161: Listening to a Different Kind of Music

161: Listening to a Different Kind of Music

Hearing the Music Behind the Words

This podcast again features the music of two beloved colleagues we introduced last week, Brandon Vance, MD and Heather Clague MD. We will be listening to music again this week, but it will be, for the most part, a different kind of music—it’s the music behind the words when someone criticizes you. We will be focusing on the most challenging and important of the Five Secrets of Effective Communication, the Disarming Technique. This week, Brandon and Heather will help Rhonda and David illustrate how to use this technique when you’re under the fire of criticism. But in addition, Brandon and Heather will also sing one more of their extremely beautiful and fun songs, appropriately entitled, “The Five Secrets!”

When you use the Disarming Technique, you find the truth in a criticism, even if the criticism seems untrue, unfair, or exaggerated. This technique is based on the Law of Opposites. The essence of the Law of Opposites is that if you genuinely and immediately agree with the criticism that seems untrue, you will put the lie to it, and the critic will stop believing the criticism. This is a remarkable phenomenon that can be enormously helpful in conflicts with patients (if you’re a therapist) as well as friends, colleagues, and loved ones. However, it is challenging, because you have to be able to really listen and “hear” the music behind the other person’s words.

If you use the Disarming Technique, or any of the Five Secrets, in a mechanical way, it will backfire. And I (David) have noticed that even trained mental health professionals can have a tremendous difficulties learning to use the Disarming Technique.

Here’s an example of POOR technique. Although this is a therapy example, it is equally valid for conflicts between friends and loved ones.

Let’s say that you’re a therapist, and your patient confronts you by saying, “This is the second week in a row that you’ve been late for my session.”  

I’ve seen therapists respond like this: “You’re right. I have had emergencies which made me late for your sessions last week and today.” 

Is this a good example of the Disarming Technique?

NO! Can you see why?

It’s because this therapist is agreeing with the criticism in a literal way, and not hearing the “music” behind the words. What is this patient really saying? He’s probably saying that he feels a lack of caring from his therapist, and this may be one of his core conflicts,  thinking that the people he cares about never care about him. So the therapist’s “mechanical” answer misses the boat.

Here’s an improved response that addresses what the patient really said. After each sentence, I’ll put the name(s) of the technique(s) I used in the sentence.

“Jim, it’s painful to hear you say that, because you’re right. (“I Feel” Statement; Disarming Technique) I was late and I let you down, and I feel embarrassed. (Disarming; “I Feel” Statement.) I wouldn’t be surprised if you’re feeling hurt and  annoyed, and maybe even a bit angry with me, and for good reason. (Feeling Empathy) This is particularly uncomfortable, because you’ve told me that everyone you care about seems to let you down. (“I Feel” Statement; Thought and Feeling Empathy) I care about you and have tremendous respect for you.  (Stroking) Although I was delayed by emergencies last week and this week, the fact is, you had to wait. (Disarming) I will try to correct the problem of getting emergency calls when I’m in the clinic, which definitely is irritating and unfair to you, and I’ll gladly offer a free session to compensate the fact that you had to wait. (Disarming Technique, Feeling Empathy) I want to know more about how you’ve been feeling, and if there have been other times when I’ve let you down or perhaps said things that seemed uncaring? (Inquiry)”

Can you see that this response addresses the music, or feeling, or message behind the words, and not just the words?

And can you see the Law of Opposites in action? When this therapist agrees that he has let the patient down, and shows some humility, the patient will probably suddenly feel very cared about.

In today’s podcast, Brandon, Heather, Rhonda and David play a kind of Disarming Round Robin, taking turns responding to unexpected criticisms, using the Disarming Technique as well as any other communication techniques that may be needed. For example, one of the therapists is attacked by a patient who is a person of color who calls him “one of the rich white privileged people.” 

You will also hear the immediate grading of each response–was it an A, a B, a C, or a D–along with what worked and what didn’t work, followed in some cases by a second try. If you want to learn the Five Secrets, and especially the Disarming Technique, this type of practice will be a must! You can practice with a colleague, or with a friend. But be prepared to check your ego at the door so you can learn from failure, because it will be very challenging for you at first!

A neighbor who was helping with the recording, Dave Fribush, said that he really liked the podcast, but was disappointed it was so short–he wanted to hear more examples. So Rhonda and I recorded a  brief supplement two days later, which we will edit in. 

Here are the additional criticisms we practiced:

  1. Angry friend who feels jealous / betrayed and says: You were hitting on my girlfriend last night!
  2. Irate mother, who feels neglected / used, and says: Forget it! I’ll just do it myself!
  3. Hurt colleague, who says: You didn’t support me during the meeting!
  4. Indignant patient, who tells her therapist: You just called me Jane, but my name is Lisa!

If you are serious about learning the Disarming Technique, as well as the other Secrets of Effective Communication, I would strongly urge you to study this list of Common Five Secrets Errors in addition to practicing with a friend. I know I’m asking a lot from you, but we are giving you, or hoping to give you, something precious! 

And here are the words to today’s featured TEAM-CBT song! 

She Used the Five Secrets

Lyrics by Heather Clague
to the tune of Blue Velvet by Bernie Wayne and Lee Morris.

She used the Five… Secrets

Madder than angry, oh was I

Pissed and unhappy, I could cry

At the start

She used the Five Secrets

She spoke my words to ‘ empathize

She ‘ guessed my feelings, oh she tried 

From the heart

How could I stay harmed

When she so skillfully disarmed

How could I want to fight

When she asked, did I get it right with

With my Five Secrets

she told me plainly how she felt

Her stroking made my whole heart melt

Into tears

And I can still hear her Five Secrets

In my ears

The Five secrets

Now I have learned to use them too

To give up blame and follow through

And face my fears

And I practice my Five Secrets

With my dears

I love the Five Secrets!

Conflict fuels intimacy

Not about me but about we

It’s more sincere!

So with the five secrets

Let love appear! 

More about Brandon and Heather

Brandon Vance, MD and Heather Clague, MD are both psychiatrists and certified TEAM-CBT therapists. They practice in Oakland, California.

In addition to her brilliant work as a TEAM-CBT psychiatrist and teacher, Heather is a singer and improviser who collaborated in the creation of lyrics for some of Brandon’s songs. She is a member of the performance group, The Berkeley Players, and is the director of Berkeley Improv, a Bay Area school of improv that offers improv acting classes for adults and youth. Heather says, “Improv is a lot like TEAM CBT – full of laughter and enlightenment.  The best moments tend to happen when we throw shame to the wind and let magic arise from the ordinary and let our ‘mistakes’ become gifts.”

In addition to his brilliant work as a TEAM-CBT psychiatrist and teacher, Brandon has a musical group that is connected with the Justice Arts Collective at Chabot College in Hayward California. In that group, he works with students to create musical pieces with social justice themes, often in the style of hip hop with Latin beats. Most, if not all of the students have experienced personal trauma and social inequity. Through music, they can share their truths, their hearts and their wealth of experiences with each other and the community, while at the same time working for social change. 

