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

Solution to David’s Tuesday Tip #9*

Solution to David’s Tuesday Tip #9*

This was yesterday’s paradoxical tip of the day–

Once you develop unconditional self-esteem, try to get rid of it as soon as possible!

Here’s the scoop on self-esteem–there is no such thing! It’s just a buzz word, a marketing word. But still, lots of people complain of “low self-esteem” and they want–and deserve help. In fact, it says so right on the cover of my book, Feeling Good: “Feeling good feels wonderful. You owe it to yourself to FEEL GOOD!”

But if you’re depressed and feeling worthless, how do you do this? First, let’s see what people mean when they say they need better “self-esteem.”

When people say they have low self-esteem, what they really mean is that they are feeling depressed and criticizing themselves with a lot with distorted Negative Thoughts containing “Should Statements,” “All-or-Nothing Thinking,” “Self-Blame,” and other cognitive distortions. For example, you may tell yourself, “I’m a failure,” “I’m unlovable,” “I should be better than I am, ” or “I’m not good enough.” These kinds of thoughts trigger feelings of inferiority, hopelessness, and shame, as well as depression, anxiety, defectiveness, and loneliness.

In my books, such as Feeling Good, or in my Feeling Good Handbook, I describe many powerful techniques that can help you (or your patients) combat and crush these kinds of negative thoughts. In my new book, Feeling Great, I will include many additional techniques that are also mind-boggling, techniques that can trigger rapid recovery.

However, the goal is not to become an especially “worthwhile” or “superior” human being, but rather to accept yourself as a flawed human being in the spirit of joy, peace, humor, gratitude and even jubilation. Life can be pretty fantastic when you’re not putting yourself down all the time. In fact, when you suddenly “wake up” from the trance of depression and anxiety, you may discover that you’re so busy having fun and enjoying life and other people that you don’t want to waste any time worrying about or pursuing “self-esteem.”

I lost my self-esteem years ago jogging home from the train station in Bryn Mawr, Pennsylvania after work. It was a tremendous relief to finally get rid of it. It seemed to kind of fall off, and instead of stopping to look for it, I started jogging faster. After a few more steps my “self” fell off as well, and that was even better! I think my self-esteem and “self” may both still be on the side of the road somewhere between the train station and the house where my family and I used to live in Gladwyne, Pa.

Well, this may not make sense, so I’ll stop babbling, but all will be explained in my new book. What it boils down to is something I learned from my late cat and beloved friend, Obie. Obie was not special, he was just an ordinary feral cat we adopted, and I was not special, either–but when Obie and I hung out together, the heavens opened up. I learned that when you no longer need to be “special,” life becomes special.

Obie 1

I just returned from four days of teaching in Canada, and I’m a bit tired. So I think I’ll stop writing and just hang out with our new little kitty, Miss Misty, who was gifted to us by a kind neighbor when we lost our dear Obie in the middle of the night about a year ago. I am still grieving his loss.

I plan to stroke Miss Misty’s belly while she likes on her back in a few minutes. She loves that, and purrs loudly, and it gives me tremendous joy, too! Miss Misty also has no”self” or “self-esteem,” but wanted me to tell you she’s about as happy as happy can be without them!

Here’s the best photo I have of her right now, but I’ll try to get a more glamorous photo for you, as she is very very pretty, with colorful deep eyes and gorgeous silky black fur. I make up love songs and sing to her all the time. She smiles and blinks her eyes while I sing, even though my singing voice is fairly terrible, and I just make up the words while I’m singing.

IMG_1025

Thanks!

David

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

Hey, I have a really great, all-new workshop coming on Friday of this week, right here in California. You still have time to register if you move fast.

A Day of Intimacy Training!

HOW TO DEVELOP STRONGER, DEEPER RELATIONSHIPS WITH CLIENTS, COLLEAGUES, AND LOVED ONES

Friday, June 15th, 2018 in Mt. View, California

9:00 AM – 4:00 PM
Michael’s at Shoreline
2960 N. Shoreline Blvd.
Mountain View, CA 94043

Sponsored by the Santa Clara Valley Chapter of CAMFT
(California Association of Marriage and Family Therapists)

In this exciting workshop, you’ll learn how to develop more meaningful and rewarding relationships with your clients as well as the people you care about the most, and you’ll get plenty of helpful feedback while you learn. I’ll be joined by the brilliant and totally wonderful Kyle Jones, a 3rd year PhD student at Palo Alto University. Although I’ll be doing the main teaching, Kyle will help me provide helpful feedback to all of you during the small group exercises.

In the morning, we’ll focus on dealing with challenging, difficult clients, and in the afternoon we will take on a far greater challenge: how to deal with challenging, difficult loved ones!

All of that plus:

  • Free breakfast
  • Free lunch
  • 6 CE credits
  • Lots of fun while learning!

Click here for registration and further details

* * *

Coming in August!

David’s TEAM-CBT Summer Intensive

August 6 – 9, 2018, South San Francisco Conference Center, California

For more information, click here, or call IAHB.org at 800-258-8411

Here are just a few of the really cool things about this intensive:

  • You will have the chance to practice techniques in small groups after I demonstrate each technique with a live demonstration in the front of the room.
  • You will get immediate feedback and personal grooming from me and from many of my colleagues from my weekly TEAM-CBT training group at Stanford. They’ll be there to help you, and I’ll be there to help you, too!
  • There will be a live demonstration on the evening of day 1. The amazing Dr. Jill Levitt will be my co-therapist. Last year’s live demonstration, and in fact all of them in recent years, have been jaw-dropping and incredibly inspirational!
  • You’ll get a chance to practice TEAM-CBT in real time the evening of day 3. This will be an incredibly challenging but rewarding “solo flight.”
  • You will be able to do your own personal work on the last day of the workshop using the Externalization of Voices and Acceptance Paradox. In previous workshops, at least 60% of the participants indicated they experienced jubilant enlightenment during this exercise. Their fears and insecurities suddenly vanished!
  • You’ll learn how to do Relapse Prevention Training (RPT).
  • You’ll learn how to improve your empathy skills.
  • You’ll learn tons of powerful cognitive, behavioral, and motivational treatment techniques for depression and all of the anxiety disorders.
  • You will have the abundant opportunities to schmooze with colleagues, network, and have fun.
  • You will have two fabulous free luncheon banquets featuring talks by Sunny Choi, LCSW, who is using TEAM-CBT successfully with an underserved population in primary care with limited resources and language skills (“I must apologize for my success.”), and the wonderful Vandana Aspen, PhD, who will speak on “New Treatment Strategies for Eating Disorders.”)
  • And much more.

If you can only attend one of my workshops this year, the South San Francisco August intensive is the one to attend!