113: Ask David: How Can I Overcome My Perfectionism?

113: Ask David: How Can I Overcome My Perfectionism?

Hi everybody! In today’s podcast we answer five challenging questions submitted by fans and listeners such as you!

1. Steven asks about the best route to take if you want to learn and practice TEAM-CBT? Is the degree important? What’s the best degree? Should you go to school to become a psychologist,  clinical social worker, addiction counselor, psychiatrist, professional counselor, pastoral counselor, marriage and family therapist, life coach, or what? There are so many degrees and potential paths that my head is spinning!

2. Sandy asks how to overcome long-standing, entrenched perfectionistic tendencies.

3.  Rin asks about the Burns Depression checklist and the criteria for depression in the DSM. He is (understandably) confused about the so-called “somatic” symptoms of depression, like insomnia or changes in appetite.

For example, some “experts” would argue that the following are all symptoms of clinical depression:

  • insomnia or the opposite—sleeping too much;
  • increased appetite or the opposite–decreased appetite;
  • loss of interest in sex, or the opposite, sex addiction;
  • loss of interest in work, or the opposite, being a workaholic.

How can opposite symptoms be symptoms of depression? Does this make sense? Are these really the symptoms of depression, or simply non-specific symptoms? What are the five key symptoms of real depression?

4. Kevin is a therapist with a simple question: How do I get over my desire to help?

5. Amanda asks how to use the Disarming Technique with a patient who thinks he or she isn’t making any progress in the therapy.

Thanks for listening to our Feeling Good Podcasts. Please tell your friends about us or forward this to them so our numbers can continue to grow. We are now in the range of 60,000 downloads per month, thanks to all of you! Fabrice and I greatly appreciate your support!

David and Fabrice

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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.

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A Cool Upcoming Workshop for YOU!

Two great locations: SF and Portland

plus Live Streaming from Portland
so you can attend from anywhere in the world.

TREAT ANXIETY FAST–

Powerful, Fast-Acting, Drug-Free Techniques 
to Defeat Anxiety & Worry

a 2-day workshop by David D. Burns, MD

November 29 and 30, 2018: San Francisco, CA
(in person only)

and

December 3 and 4, 2018: Portland, Oregon
(in person and live streaming)

PESI is proud to offer an exciting workshop by David Burns, M.D., a pioneer in the development of cognitive behavior therapy (CBT). Achieve rapid and lasting recovery with all your anxious clients, just as Dr. Burns has done in over 35,000 therapy sessions with severely troubled clients. Become skilled at treating every type of anxiety without drugs.

In this unique 2-day certificate course you’ll master more than 20 treatment techniques to help your clients eliminate the symptoms of anxiety quickly – even your most challenging, resistant clients.

Dr. Burns will illustrate concrete strategies that provide rapid, complete recovery and lasting change for your patients. You’ll learn…

  • How to integrate four powerful treatment models to eliminate symptoms.
  • How to enhance your client’s engagement in therapy.
  • How to develop a treatment plan that specifically targets each client’s unique problems and needs.
  • …and so much more!

David will provide you with guided instruction and share powerful video sessions that capture the actual moment of recovery. You will take away practical strategies to use immediately with any anxious client. Leave this certificate course armed with tools you can use in your very next session!

Don’t miss this opportunity to learn from one of America’s most highly acclaimed teachers!

Sponsored by PESI

To register, or for more information, call: 800-844-8260

106: Ask Dr. David and Dr. Helen — My Husband Doesn’t Make me Feel Loved! What Can I Do?

106: Ask Dr. David and Dr. Helen — My Husband Doesn’t Make me Feel Loved! What Can I Do?

Back by Popular Demand Again–Dr. Helen Yeni-Komshian

This is the second podcast on relationship problems. with Dr. Helen Yeni-Komshian. In today’s podcast, we address four questions from listeners like you:

  1. Our marriage lacks intimacy. What can I do? A podcast fan named David explains that his relationship with his wife is no longer intimate; he complains that they only talk about day to day things on a superficial level. David wants to know if he needs to inject some conflict into the relationship to make it more meaningful or exciting.
  2. Why is my wife so critical of me? David wants to know why his wife constantly peppers him and batters him with critical questions, and what he can about it.
  3. Why is my friend so critical and dogmatic? Rajesh describes a friend who argues endlessly and accuses Rajesh of being irritating. His friend says, “Anyone would be upset when they try to talk to you!” What’s up? Why is this happening? Who’s really to blame?
  4. Adarah feels lonely and tells her husband what he can do to make her feel loved–but it just doesn’t seem to work! Why? And what CAN she do to improve her marriage?

