT IN THE TEAM LICENSURE PROGRAM? YES!
Completion of this workshop also counts towards TEAM-CBT Level 1, 2 or 3 Certification

WHO CAN ATTEND? Therapists of all levels are welcome

CAN I REGISTER IF I’M NOT A THERAPIST? In my opinion (Dr. Burns), although the workshop is geared for therapists, it will be taught in a clear and basic way that anyone can benefit from. Please check with the Feeling Good Institute if you want to attend.

CAN I WORK ON MY OWN HABIT / ADDICTION? Absolutely!
Heal yourself, heal your clients!

WILL I HAVE FUN? Yes!

You will also:

  • Learn new skills to reduce resistance and boost the motivation to change. This is THE key to the treatment of any habit or addiction.
  • Learn how to use Dr. Burns’ powerful Decision-Making Tool and Triple Paradox Technique.
  • Practice and master the Devil’s Advocate Technique to help you and your patients overcome difficult-to-stop habits and addictions to drugs, alcohol, overeating, procrastination, and more.

You will love this lively, amusing, and immensely useful day of training with Drs. Burns, Levitt and the Feeling Good Institute Staff. The trainers will use a combination of didactic teaching, live demonstrations, and breakout group practice to enhance skill-building.

This wonderful workshop will stream live and is easily accessible from anywhere in the world on any device with WiFi. To join, just click on the link provided before the workshop.

REGISTER / LEARN MORE

* * *

If you can’t join us for the addictions workshop, consider this cool program on the treatment of anxiety disorders in the spring. But register soon if you want to attend in person, as the in person slots are limited.

TEAM-CBT Methods for Anxiety Disorders–

Step-by-Step Training for Therapists

by David D. Burns, MD and Jill Levitt, PhD

May 19, 2019

You can attend in person or from home via Live Streaming

Stay tuned for more details or check it out now!

 

123: Ten MORE Errors Therapists Make (Part  1)

123: Ten MORE Errors Therapists Make (Part 1)

I was concerned that our recent “Ten Most Common Therapist Errors” show might antagonize people, but we got quite a lot of positive and encouraging feedback from listeners, which was surprising to me. As a result, Fabrice and I decided to take a chance and publish two more shows on common therapist errors this week and next week. We hope you like these shows!

Make sure you let us know what you think, and let me apologize in advance if I come across as annoying or overly cynical. All of the errors I describe are correctable; the goal is to improve the treatment of individuals struggling with depression, anxiety, troubled relationships, or habits and addictions. Thanks!

Here are the five errors discussed in today’s show.

1. Failure to hold patients accountable. Example, the therapist may let the depressed patient slip by without doing psychotherapy homework, since the patient insists he or she doesn’t have enough time or motivation to do the homework; or the therapist may agree to treatment an anxious patient without using exposure, since the patient may resist exposure; or a patient may treat someone with a relationship conflict without exploring the patient’s role in the problem, and so forth.

David argues that this rarely or never leads to significant change, much less recovery. However, many therapists, and perhaps most, get seduced into this error for a variety of reasons.

2, The “corrective emotional experience.” This is the belief that the patient’s long-term relationship with the therapist will be sufficient for growth and recovery, without having to do any psychotherapy homework or be accountable. Therapist may imagine himself or herself as the loving and nurturing parent the patient never had.

David argues that this caters to the therapist’s ego and feeds into what the patient wants as well—a long-term relationship built on schmoozing.

But does it lead to recovery?

Here’s David’s short answer: Nope! Warmth, empathy, and trust are necessary ingredients for good therapy, but they are simply not sufficient. Your patient may think you’re the most wonderful and supportive listener in the world, but that will rarely or never lead to recovery from depression, an anxiety disorder, or an addiction, and it will not lead to the skills to heal troubled relationships, either.

3. Responding defensively to patient criticisms. David argues that therapists almost always react defensively to criticisms by patients, such “you don’t’ get me,” or “you aren’t helping,” or “you don’t really care about me.” He describes an interesting five-year study of psychoanalysts in Atlanta, Georgia, sponsored by the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH), to find out how the analysts responded to patient criticisms. You may find the results surprising!

He gives an example of defensive responding during a workshop he conducted at a hospital in Pennsylvania. Therapists can learn to correct this error with lots of practice with the Five Secrets of Effective Communication, but this requires several things:

  • Using the Patient’s Evaluation of Therapy Session after each session so can quickly pinpoint empathy / relationship failures.
  • Lots of practice with the Five Secrets.
  • Humility, and the willingness to see the world through the eyes of the patient. This requires the “Great Death” of the therapist’s ego!

4. Joining a school of therapy and treating everything with the same method or approach. Can you imagine what it would be like if medicine was organized like this, with “schools of therapy,” like the “penicillin school”? David apologetically argues that the abolition of all schools of therapy would be a good thing. Fabrice disagrees, and argues that the treatment of psychological problems is inherently different from the treatment of medical disorders.

Let us know what YOU think!

5. Confirmation paradox. I (David) majored in the philosophy of science in college, and this was one of the first topics, and it definitely applies to our thinking about the causes of emotional problems. I’ll try to make it really simple and understandable.

Here’s the essence of this error. If I have a theory that predicts the patient’s behavior you may conclude that your theory is correct. But this logic can be very misleading. Here’s a general science example

  • Your theory: the sun circles around the earth.
  • Your prediction: if my theory is true, the sun will come up in the east each morning and set in the west each evening.
  • Your observation: the sun DOES come up in the east and set in the west, exactly as predicted.
  • Your erroneous conclusion: the sun circles around the earth.