Brandon explains that “we form deep connections with each other, and it’s become something of a family . A couple of years ago, we made a music video for our song, ‘From Mt. Tamalpais to Fruitvale Station,’ and actually won first place in the My Hero International Film Festival and in the World Independent Film Festival, as well as awards in many other film festivals.  Check it out! We’re now working on a new video about immigration with our song, ‘Bring Down the Wall.'”

Brandon has also worked with Amy Specter in the creation of a company called Gameful Mind. He explains that “we wanted playful ways to support adults and kids in developing skills to be and stay emotionally well. So, we made the game TuneIN TuneUP, as well as some other games and playful shirts and such.”

David and Rhonda

Subscribe

You can reach Dr. Burns at david@feelinggood.com. Dr. Rhonda Barovsky practices in Walnut Creek, California, and can be reached at rbarovsky@aol.com. She is a Certified TEAM-CBT therapist and specializes in the treatment of trauma, anxiety, depression, and relationship problems. She also does forensic work in family court, but finds TEAM-CBT to be way more rewarding!

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

 

* * *

You may have missed the summer intensives, but there will be one more awesome intensive in November.

High-Speed Treatment of Depression
and Anxiety Disorders

A Four-Day TEAM-CBT Advanced Intensive

November 4 – 7, 2019
The Atlanta, Georgia Intensive

Sponsored by Praxis

 

* * * 

Coming up in 2020

High Speed Methods to Reduce Resistance
and Boost Motivation

With Drs. David Burns and Jill Levitt

Feb 9. 2020 |  7 CE hours. $135

Learn More & Register

and

 The Cognitive Distortion Starter Kit:
How to Crush Negative Thoughts

With Drs. David Burns and Jill Levitt

May 17, 2020 | 7 CE hours. $135

Learn More & Register

 

160: Listening to the Music of TEAM

160: Listening to the Music of TEAM

Introducing Brandon Vance, MD 

& Heather Clague, MD

 This podcast features the music of two beloved colleagues, Brandon Vance, MD and Heather Clague MD. Brandon and Heather are both certified TEAM-CBT psychiatrists practicing in Oakland, California. Brandon is a brilliant multi-instrumentalist and singer / song writer / performer who has transformed his vision of TEAM-CBT into music! Heather is brilliant and fun improv acting teacher and performer who is quick in her mind and on her feet! Brandon and Heather have performed at David’s annual South San Francisco psychotherapy intensive for the past several years, and we are delighted to bring them to you up close and personal today!

In today’s podcast, they’ll bring you their songs and amazing personal stories. And what is super cool is that you can follow the words for the music right here in the show notes.

Song #1

 Heather and Brandon begin with music about a familiar but painful theme for nearly all of us—the feeling of failure, and the belief that we are somehow defective or just “not good enough.” Brandon and Heather are extremely talented and successful individuals, but they are not immune from suffering. During the podcast, they describe their own painful personal experiences with depression, anxiety, shame, and defectiveness.

Most therapists, including David, were trained in the psychoanalytic tradition and told that we should NEVER disclose or reveal our own personal feelings or experiences to patients. But we believe that some personal disclosure can be very healing for patients if done with skill and compassion. Most patients want to hear this type of message from a therapist:

“I’ve been there myself, and know how much pain you’re in. And I can show you the way out of the woods, so you can experience feelings of joy and self-esteem again. And what a joy that’s going to be!”

So, with no further ado, Brandon and Heather perform their first song:

The Feel of Failure

Lyrics by Heather Clague and Brandon Vance
to the tune of “The Sound of Silence” by Paul Simon

Hello failure my old friend

I’ve come to talk with you again

Because my ego softly creeping

Infects my thoughts while I am preaching

And that vision that was planted in my brain

Still remains; becomes the Feel of Failure

 

Fool, said I, you are so lame

Done something wrong to feel this shame

Perfect is the way that you should be

Self-blame coming like a tsunami

Negative thoughts one hundred – percent on my DML

I was in hell

Suffered the Feel of Failure

 

My self-esteem had turned to shit

I needed the magic button hit

Something told me my feelings weren’t lame

Began to do a positive reframe

Maybe my feelings say something about me that is pretty fly

I set the bar high

So I have a Feel of Failure

 

I saw that I was not alone

Dared go beyond my comfort zone

I took pride in my humility

Welcomed my faults as my humanity

And in a moment of enlightenment I cried and then I laughed

I’d finally grasped

The wisdom… of the Feel… of Failure

Song #2

 The next song is on social anxiety. Brandon explains:

“I wanted to introduce this song I wrote with Amy Specter who was on your podcast on August 5th #152 a month or so ago. It’s called, “Negative Thoughts Shut your Piehole Tonight.” And it’s about social anxiety and the idea that when you’re upset, it’s not the event or the other person who’s “making you” feel upset, it’s your own negative thoughts.

“Where it gets personal for me is that I was bullied in elementary school by a group of my former friends who made up a story that I was gay – as if that’s a bad thing – and then yelled things, tried to get in fights with me, etc., for really the majority of the school year. And I got really down and felt ashamed, and didn’t tell my parents or anyone else about it because of that. But what they did, didn’t make me down – it was my negative thoughts. I wasn’t actually gay, but what was important was that I told myself that I was defective, and people didn’t want to be around me.

“The person who I thought was the ringleader was a blonde blue-eyed (as if those are good things) smart, handsome guy who had great social skills and apparent confidence – both seemingly more than I had. In my mind I made him into an evil person just interested in popularity. But he had many good qualities (and was a friend of mine before this). Seeing his good qualities reminds me of the concept of the disarm.

“In this song, the singer is anxious about going to a party. She feels envious of Anna, a woman who’s thin (as if that’s a good thing) and gets a lot of attention – both because of our culture’s preoccupation with women being thin and also because she has great social skills. So, she feels bad about herself.

“But then realizes it’s just her negative thoughts and also sees that her negative thoughts and feelings helpful to her, and represent good things about her. Then she works successfully on changing the way she thinks and feels.”

 Negative Thoughts, Shut Your Piehole Tonight!

 by Amy Specter and Brandon Vance

Tiny Anna, you’ve been getting me down. But I know it’s not you; it’s the negative thoughts doing their doo-doo. And those negative thoughts I can leave behind. That’s right, you can walk right out of my mind. You can shut your pie-hole, though you’ve given me a lot during my days. But, I don’t need you now; you can get up and walk right out of that door – and shut your pie hole on the way!

 

You’ve been talking since the dawn’s early light

you’re an expert, attention getter, you’re quite the sight!

Anna please teach me

to talk at a party like the talkin’ on the tv screen

Now I’m gonna say something and it may not be polite!

Cause I’ve realized that I’ve got some work to do

But this time I’m not going to shut down and stew.

My negative thoughts are bothering me

much more than Anna Lee

so negative thoughts, shut your pie holes tonight.