I think you will enjoy the lively dialogue between Fabrice, Helen and myself and see us struggling and making some mistakes, too, when we try to model more effective responses based on the Five Secrets of Effective Communication! We also stress, once again, the importance of Interpersonal Decision-Making any time you run into a conflict with a friend, colleague, or loved one.

For more information on healing troubled relationships, you can read my book, Feeling Good Together, which is available as a paperback on Amazon. In addition, you can listen to our previous podcasts on the Five Secrets of Effective Communication, beginning with Podcast #65 (Enjoy Greater Intimacy) and several of the podcasts that follow.

David

PS Listeners who wish to contact Dr. Helen can do so via email: helen at dryeni.com. You can also visit her website, www.dryeni.com.

 

Coming Up Soon–

TEAM-CBT Methods for the Treatment of Relationship Difficulties

Step by Step Training for Therapists

by David Burns, MD and Jill Levitt, PhD

Learn how to reduce patient resistance and boost motivation to change. Master skills that will enhance communication skills and increase intimacy with loved ones. This workshop is highly interactive with many case examples and opportunities for practice using role plays.

Join us for a day of fun and inspiring learning on site in Palo Alto OR online from anywhere in the world by this dynamic teaching duo!

Sunday October 28th, 2018 (9am-4pm PST) 6 CE*s. $135

To register, go to Feeling Good Institute

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Rapid Recovery from Trauma

a two-day workshop

by David D. Burns, MD

October 4-5, 2018–Woodland Hills, CA

and

November 1-2, 2018–Pasadena, CA

The November workshop includes Live Streaming
if you cannot attend in person)

For further information, go to www.IAHB.org
or call 1-800-258-8411

Register Now!

 

Subscribe

 

105: Ask David and Dr. Helen — Does Empathy Fatigue Exist?

105: Ask David and Dr. Helen — Does Empathy Fatigue Exist?

Back by Popular Demand—Dr. Helen

We have invited Dr. Helen Yeni-Komshian to join Fabrice and me for two consecutive podcasts on questions listeners have asked about troubled relationships. In today’s podcast, we address a question from Mary about how to deal with a husband who constantly complains and exaggerates how awful things are at work, in politics, and in the world. But when Mary tries to dismiss his statements in an effort to “keep the peace,” it just gets worse. His complaints escalate!

This is a common problem and you may have run into it as well. Do you have a friend or family member who loves to complain? And have you noticed that your attempts to help or point out the irrationality of his or her complaints are futile? So what SHOULD you do? What’s the secret of dealing with a whiner or a complainer? Is it even possible.

Helen and David provide a myriad of information and describe techniques such as Forced Empathy, Interpersonal Decision Making, Changing the Focus, and the Five Secrets of Effective Communication. You’ll LOVE this lively dialogue!

For more information on healing troubled relationships, you can read my book, Feeling Good Together, which is available as a paperback on Amazon. In addition, you can listen to our previous podcasts on the Five Secrets of Effective Communication, beginning with Podcast #65 (Enjoy Greater Intimacy) and several of the podcasts that follow.

More relationship questions answered next week. See you then!

David

PS: Listeners who wish to contact Dr. Helen can do so via email: helen at dryeni.com. You can also visit her website, www.dryeni.com.

PPS: In Episode #101 of this podcast, David responded to Dr. Michael Edelstein and Tommy Bateman on their challenge of the TEAM-CBT model vs. REBT. David was invited to be interviewed on their YouTube channel, The REBT Advocate and used his own effective communication skills to answer the challenge in Episode 35 of The REBT Advocate. You might want to listen to it.

 

Coming Up Soon–

TEAM-CBT Methods for the Treatment of Relationship Difficulties

Step by Step Training for Therapists

by David Burns, MD and Jill Levitt, PhD

Learn how to reduce patient resistance and boost motivation to change. Master skills that will enhance communication skills and increase intimacy with loved ones. This workshop is highly interactive with many case examples and opportunities for practice using role plays.

Join us for a day of fun and inspiring learning on site in Palo Alto OR online from anywhere in the world by this dynamic teaching duo!