Now let’s consider a psychotherapy example. Many therapists believe that perfectionism and insecurity result from growing up with parents who emphasized hard work and high standards as a precondition for being loved. Now let’s assume that you have a perfectionistic and insecure patient who remembers feeling like s/he wasn’t good enough when growing up. So, you conclude that the patient’s interaction with demanding parents caused the perfectionism and insecurity.

But the perfectionism and insecurity may not have resulted from any childhood experiences or interactions with parents. It may have been strongly influenced by genetic factors, or social / environmental pressures.

We can put this in the same framework as the example about the sun:

  • Your theory: Perfectionism and insecurity result from growing up in unloving families that emphasized high standards and achievement rather than unconditional love and nurture.
  • Your prediction: Insecure, perfectionistic patients will report childhood experiences with unloving parents who pushed them to work harder, etc.
  • Your observation: Your insecure, perfectionistic patients DO describe their parents as demanding and lacking in love and support.
  • Your erroneous conclusions: The patient’s childhood experiences caused the perfectionism. 2. The patient will have to “work through” these childhood experiences if s/he wants to overcome the feelings of perfectionism and insecurity.

 

 

Subscribe

Dr. Fabrice Nye currently practices in Redwood City, California and treats individuals throughout the world (but not across U.S. state lines) via teletherapy. You can reach him at fabrice@life.net. You can reach Dr. Burns at david@feelinggood.com. If you like our jingle music and would like to support the composer Brett Van Donsel, you may download it here.

TWO COOL UPCOMING WORKSHOPS FOR YOU

Dr. Jill Levitt and I are offering what I think will be an outstanding workshop on the treatment of unwanted habits and addictions on Sunday, February 10. Our Sunday workshops are tremendously fun, so consider attending if you are interested.  We quickly sold out in-person but you can still join online.

THERE WILL BE MANY EXPERTS TRAINERS TO GUIDE THE ONLINE GROUP IN THE SMALL GROUP EXERCISES

During the program, you will have the chance to work on one of your own habits / addictions  so you will get the double benefit of learning cool new treatment techniques and doing some personal healing at the same time!

You will develop a deeper understanding of Outcome and Process Resistance, and you will learn how to deal with this twin-horned Devil. As you know, TEAM-CBT features many innovative techniques to reduce Outcome and Process Resistance.

Here’s the BAD news. Very few therapists have the skills, insights, or mind-set to deal with resistance, and this is the main cause of therapeutic failure in the treatment of depression, anxiety disorders, relationship problems, and habits and addictions.

Here’s the GOOD news. Once you acquire these skills, your clinical effectiveness will soar!

Here are the specifics–

Coming Soon!

Act fast if you want to attend!

Don’t miss out learning from David Burns, MD, one of the great pioneers of Cognitive Therapy, and from the fabulous, Jill Levitt, PhD, Director of Training at the Feeling Good Institute in Mt. View, CA!

TEAM-CBT Methods for Unwanted Habits and Addictions: Step-by-Step Training for Therapists

WHEN: February 10th, 2019, 8:30 am – 4:30 pm PST
(11:30 am-7:30 pm EST)

WHERE: Join us live online or in person at the Creekside Inn, Palo Alto, CA.

HOW MUCH DOES IT COST? $135,

WILL I GET CE CREDITS? YES!
7 CE hours available

WILL I GET CREDIT IN THE TEAM LICENSURE PROGRAM? YES!
Completion of this workshop also counts towards TEAM-CBT Level 1, 2 or 3 Certification

WHO CAN ATTEND? Therapists of all levels are welcome

CAN I REGISTER IF I’M NOT A THERAPIST? In my opinion (Dr. Burns), although the workshop is geared for therapists, it will be taught in a clear and basic way that anyone can benefit from. Please check with the Feeling Good Institute if you want to attend.

CAN I WORK ON MY OWN HABIT / ADDICTION? Absolutely!
Heal yourself, heal your clients!

WILL I HAVE FUN? Yes!

You will also:

  • Learn new skills to reduce resistance and boost the motivation to change. This is THE key to the treatment of any habit or addiction.
  • Learn how to use Dr. Burns’ powerful Decision-Making Tool and Triple Paradox Technique.
  • Practice and master the Devil’s Advocate Technique to help you and your patients overcome difficult-to-stop habits and addictions to drugs, alcohol, overeating, procrastination, and more.

You will love this lively, amusing, and immensely useful day of training with Drs. Burns, Levitt and the Feeling Good Institute Staff. The trainers will use a combination of didactic teaching, live demonstrations, and breakout group practice to enhance skill-building.

This wonderful workshop will stream live and is easily accessible from anywhere in the world on any device with WiFi. To join, just click on the link provided before the workshop.

REGISTER / LEARN MORE

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If you can’t join us for the addictions workshop, consider this cool program on the treatment of anxiety disorders in the spring. But register soon if you want to attend in person, as the in person slots are limited.

TEAM-CBT Methods for Anxiety Disorders–

Step-by-Step Training for Therapists

by David D. Burns, MD and Jill Levitt, PhD

May 19, 2019

You can attend in person or from home via Live Streaming

Stay tuned for more details or check it out now!