Negative thoughts you’ve served me well and

kept me from being in social situation hell

Rejection comfortably kept at bay

I don’t have to put myself out there

I can keep myself at home without judgments to fear

they can let me off the hook

No effort to change, to learn new things or swim in another lane

Negative thoughts you’ve kept me safe

But I’m going to try my mind on a different train

Maybe I don’t need negative thoughts and their kind

to tell me if I can have a good time

I can be myself and go at my own pace

Even with these tiny negative thoughts flapping their tiny lips in my face

Negative thoughts said there’s no room in this world for my kind

well that’s just bullshit created by my negative mind

I laugh about awkward autocorrects, Weird-Al and farting

So why not enjoy, the people, at the party?

So negative thoughts shut your pieholes tonight!

Negative thoughts you’ve served me well

Negative thoughts – farewell!

Negative thoughts shut your pie hole tonight

Tiny Anna will surely get some attention

That may be true

And that doesn’t mean I won’t get affection

But even if I don’t have things to say,

I’ll learn to chit chat the Anna way.

So Negative thoughts shut your pieholes tonight,

Negative thoughts shut your pieholes tonight.

That’s right, negative thoughts shut your pieholes tonight! 

Cause I wanna have some FUN!!!

Song #3

 The last song by Brandon and Heather focuses on the “A” of TEAM therapy, formerly called A = Paradoxical Agenda Setting, and now given the simpler name of A = Assessment of Resistance. We address the patient’s resistance in this very crucial and paradoxical part of TEAM-CBT. When we address resistance up front by arguing for the status quo, the patient paradoxically argues for change, and therapy becomes much easier. After that point, it’s No Resistance No Cry.

NO RESISTANCE NO CRY

 Lyrics by Amy Specter and Brandon Vance
to the tune of “No Woman No Cry.” by Bob Marley.

No resistance no cry

No resistance no cry

No resistance no cry

No resistance no cry

Next week, Brandon and Heather will return for a second podcast on listening to a very different kind of “music,” the meaning behind the words when people are critical of you. We will discuss and illustrate, once again, the incredibly important Disarming Technique, which is arguably the most important of the Five Secrets of Effective Communication.

More about Brandon and Heather

In addition to her brilliant work as a TEAM-CBT psychiatrist and teacher, Heather Clague is a singer and improviser who collaborated in the creation of lyrics for some of Brandon’s songs. She is a member of the performance group, The Berkeley Players, and is the director of Berkeley Improv, a Bay Area school of improv that offers improv acting classes for adults and youth. Heather says, “Improv is a lot like TEAM CBT – full of laughter and enlightenment. The best moments tend to happen when we throw shame to the wind and let magic arise from the ordinary and let our ‘mistakes’ become gifts.”

Dr. Brandon Vance has a musical group that is connected with the Justice Arts Collective at Chabot College in Hayward California. In that group, he works with students to create musical pieces with social justice themes, often in the style of hip hop with Latin beats. Most, if not all of the students have experienced personal trauma and social inequity. Through music, they can share their truths, their hearts and their wealth of experiences with each other and the community, while at the same time working for social change. 

Brandon explains that “we form deep connections with each other, and it’s become something of a family . A couple of years ago, we made a music video for our song, ‘From Mt. Tamalpais to Fruitvale Station,’ and actually won first place in the My Hero International Film Festival and in the World Independent Film Festival, as well as awards in many other film festivals.  Check it out! We’re now working on a new video about immigration with our song, ‘Bring Down the Wall.'”

Dr. Vance has also worked with Amy Specter in the creation of a company called Gameful Mind. He explains that “we wanted playful ways to support adults and kids in developing skills to be and stay emotionally well. So, we made the game TuneIN TuneUP, as well as some other games and playful shirts and such.”

David and Rhonda

Subscribe

You can reach Dr. Burns at david@feelinggood.com. Dr. Rhonda Barovsky practices in Walnut Creek, California, and can be reached at rbarovsky@aol.com. She is a Certified TEAM-CBT therapist and specializes in the treatment of trauma, anxiety, depression, and relationship problems. She also does forensic work in family court, but finds TEAM-CBT to be way more rewarding!

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

* * *

HEY! THERE’S A TREMENDOUS WORKSHOP THIS SUNDAY, OCTOBER 6, 2019!

ACT FAST IF YOU WANT TO ATTEND!

THIS IS ONE WORKSHOP YOU DON’T WANT TO MISS!

My awesome colleague, Dr. Jill Levitt, and I are offering you a life- and career-changing (really!) relationship workshop in just a few days. You will learn powerful skills that will boost your clinical effectiveness and deepen your relationships with friends, colleagues, and loved ones.

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

With Drs. David Burns and Jill Levitt

Oct 6, 2019 | 7 CE hours, $135

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

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

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

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

You’ll also learn–

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

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

Attend in person or
from your home via Live Streaming

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

My one-day workshops with Dr. Levitt are the BEST! 
It’s always an honor to teach with Jill!

Learn More & Register

 

* * *

You may have missed the summer intensives, but there will be one more awesome intensive in November.

High-Speed Treatment of Depression
and Anxiety Disorders

A Four-Day TEAM-CBT Advanced Intensive

November 4 – 7, 2019
The Atlanta, Georgia Intensive

Sponsored by Praxis

 

* * * 

Coming up in 2020

High Speed Methods to Reduce Resistance
and Boost Motivation

With Drs. David Burns and Jill Levitt

Feb 9. 2020 |  7 CE hours. $135

Learn More & Register

and

 The Cognitive Distortion Starter Kit:
How to Crush Negative Thoughts

With Drs. David Burns and Jill Levitt

May 17, 2020 | 7 CE hours. $135

Learn More & Register

 

159: Live Therapy with Marilyn: “What if I die without having lived a meaningful life?”

159: Live Therapy with Marilyn: “What if I die without having lived a meaningful life?”

The Secret of a Meaningful Life

One of my favorite podcasts of all time, and one of the most frequently downloaded, was the live session with Daisy (podcast #79): “What’s the Secret of a Meaningful Life?” You may recall that Daisy and her husband, Zane, were looking forward with dread to the possibility of childlessness, since their efforts at pregnancy had so far failed, and Daisy was asking if she could possibly have a joyful and meaningful life without children.

In today’s podcast we return to the same type of question from the other end of the spectrum. When we age and look back on our lives, and realize that our days are numbered, we may once again, “Have I lived a meaningful life?”

Do you know how to answer this question? What, in your opinion, is the secret of a meaningful life?

If the answer to this question is important to you, you might enjoy today’s podcast, which features, once again, two beloved friends and colleagues, Dr. Marilyn Coffee and Dr. Matthew May.

Matt and I first treated Marilyn for intense depression, anxiety, and anger two years ago at the time of her unexpected and shocking diagnosis of Stage 4 non-smoker’s lung cancer. Marilyn was incredibly depressed and panicky, as you might imagine. If you are interested, you can listen to our initial treatment of Marilyn in podcast #49, “The Dark Night of the Soul.”