Sunday October 28th, 2018 (9am-4pm PST) 6 CE*s. $135

To register, go to Feeling Good Institute

or call  650-353-6544 

* * *

Rapid Recovery from Trauma

a two-day workshop

by David D. Burns, MD

October 4-5, 2018–Woodland Hills, CA

and

November 1-2, 2018–Pasadena, CA

The November workshop includes Live Streaming
if you cannot attend in person)

For further information, go to www.IAHB.org
or call 1-800-258-8411

Register Now!

 

Subscribe

 

036: Ask David — Empowering the Victim With the Five Secrets

036: Ask David — Empowering the Victim With the Five Secrets

Don’t blame the victim!

IMG_1028In a recent blog, David described three types of “Reverse Hypnosis,” and talked about how frequently patients can hypnotize therapists into believing things that will tend to sabotage the therapy. Reverse Relationship Hypnosis means that the patient persuades the therapist that she or he really is a victim of the other person’s bad behavior. If therapists buy into this type of thinking, it can prevent the patient from examining ways she or he may be contributing to the problem.

But a blog reader made a fairly strong and impassioned comment that sometimes this may be mistake when the patient really IS a victim, and cautioned against blaming the victim. David’s goal is never to blame patients, but rather to empower you.

David and Fabrice begin by discussing the fact that sometimes people vacillate between other-blame (it’s all his/her fault) and self-blame (it’s all my fault), and emphasize that neither approach is helpful. If you blame the other person, the problem escalates and may turn to violence, but if, instead, you blame yourself, you’ll probably end up feeling worthless, guilty, unlovable, and depressed.

So what’s the solution to this dilemma? Dr. Burns encourages patients to use the Five Secrets of Effective Communication and make a radical change in the way they communicate with others, along the lines of EAR. E stands for Empathy, A stands for Assertiveness, and R stands for Respect. You can examine each of the Five Secrets if you CLICK HERE.

David gives five compelling examples of how to deal with people who REALLY ARE violent and abuse, including a raging psychiatric patient who was threatening the staff and on the verge of exploding, a serial killer who kidnapped a social worker who had attended one of David’s communication workshops, some drunken, abusive teenagers in a huge jeep who threatened David, an insulting, demoralizing, critical boss who put down everyone who worked with him. He includes with the story of a Lutheran minister,  Dietrich Bonhoeffer, who was imprisoned and mistreated by the Nazis during world war two.

This is a controversial topic that David included in the podcasts somewhat reluctantly, so give a listen and tell us what you think! Right now the world seems to be spiraling into greater and greater hostilities. Does David have a point? Or is he way off base?

025: Ask David — How do you handle a patient you don’t like (or who bores you)?

In this Podcast, David answers two intriguing questions posed by listeners, and one question posed by his host and colleague Dr. Fabrice Nye.

  1. How do you deal with a patient (or friend) who is boring? David describes a technique he learned from a mentor, Dr. Myles Weber, during his second year of psychiatric residency at Highland Hospital in Oakland. The technique works instantly 100% of the time, and is guaranteed to make any boring interaction with any patient instantly exciting! David and Fabrice emphasize that the same technique can be used with a friend, colleague, or loved one who seems boring, including someone you are dating and can’t seem to connect with at anything other than a superficial level.David also describes powerful, shocking and illuminating experiences he had when attending psychodrama marathons sponsored by the Human Institute in Palo Alto during his medical school years, and what he learned about the differences between the off-putting “outer” selves we display to others and the more genuine “inner” selves we often try to hide.
  2. How do you deal with a patient (or friend) you don’t like? David describes a method he always used with patients he didn’t like, including one who he found intensely offensive—even disgusting. He explains that the patients he disliked the most almost always became the ones he liked the most, and ended up feeling the closest to, once he used this radical technique. The technique can also be effective with friends or colleagues you’re at odds with.Fabrice reminds us that the approaches David describes in this podcast involve several of the Five Secrets of Effective Communication discussed in previous podcasts. He warns us that they require considerable training, skill and practice, and are likely to backfire if done crudely.
  3. How do you get patients to do their psychotherapy homework? Every therapist who assigns psychotherapy homework is keenly aware that many patients, perhaps most, “forget” or simply refuse to do the homework. And these are the patients who don’t improve much, if at all. Dr. Burns explains how he tried dozens of techniques that didn’t work early in his career, and finally discovered an approach that was almost always effective.