One of Marilyn’s concerns at that time was that she had lost her faith in God and had begun to doubt the existence of an after-life. She was intensely self-critical and ashamed, and was also extremely angry because she began doubting her spiritual teachers and thinking of them as frauds.

These doubts were all the more troubling to Marilyn, since she’d been a devout Catholic for her entire life. In fact, she  even has a Master’s Degree in theology, along with several additional Master’s Degrees plus a PhD in clinical psychology! But now she was terrified by the prospect of her own death.

During that initial treatment session, Marilyn overcome her fears, depression, and doubts, and ended up in a state of joy, and even laughter. This rapid transformation confirmed the basis of cognitive therapy, that our emotional pain results from our thoughts, and not from what is actually happening to us. And the thoughts that cause depression and anxiety will be distorted and cruel–I’ve often said that depression and anxiety are the world’s oldest cons.

Following that session, we were flooded with emails praising Marilyn. Oddly enough, many people said she was their spiritual hero. They said they were stunned and grateful her raw courage, testimony, and honesty.

Now, it’s two years later. Sadly, Marilyn has just learned from her doctors that she’s had numerous metastases, and that her lung cancer has spread to the opposite lung, as well as to her bones, brain, liver, and lymph nodes. Marilyn is understandably paralyzed once again by overwhelming feelings of depression, anxiety, shame, hopelessness, and anger.

Today’s podcast is based on our most recent session with Marilyn about two weeks ago. I have to warn you that the session may be sobering, and even a bit terrifying, but hopefully you will find it to be inspirational and helpful, because sooner or later, we’ll all have to share the prospect of facing our own inevitable death, and asking ourselves, “Have I had a meaningful life?”

We scheduled this follow-up live therapy podcast for three reasons. First, we hoped to provide Marilyn with some relief from the devastating depression that had returned when she learned of her metastases. Second, we wanted to give you, and all of Marilyn’s many fans, an update on what’s happened in the past two years. And third, Marilyn wanted the chance to tell you about some of the positives in her life, since she so often mentions her failures, such as her bouts with alcoholism, and the fact that she never found a loving partner.

Every TEAM session begins with T = Testing. Marilyn had filled out the Brief Mood Survey just before the session began. The scores indicated that Marilyn was struggling with extraordinarily severe depression, anxiety, and anger, and her positive feelings were totally absent as well.

Marilyn brought a partially completed Daily Mood Log to the session. If you take a look, you’ll see all of her intensely Negative Thoughts and devastating feelings about the spread of her cancer. 

During the E = Empathy phase, Matt, Rhonda and I gave Marilyn the space she needed to vent and describe her despair and feelings of terror. We did not try to help or cheer her up. Marilyn cried as she described her fear of dying alone, and vividly recalled a friend who died a horrible death from lung cancer 20 years ago. Marilyn says he could barely breathe, and fears a similar horrific fate.

Marilyn cries, and confesses that she has not been able to cry up until now. She says she suddenly felt a spiritual presence being around Matt, Rhonda, and David.

During the Empathy phase, Matt made many tender comments to Marilyn, shared his own profound sadness, and told Marilyn that joining us today is a gift to him, and to all of us.

Matt and I asked Marilyn how we were doing in Empathy, in terms of understanding how she was thinking and feeling, and whether we were providing warmth, acceptance and support. She gave us high grades. When you listen, please notice that we didn’t do anything to try to help Marilyn, or to try to cheer her up. You can hear Matt simply paraphrasing much of what Marilyn had been saying, acknowledging her feelings, and sharing his own feelings of sadness and warmth toward Marilyn.

After about 25 minutes of empathy, we moved on to the next phase of the session called A = Assessment of Resistance (formerly called Paradoxical Agenda Setting.) We started by asking Marilyn if she wanted any help with the problems she’d been describing, or if she needed more time to talk while we listened and provided support. 

She said that she did want help. Since her remaining time was potentially short, she said she didn’t want to spend it in the misery of overwhelming depression, anxiety, worthlessness, shame, loneliness, hopelessness, and rage.

Then I asked the Magic Button question—If we had a Magic Dial, and all of her negative thoughts and feelings would instantly disappear, with no effort at all, simply by pressing it, would she press the button?Magic Button, v 1

Marilyn immediately said that she WOULD press the button. Almost everybody says this. And it seems obvious. Why would anyone want to feel intense, relentless and overwhelming negative emotions?

Matt, Rhonda, and David debated about whether or not the A = Assessment of Resistance would be needed, since it seemed like Marilyn was suffering so much that she would OBVIOUSLY want help.

We decided to address the resistance, since whenever we’ve skipped it, we’ve usually regretted it.

So just to be safe, we decided to do some Positive Reframing, and asked these two questions about each of the nine categories of intense negative feelings on Marilyn’s Daily Mood Log, such as depression, anxiety, guilt, inferiority, loneliness, hopelessness, rage, and so forth.

  1. What does this negative feeling show about you and your core values that’s beautiful, positive and even awesome?
  2. What are some benefits of this negative feeling? How might it help you?

Surprisingly, Marilyn came up with a list of more than 20 positives with some help from Rhonda, Matt and me. You can take a look at her Positive Reframing List. This process seemed to have a profound calming effect on Marilyn, just as it does on most people.

I think one reason is that culture / society have trained all of us \to think about our negative feelings as defects, or “mental disorders,” like the many that are listed in the DSM5. Positive Reframing turns all of this upside down, and makes you proud of your negative feelings. Paradoxically, this make it possible for you to get rid of the feelings quickly.

We concluded with the Magic Dial, and asked Marilyn what she might want to dial her feelings down to, without getting rid of them completely, since they did have many benefits, and since they also reflected what was most beautiful about her.

Magic Dial, v 1

You can see the result of the Magic Dial on her Daily Mood Log, in the “% Goal” column of her table of negative emotions. For example, she wanted to dial her depression down to 10%, but thought that she’d want to keep the anxiety in the range of 20 – 25. But she said she’d be happy to dial the guilt and shame all the way to zero!

After the A = Assessment of Resistance, which seemed to lift her mood considerably, we went on to M = Methods. After easily identifying the distortions in her thoughts, like All-or-Nothing Thinking, Self-Blame, hidden Should Statements, and more, Marilyn was able to challenge and crush her Negative Thoughts pretty quickly using the Paradoxical Double Standard Technique as well as Externalization of Voices. Two strategies seemed important—the Self-Defense Paradigm and the Acceptance Paradox.

I emphasized the overlap between the Acceptance Paradox and Marilyn’s Catholic faith. It is the idea that you cannot, and not have to, earn your way to heaven through your good works. Christianity is based on the idea that we are not saved by our achievements or good work, but rather by the grace of God–which is simply the acceptance of our flawed nature. David emphasizes that these ideas are not exclusive to Christianity, but are woven into most if not all religions.

During this phase of the session, Marilyn reflected on some of the experiences that she’s proud of, things she would like you to know about, like her trip to Nicaragua to attend seminary at the Franciscan School of Theology. During that time, she worked with the oppressed indigenous people in relocation camps following the bombings, and joined the Witness for Peace group.  She describes this as “one of the most transformative and spiritual experiences of my life.”

Many of you are probably not familiar with Marilyn’s fairly extensive arrest record, which she is equally proud of! She explains:

“During the 80s and early 90s, I was arrested several times for political protests, primarily at the Federal Building in San Francisco.  For example, I participated in a major non-violent prayful march at Lawrence Livermore Laboratory.  Several of us were arrested and spent a month in jail (tents on the grounds of Santa Rita Jail.)”

Marilyn also wants to know that she was “a damn good therapist.” That’s something I can attest to, having presented with Marilyn on many occasions, including our empathy workshop at one of the prestigious Evolution of Psychotherapy conferences in Anaheim, California.

And still, all of her amazing accomplishments and contributions do not protect her, or any of us, from falling into a black hole of self-doubt and despair from time to time, and when Marilyn falls, the pain she inflicts on herself can be intense. You may notice that the Negative Thoughts on her Daily Mood Log today are very similar to the Negative Thoughts on her Daily Mood Log from two years earlier, during our first session with Marilyn. This confirms the concept of “fractal psychotherapy.” In other words, all of your suffering will be encapsulated in any one brief moment when you are upset. And when you suffer again in the future, it will be that same fractal–the same exact pattern of negative thoughts, distortions and feelings. This is really good news, because the methods that helped you recover initially will be helpful for you when you again fall into the black hole of depression.

The goal of TEAM-CBT is NOT eternal happiness–no human being is capable of that! Rather, the goal is to understand and master the tools that will be helpful for you.

One important teaching point is that Marilyn’s suffering, once again, does not result from her cancer, but rather from her self-critical thoughts, which are both cruel and distorted. She’s been telling herself that she is not religious enough, that she has lost her faith, and that her life has not been meaningful. Fortunately, these Negative Thoughts can easily be challenged and defeated, as you will hear on the podcast.

The entire basis of cognitive therapy is a spiritual idea, that “the truth shall make you free.” Although this is a core Christian teaching from the New Testament (John 8: 32), it is an idea that’s embedded in many religions, including Buddhism, and probably in every religion.

Toward the end of the session, Marilyn described inspiring moments when she feels the most spiritual and the most alive. It’s when she notices and profoundly appreciates the simple things in her life, like seeing a sliver of the moon in the evening when walking her dogs, watching a sunset on the beach at Santa Cruz, her first sip of latte in the morning or a bite of a delicious peach!

Marilyn also described the intense mourning she feels for people throughout the world who are in poverty or pain. She also grieves for animals who are suffering, and feels devastated by the destruction of our natural resources, such as the rain forests in Brazil.

You can see the final T = Testing . As you can see, she met or exceeded her goals for all of her negative feelings. You may be puzzled by the end of session rating for sadness and depression was “50%, but a GOOD 50%!”

Sometimes, feelings of sadness and grief, once the distortions have been eliminated, are are the experiences that can wake us up, and provide the profound sense of meaning we are craving in our lives. The highest human experience, perhaps, is the compassion we sometimes feel for ourselves and others who are suffering. In fact, this may be the true meaning of spirituality.

I call this feeling, “Sadness as Celebration,” and hope to write and talk more about it in a future podcast. 

At the end of the session, Marilyn said, “I feel light!” And gave us all big hugs.

Will it last? Matt wisely suggests some terrific Relapse Prevention Training that you will hear when you listen to the session. Of course, it will be up to Marilyn–and to all of us–to pick up these tools and use them when we again fall into a black hole. This is also an inherently spiritual idea, and is based on the idea that we have the freedom to chose light or darkness.

After the session, Marilyn emailed me and asked if I could include a few additional comments in the show notes. Here’s what she wrote:

Greetings David, my dearest friend,

Words cannot express my gratitude for you, Matt, & Rhonda – what special gifts you are.

I hope the podcast was ok. I am deeply embarrassed because I forgot to express my gratitude and surprise from all the e-mails we received – the compassion and support was/is overwhelming. I hope I can give back! I could never had done this, if I weren’t for you & Matt – and your amazing & compassionate skills.

I also forgot to mention that I probably will never get to New York or Ireland because of finances. I take one day at a time and try to be grateful for the small miracles.

I go to Stanford next Tuesday. I will definitely be in touch.

Thank you again.

I also forgot to mention this – which is VERY important is that I am going through this process sober – not avoiding with alcohol. I am going to more meetings & speaking up.

Thank you again. I cherish our friendship.

With deep gratitude and love. dear friend,

Marilyn

Thank you, Marilyn, for this incredible gift to all of us!

Matt, David, and Rhonda

Subscribe

You can reach Dr. Burns at david@feelinggood.com. Dr. Rhonda Barovsky practices in Walnut Creek, California, and can be reached at rbarovsky@aol.com. She is a Certified TEAM-CBT therapist and specializes in the treatment of trauma, anxiety, depression, and relationship problems. She also does forensic work in family court, but finds TEAM-CBT to be way more rewarding!

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

* * *

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

High-Speed Treatment of Depression
and Anxiety Disorders

A Four-Day TEAM-CBT Advanced Intensive

November 4 – 7, 2019
The Atlanta, Georgia Intensive

Sponsored by Praxis

* * *

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

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

With Drs. David Burns and Jill Levitt

Oct 6, 2019 | 7 CE hours, $135

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

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

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

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

You’ll also learn–

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

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

Attend in person or
from your home via Live Streaming

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

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

Learn More & Register

 

* * *

Coming up in 2020

High Speed Methods to Reduce Resistance
and Boost Motivation

With Drs. David Burns and Jill Levitt

Feb 9. 2020 |  7 CE hours. $135

Learn More & Register

 The Cognitive Distortion Starter Kit:
How to Crush Negative Thoughts

With Drs. David Burns and Jill Levitt

May 17, 2020 | 7 CE hours. $135

Learn More & Register

 

155: Treating Depression, Emotional Eating, and Self-Image Problems with TEAM-CBT

155: Treating Depression, Emotional Eating, and Self-Image Problems with TEAM-CBT

The Story of Lorraine and “Anna”

In today’s podcast, David and Rhonda interview Dr. Lorraine Wong, a board-certified clinical psychologist, and her patient, “Anna,” who sought treatment recently for depression, anxiety, and self-image / self-esteem issues. But first, David and Rhonda answer a question submitted by Estafonia, a “public image consultant,” who asks about the treatment of a woman who sees herself as “fat.”

Estafonia wrote:

“Hi Dr. Burns,

“I am learning TEAM, CBT and implementing your techniques to help my clients change or improve their self-perception. In most cases, your techniques have been very effective. I am very grateful to you and I will happily join your list of fans!