021: Ask David — Shameful Sexual Fantasies

In this podcast, David and Fabrice discuss a question posed by a listener with Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder who is plagued with intrusive and shameful sexual fantasies. David discusses his treatment strategies for a young man from Argentina who was struggling with forbidden fantasies of Jesus having sex with the Virgin Mary in all positions of the Kama Sutra, but the harder he tried to control them, the more intense and tantalizing they became. Being a good Catholic lad, he was terrified and tearful he would burn in hell if he didn’t overcome this problem.

If you’ve ever struggled with shameful sexual fantasies, you might be intrigued by this fascinating discussion of Cognitive Flooding, therapeutic resistance, and the Hidden Emotion Technique!

019: Ask David — The Defiant Child: A Secret All Parents Should Know

In this short podcast, David and Fabrice address a question submitted by a listener who benefitted from his book, Feeling Good Together. She wants to know whether the same EAR techniques described in that book could help her deal more effectively with a defiant, oppositional child. Dr. Burns reveals a fantastically helpful secret that he and his wife stumbled across in raising their own children. If you have ever struggled in your attempts to deal with an oppositional child or adolescent, you will find this podcast enlightening!

018: Ask David — Overcoming the Fear of Death

In this short podcast, David and Fabrice address this question submitted by a listener:

Dear Dr. Burns,

I read Feeling Good twenty years ago. It was a wonderful relief and help to me. Your book has helped me live a better and balanced life. The best part was passing the knowledge on to my daughter. I thought I read a wonderful description of how to handle death anxiety in the book. I was describing it to a friend, but could’ find it in the book.

Is it in another book?

Your reply would be considered an act of generosity.

Thank you! Mary

Existential Therapists believe that the fear of death is universal and is at the root of most emotional problems. Dr. Burns argues that the fear of death is actually quite rare, but does occasionally occur and is extremely treatable. In this podcast, David’s describes his quick, three-part “cure” for the fear of death.

Oddly, every patient he treated in this way insisted at the end of the session that it didn’t help. And even stranger is the fact that 100% of them returned the next week and announced that they actually had been cured and were, in fact, no longer afraid of death!

Taken a listen and see what you think!

017: Ask David — Dare to be “average”—The perfectionist’s script for self-defeat

In this podcast, David answers a challenging question posed by a listener:

Dear Dr. David:

In your Feeling Good Handbook, you suggest that the reader just allows himself or herself to be an ordinary person instead of trying to be perfect. Contrary to your opinion in the book, you’re an outstanding therapist in reality. You’ve studied in one of the world’s top colleges, you’re well-educated with a doctor degree, and successful in your career and life. How can I believe your claim? I’m quite confused!

Sincerely, XXX

David first distinguishes perfectionism from the healthy pursuit of excellence, and then describes a painful incident when he was a Stanford medical student. One afternoon, he attended an afternoon Gestalt encounter group at the home of a friend and mentor in Palo Alto. During the group he was ripped to shreds by the other participants. At the end of the group, the other participants seemed elated, but he felt intensely humiliated, ashamed, and discouraged. This led to an unexpected interaction with his mentor that helped to change his life.

David also discusses his clinical work years later with a depressed and anxious professional who had never experienced even one minute of happiness in spite of a life of fabulous success and achievements.

At the end, David and Fabrice promise a future podcast on this topic: “Self-Esteem: What is it? How do I get it? How can I get rid of it once I’ve got it?”

016: Ask David — How can I cope with a complainer? How can I help a loved one who is depressed?

In this episode, David and Fabrice bring the Five Secrets of Effective Communication to life, based on a question submitted by two listeners: How can you help a depressed friend or family member? You may be surprised to discover that the attempt to “help” is rarely effective, and may even make the problem worse. In contrast, the refusal to help is nearly always helpful. But to understand that paradox, you’ll have to give a listen to this fascinating edition of “Ask David!”

David and Fabrice also address a related problem nearly all of us confront from time to time: How do you deal with a friend who is a relentless whiner and complainer? When you try to help them or suggest a solution to the problem, they just say, “That won’t work” and keep complaining. You end up feeling frustrated and annoyed, because the other person just won’t listen! David and Fabrice illustrate a shockingly easy and incredibly effective solution to this problem.

Finally, David discusses some disturbing recent research indicating that the ability of therapists—as well as friends or family members—to know how suicidal someone is, is extremely poor. David and Fabrice explain how to assess how suicidal someone actually is, and what to do if you discover that he or she really is at risk of a suicide attempt.