“My question is this—What would be the best method to change someone’s self-image? How can you help people change the idea that they are fat for example?

“I have a patient who can’t defeat the thought, ‘I am fat.’ We tried the method called Examine the Evidence,” and she has already found 20 people who see her as thin. So, the evidence clearly did not support her belief that she is fat. But this did not help.

“We also tried the method called Let’s Define Terms, and we both concluded that she is not fat. But now she tells me, ‘I know I am not fat, but I can’t stop thinking about it.’

“We also did the Downward Arrow Technique to probe her deepest fears and Self-Defeating Beliefs, but that didn’t seem to help, either, and she keeps ruminating about being fat. I would greatly appreciate your guidance on how to help her overcome that thought!

“Thanks in advance! Estefania”

Lorraine, Rhonda, David and Anna quickly diagnose the most likely cause of Estefania’s stuckness—she is trying to “help” her patient without first melting away her patient’s resistance. This is the cause of practically all therapeutic failure, and you’re not really doing TEAM-CBT if you don’t know how to eliminate the patient’s resistance.

That’s because most people are ambivalent about change. As the Jesuit mystic, Anthony DeMello, has said: “We yearn for change but cling to the familiar.” Recognizing and modifying this inherent ambivalence is the heart of A = Paradoxical Agenda Setting, but you can also think of the A as standing for “Assessment of Resistance.”

How could we melt away this woman’s ambivalence / reluctance to stop bombarding herself with the message, “I’m fat”? It is important to realize that this self-critical thought, and, in fact, all of her negative thoughts and feelings have huge advantages for her, and also indicate some really beautiful and awesome things about her and her core values.

For example, telling herself “I’m fat” may motivate her to diet, to exercise, and to make extra sure that she doesn’t get complacent and gain a tremendous amount of weight. In addition, the thought, “I’m fat,” shows that she has high standards, and her high standards have probably motivated her success in many areas of her life. For example, she probably works really hard to stay in good health and in good physical condition.

The thought, “I’m fat,” also shows that she’s humble, and on and on and on. And that’s just one negative thought. But this woman probably has many negative thoughts and feelings, like anxiety, shame, inferiority and depression, and they ALL have tremendous advantages, and they ALL reveal what is beautiful and awesome about her and her core values.

In addition, the thought may be protecting this patient from things she fears, like intimacy. As long as she tells herself, “I’m fat,” she does have to risk trying to get close, or having sex, or risking rejection. So the thought, in a way, is a form of self-love and self-protection.

Once Estafonia and her patient list all these positives, Estafonia could ask her patient, “Given all these advantages and positive qualities, maybe it wouldn’t be such a good idea to stop telling yourself, ‘I’m fat.’ This thought seems to be working for you in a really positive way, and also reflects your core values.”

That’s the essence of Paradoxical Agenda Setting. We try, in a genuine way, to honor the patient’s resistance, rather than trying to sell the patient on change. This is very difficult for therapists to learn because of the compulsion to save, help, or rescue the patient.

In addition, obsessions (recurring illogical negative thoughts like “I’m fat”) frequently result from the Hidden Emotion phenomenon, and this has to be dealt with skillfully when treating any patient with anxiety. Estafonia’s patient may be upset about something she’s not dealing with in her life, and bringing the hidden problem or feelings to conscious awareness can often be incredibly helpful. For more information, see my book, When Panic Attacks, which you can order from my books page (link).

After focusing on Estafonia’s excellent question, David, Rhonda, Lorraine and Anna talk about the emotional challenges that brought Anna to treatment, including severe feelings of depression which came on when Anna returned to the United States after 13 years working abroad. She was also feeling anxious, stuck, angry, and hopeless, and was comforting herself by binging on her three favorite foods.

Anna describes previous partial treatment failures, and explains that her previous cognitive therapist had “the empathy of a prison guard,” and contrasts those experiences with her successful experience with Lorraine. In fact, Anna describes the TEAM-CBT she received at the Feeling Good Institute as “cognitive therapy on steroids.”

I (David) loved hearing that because this is how I think about TEAM-CBT, too! TEAM really is CBT on steroids! But, I’ve been too embarrassed to describe TEAM-CBT in this way, fearing it might sound crass or unprofessional.

Anna and Lorraine explain why the T = Testing and E = Empathy of TEAM were so critical to the success of the therapy. Anna says that Lorraine was, in fact, the first therapist “who really got me, and really understood me!”

Anna emphasizes the enormous importance of the A = Paradoxical Agenda Setting (aka Assessment of Resistance) as well. Lorraine helped Anna discover what was beautiful and awesome about all of her negative feelings, including severe depression, shame, anxiety, anger, loneliness, and even hopelessness. She said, “My depression and feelings of loss when I moved showed that I really care about what I do, as well as the people around me.”

Anna also said that her anger showed that she was overly nice, out of her love for people, but that she had the right to set boundaries and stick up for herself, and didn’t always have to be a people-pleaser.

The Positive Reframing proved to be a positive shock to the system, and Anna’s symptoms started to improve significantly even before starting the M = Methods phase of the TEAM-CBT treatment.

The Positive Reframing made it relatively easy for Anna to smash the negative, self-critical thoughts that triggered her depression, anxiety, shame, and hopelessness, and then they moved on to other goals, such as using the Five Secrets of Effective Communication in her interactions with colleagues and friends.

Finally, they focused on self-image issues, which brings us back to the question Estafonia had posed at the start of the podcast: How you can help patients with self-image problems and addictions to eating?

Anna explained that when she was depressed, she had gained weight because of her addiction to salami (Mmmm!), ice cream (Yummm!), and rice and beans (WOW!) Lorraine used David’s “Devil’s Advocate Technique,” to help Anna challenge the tempting thoughts that always triggered her overeating.

Rhonda and I are incredibly grateful to Lorraine (aka Dr. Wong) and “Anna” for this opportunity to bring TEAM to life in a very real and personal way. Thank you, Lorraine and Anna!

Dr. Lorraine Wong is a certified Level 4 TEAM-CBT therapist and practices at the Feeling Good Institute in Mountain View, California. She specializes in the treatment of body image concerns and emotional eating, as well as depression and anxiety, with TEAM-CBT.

Thanks for tuning in!

David and Rhonda

Subscribe

You can reach Dr. Burns at david@feelinggood.com. Dr. Rhonda Barovsky practices in Walnut Creek, California, and can be reached at rbarovsky@aol.com. She is a Certified TEAM-CBT therapist and specializes in the treatment of trauma, anxiety, depression, and relationship problems. She also does forensic work in family court, but finds TEAM-CBT to be way more rewarding!

Here are some photos from David’s famous Sunday hikes. You can see Professor Mark Noble, a neuroscientist from the University of Rochester, in three of the photos. Dr. Noble is writing a chapter on TEAM-CBT and the brain for David’s new book, Feeling Great

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

* * *

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

High-Speed Treatment of Depression
and Anxiety Disorders

A Four-Day TEAM-CBT Advanced Intensive

November 4 – 7, 2019
The Atlanta, Georgia Intensive

Sponsored by Praxis

* * *

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

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

With Drs. David Burns and Jill Levitt

Oct 6, 2019 | 7 CE hours, $135

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

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

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

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

You’ll also learn–

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

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

Attend in person or
from your home via Live Streaming

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

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

Learn More & Register

* * *

Coming up in 2020

High Speed Methods to Reduce Resistance
and Boost Motivation

With Drs. David Burns and Jill Levitt

Feb 9. 2020 |  7 CE hours. $135

Learn More & Register

 The Cognitive Distortion Starter Kit:
How to Crush Negative Thoughts

With Drs. David Burns and Jill Levitt

May 17, 2020 | 7 CE hours. $135

Learn More & Register

 

Is there only one way to do things?

Is there only one way to do things?

Hello everyone,

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

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

Dr. David,

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

Gratefully, Dea

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

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

david

 * * *

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

High-Speed Treatment of Depression and Anxiety Disorders—

Attend one of the three Summer / Fall Intensives

With David D. Burns, MD!

Three Great Locations—

Calgary, July 15 to 18, 2019

South San Francisco, July 29 to August 1, 2019

Atlanta, Georgia,November 4 – 7, 2019

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

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

This dynamic workshop offers:

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

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

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

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

Special features at this year’s South SF intensive

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

Special features at this year’s Calgary, Canada intensive

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

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

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

Calgary (in two days!)

or

South San Francisco (at the end of July)

or

Atlanta (in early November)

David Burns, MD

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

IMG_20180607_100631_1

 

The Cognitive Revolution! Wow!

The Cognitive Revolution! Wow!

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

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

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

 * * *

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

High-Speed Treatment of Depression and Anxiety Disorders—

Attend one of the three Summer / Fall Intensives

With David D. Burns, MD!

Two Great Locations—

Calgary, July 15 to 18, 2019

South San Francisco, July 29 to August 1, 2019

Atlanta, Georgia,November 4 – 7, 2019

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

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

This dynamic workshop offers:

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

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

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

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

Special features at this year’s South SF intensive

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

Special features at this year’s Calgary, Canada intensive

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

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

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

Calgary

or

South San Francisco!

David Burns, MD

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

IMG_20180607_100631_1

 

Register by June 17th and save $100!

Dear colleague,

If you have ever dreamed of bringing extremely rapid healing to your patients, this is a workshop you won’t want to miss. David Burns, MD, will present TEAM-CBT: a new, powerful treatment approach that can produce extremely rapid and lasting changes in severe depression and anxiety. Lectures and demonstrations by a master therapist followed by the opportunity to practice the techniques with your colleagues will leave you with a deeper, richer appreciation of the practice of psychotherapy as well as a variety of tools you’ll be able to apply right away to your work. In addition, you’ll have the opportunity to do your own personal work during the workshop so you can experience greater self-esteem and joy in your professional work and in your personal life.

High-Speed Treatment of Depression and Anxiety Disorders

A Four-Day TEAM-CBT Advanced Intensive

w/ David Burns, MD

32 hrs of CE credit available

Workshops in S. San Francisco and Atlanta!

Register with friends and save 20%!

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The evening sessions on days 1 and 3 will add another dimension to your workshop experience, and are nearly always the most highly rated workshop segments. You’ll be tired, but joyous, by the end of your intensive, and you’ll leave with a renewed session of joy and optimism!

 

 

“What will I learn at an intensive?”

Dear colleague,

A therapist emailed me to say he was very interested in the upcoming intensives, but wanted to know what he’d learn if he attended. Certainly, a great question, so I put together this list of some of the things I’ll be teaching at this year’s intensives. They’re organized around the T E A M of TEAM-CBT.

T = Testing

  • I’ll illustrate fast, accurate assessment tools that will show you how your patients really feel, and how they feel about you. You’ll also find out how effective you are at every session with every patient. This information may be shocking, but can transform your clinical work.

E = Advanced Empathy Training

  • Five Secrets of Effective Communication
  • Law of Opposites
  • How to transform therapeutic failure into success
  • The five most common empathy errors, and how to avoid them!

A = Assessment of Resistance: New, sophisticated tools that can quickly melt away therapeutic resistance and greatly boost patient motivation

  • Outcome Resistance tools
  • Straightforward Invitation
  • Paradoxical Invitation
  • Miracle Cure Question
  • Specificity
  • Magic Button
  • Positive Reframing
  • Pivot Question
  • Process Resistance tools
  • Dangling the Carrot
  • Gentle Ultimatum
  • Sitting with Open Hands
  • Fallback Position

M = Methods

  • Daily Mood Log
  • Recovery Circle
  • 50 Ways to Untwist Your thinking, including
  • Identify the Distortions
  • Examine the Evidence
  • Be Specific / Shades of Grey
  • The Experimental Technique
  • The Pleasure-Predicting Sheet
  • The Paradoxical Double Standard Technique
  • Externalization of Voices
  • The Acceptance Paradox
  • Cognitive, Classical, and Interpersonal Exposure Techniques, including
    • Gradual Exposure
    • Cognitive Flooding
    • Memory Rescripting
    • Response Prevention
    • Smile and Hello Practice
    • Self-Disclosure
    • Talk-Show Host
    • Shame Attacking Exercises
  • The Hidden Emotion Technique
  • And more

Getting at root causes: How to pinpoint and modify Self-Defeating Beliefs

  • The Individual Downward Arrow
  • The Interpersonal Downward Arrow (psychoanalysis at warp speed!)
  • The Semantic Method
  • The Feared Fantasy

How to overcome habits and addictions, including

  • The Habit / Addiction Log
  • The Paradoxical Cost-Benefit Analysis
  • The Triple Paradox
  • The Anti-Procrastination Sheet
  • The “I stubbornly refused” Technique
  • The Devil’s Advocate Technique

Plus

  • Relapse Prevention Training for lasting results
  • Video of high-speed TEAM-CBT trauma treatment

The goals of TEAM-CBT include rapid, complete and lasting recovery from depression and anxiety. Teaching tools will include lecture, videos, live demonstrations, live therapy, and lots of small group practice with immediate feedback so you can refine your therapy skills.

You’ll also have the chance to do your own personal work if you want, so you can leave the workshop fueled with a renewed sense of excitement about your life and clinical work. I’ve always felt that effective personal work is tremendously important, since the challenges and pressures on therapists can sometimes be intense. When you’ve experienced your own personal transformation, you’re no longer a technician–you’re now a healer!

Finally, all three intensive provide CE credits plus credit toward certification in TEAM-CBT. In fact, you’ll be eligible for Level 1 TEAM certification just for attending!

Thank you so much for your interest!

David Burns, MD

* * *

This year, you have three great intensives to choose from!

High-Speed Treatment of

Depression and Anxiety Disorders

A Four-Day TEAM-CBT Advanced Intensive

with David Burns, MD

July 15 – 18, 2019, Calgary, Canada

Sponsored by Jack Hirose & Assoc.

The Calgary intensive will be similar to the SF and Atlanta intensives described below, but there will be no evening sessions. Instead, Dr. Burns will lead optional, informal evening hikes for those who are interested, followed by dinner. On the hikes, you can do personal work, ask questions, practice techniques, or just schmooze with colleagues and have fun!

This intensive is just around the corner, so act fast if you want to attend!

* * *

High-Speed Treatment of

Depression and Anxiety Disorders

A Four-Day TEAM-CBT Advanced Intensive

with David Burns, MD

32 hrs of CE credit available

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

and

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

This will be my first east coast intensive in more than 25 years/

Register with friends and save 20%!

<Register>

The evening sessions on days 1 and 3 will add another dimension to your workshop experience, and are nearly always the most highly rated workshop segments. You’ll be tired, but joyous, by the end of your intensive, and you’ll leave with a renewed session of joy and optimism!

 

 

David’s Awesome Summer Intensives–Are You Planning to Come to One?

High-Speed Treatment of Depression and Anxiety Disorders—

Attend the Summer / Fall Intensives

With David D. Burns, MD!

Three Great Locations—

Calgary, July 15 to 18, 2019

South San Francisco, July 29 to August 1, 2019

Atlanta, November 4 to 7, 2019

What so great about the intensives?

  • Observe live demonstrations of TEAM-CBT with audience volunteers that are cool, powerful and inspirational.
  • Have FUN—lots of neat people to hang out with!
  • Earn TEAM certification credits as well as CE credits.
  • Learn tons of powerful new techniques to boost your effectiveness in the treatment of depression, anxiety disorders, and habits and addictions.
  • Practice in small groups, with immediate feedback to help you refine and master your new skills.
  • Learn to pinpoint the eight most common forms of therapeutic resistance.
  • Learn how to melt away therapeutic resistance for super-fast recoveries.
  • Overcome your own feelings of anxiety and self-doubt, and leave the workshop in a state of joyous enlightenment! You can’t beat that!
  • Lots of tears—and lots of laughter!
  • You’ll work your butt off—but come out with exciting new insights and directions for your clinical work.

Special features at this year’s South SF intensive

  • Sunny Choi will be speaking on “TEAM with Compassion.” Sunny spoke last year and was amazing, so he is returning, as they say, “by popular demand.”
  • Jill Levitt will be joining David as co-therapist for the live demonstration on the evening of day 1. In past years, these dramatic live demos have provided tremendous opportunities for learning.
  • Do your own “solo flight” on the evening of day 3. In previous years, this has been the highlight of the annual SF intensive.
  • I will be joined by many expert helpers from the Feeling Good Institute who will provide feedback and mentoring for you during the many practice sessions. Of course, I’ll be giving you personal feedback, too!

Special features at this year’s Calgary, Canada intensive

  • The three optional evening hikes / meals together will be a highlight for many. While hiking, you will have chances for personal work with David, Q and A, and additional practice with the many new techniques you are learning.
  • There will be a live demo on the morning of day 2.

The summer / fall intensives are almost always my best teaching of the year. If you attend, this year’s intensives will be even better!

The Calgary Intensive will be from July 15 to 18, 2019.
For more information / registration, click here!

The South SF Intensive will be from July 29 to August 1, 2019.
For more information / registration, click here!

The new Atlanta intensive will be from November 4 – 7, 2019,
and will be similar to the South SF Intensive.
This will be my first east coast intensive in 25 years!
For more information / registration, click here!

David Burns, MD

Unsolicited Testimonials from Participants at David’s Workshops

These are anonymous comments on workshop evaluation forms:

  • The live demonstration in the evening was freaking incredible!!!
  • The live demonstration was dynamite! . . . It was beautiful!!
  • The entire process was fantastic!
  • I liked all of it! I appreciated Dr. Burns willingness to be vulnerable with his own flaws and fears.

Here’s a photo of my esteemed colleague, Mike Christensen, at a recent Canadian workshop. We’ll be working together again this year in Calgary!

IMG_20180607_100631_1

Here’s a photo from some of my Sunday hikes in California with therapists from my free weekly training group at Stanford.

 

102: Helping the Suicidal Patient

102: Helping the Suicidal Patient

The Prediction and Prevention of Suicide

Dr. Maor Katz, the founder of the Feeling Good Institute in Mt. View, California, asked if we’d do a show on the Prediction and Prevention of Suicide, so his staff could learn about the unique approach I have developed. Dr. Fabrice Nye and I were delighted to devote today’s show to this topic.

Suicidal thoughts and urges are very common among depressed patients. The vast majority of depressed individuals have thoughts of suicide from time to time, and some struggle with serious suicidal urges. The experts tell us that 10% to 15% of chronically depressed individuals do eventually commit suicide, even if they are receiving treatment for depression. It is hard for me to believe that suicide is that common, but even if it is only 2% or 3%, that’s still very significant, especially if you have a large clinical practice and you treat lots of depressed individuals.

Suicide attempts are shocking and devastating for the patient, for the family, and for the therapist as well. The loss of a patient through suicide is the dark side of our profession. The loss of life is a horrible and unnecessary tragedy, since the feelings of hopelessness that trigger suicidal urges are always the result of cognitive distortions; the belief that you are hopeless and cannot improve is never valid. Yet, the depressed patient does not realize this, and sometimes turns to suicide as the only way out of his or her suffering.

Sadly, clinicians’ capacity to assess suicidal urges in patients they are treating is very poor. In fact, in a research study I did, experts estimated how suicidal patients were feeling at the end of a several hour diagnostic interview at the Stanford Hospital. The patients recorded how suicidal they were actually feeling at the exact same time. Surprisingly, the patients’ and experts’ assessments were not significantly correlated. In other words, the experts accuracy in detecting suicidal fantasies and urges was zero. that’s one reason so many patients in treatment do commit suicide–because the therapist simply did not realize the patient was feeling that way.

In this podcast, I describe how you can solve this problem with the use of the EASY Diagnostic System and a systematic suicide interview, if needed, at the initial evaluation, and the use of the Brief Mood Survey at all subsequent sessions, with no exceptions.

In this podcast, I focus on two things. First, how can the clinician identify and evaluate a new (or old) patient who is struggling with suicidal thoughts and fantasies and determine if the patient is at risk for a suicide attempt? Second, how can the therapist make the patient accountable and guarantee that the patient will not now, or ever, make a suicide attempt?

The “defensive psychotherapy” I recommend will sound unfamiliar and maybe even shocking to many therapists but can save lives and make your practice far more peaceful and rewarding. The approach to the suicidal patient involves Paradoxical Agenda Setting techniques, including the Gentle Ultimatum, Sitting with Open Hands, and Fallback Position.

I hope you enjoyed today’s podcast on a very serious topic!

David

 

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