FEELING GOOD
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078: Five Simple Ways to Boost Your Happiness–#5: You Can CHANGE the Way You FEEL!

Building Self-Esteem and Overcoming Toxic Shame–as well as feelings of depression, anxiety, inferiority, hopelessness, and anger!

Let’s face it–nearly all of us fall into the black hole of depression, anxiety, shame, and self-doubt at times. Then it’s time to ask yourself what you’re telling yourself, write down your negative thoughts, identify the distortions in them, and substitute thoughts that are more positive and realistic. Sound too easy? The results can be mind-blowing!

David and Fabrice discuss a therapy session with a woman who had been hiding something about herself for nearly ten years due to feelings of shame. When she receives a phone call from someone in her church, her feelings of anxiety and shame hit the ceiling. Learn how she overcomes her feelings of angst and self-doubt using TEAM-CBT.

David hopes to make the actual video of this dramatic therapy session available soon right here at www.feelinggood.com in his new Feeling Good Store! (still under development at the time of this write-up.)

While listening, you can download pdfs about each of seven steps to help you break out of bad moods and boost your self-esteem:

Step 1. Identify the Upsetting Event

If you click on Melanie’s Daily Mood Log you will see that the Upsetting Event was something seemingly innocuous.

Step 2. Rate Your Negative Feelings

If you click on Melanie’s Daily Mood Log again, you will see how she circled her feelings and rate each type of a feeling on a scale from 0% to 100%. You will see that her negative feelings were actually incredibly intense.

Daily Mood Log with feelings circled and rated

Step 3. Record Your Negative Thoughts

Cognitive therapists, going all the way back to the Greek Stoic philosopher, Epictetus nearly 2,000 years ago, say that we are upset, not by things, or events, but by our thoughts about them. If you click on Melanie’s Daily Mood Log with Negative Thoughts yet again, you will see what she was telling herself about the phone call from the member of her church.

Step 4. Positive Reframing

This is one of the many powerful new features of TEAM-CBT. Before trying to change the way you think and feel, focus on your negative thoughts and feelings one at a time and ask yourself two questions:

  1. What are some benefits, or advantages, of this negative thought or feelings?
  2. What does this negative thought or feeling show about me and my core values that’s positive and awesome?

Briefly stop the recording and review Melanie’s Daily Mood Log. Then see how many positives you can list. For example, what does Melanie’s shame show about her that is awesome and positive? And what are some really beautiful things about her sadness and depression? What are some potential benefits of her anxiety?

Step 5. Identify the Distortions

After the Paradoxical Agenda Setting (in this case, Positive Reframing), I asked Melanie what Negative Thought she wanted to work on first. She selected the second negative thought, “She’ll tell other people who will judge me.” See how many distortions you can find in this thought, using the list of ten distortions on her Daily Mood Log.

When you’re done, you can see how Melanie identified the distortions in this thought, using abbreviations, in the Distortion column of her Daily Mood Log. However, on the podcast, David identified one additional distortion he had overlooked during the live session with Melanie. Can you figure out which one it is?

Step 6. Challenge the Negative Thought

There are more 50 techniques that you can use to challenge a Negative Thought. After listing roughly 17 promising methods during the session, Melanie decided that she wanted to start out with a gentle method called the Paradoxical Double Standard Technique. If you click on Melanie’s Daily Mood Log  again, you can see the Positive Thoughts Melanie came up with to challenge the Negative Thought, “She’ll tell other people who will judge me.” You will also see how strongly she believed them. Remember that the Necessary Condition for Emotional Change is that the Positive Thoughts all have to be 100% true. Rationalizations and half-truths will rarely, if ever, give anyone genuine relief or mood elevation.

Now the question is this: Did the Positive Thoughts reduce Melanie’s belief in the Negative Thought? Remember the Sufficient Condition for emotional change: the Positive Thoughts must drastically reduce the belief in the Negative Thoughts. That’s the whole goal, in fact, of cognitive therapy. Remember, when you change the way you THINK you can change the way you FEEL!

If you click on Melanie’s Daily Mood Log again, you’ll see that her belief in the Negative Thought was, in fact reduced. Sometimes, you will want to reduce your belief in a Negative Thought all the way to zero. But in this case, 35% was sufficient, since some people may, in fact, judge Melanie, although most people probably will not.

Step 7. Outcome: Re-rate Your Negative Feelings

Once you’ve clobbered one negative thoughts, it’s generally much easier to knock the rest of your Negative Thoughts out of the park. This was the case with Melanie. If you review her final Daily Mood Log, you can see how she challenged the rest of her Negative Thoughts and the incredible impact this had on her feelings.

Coming Soon!

Next week we will have something very special and very precious for you–

Podcast 079: What’s the Secret of a “Meaningful” Life? Live Therapy with Daisy

This will be a dramatic and inspiring podcast that Fabrice and I feel very grateful to be able to share with you. The podcast will be based on an actual therapy session with a young woman who is struggling with depression, anxiety, and self-doubt because of fertility issues, due to strong. societal messages that women should have children and should want children. This will be a unique opportunity to go behind closed doors to see TEAM-CBT live and real with someone like yourself who is struggling with intense negative thoughts and feelings.

The live therapy sessions we have published previously–with Mark, who felt like a failure as a father, and with Marilyn, who was confronted by a sudden and totally unexpected horrific diagnosis of Stage 4 lung cancer–received tremendously positive feedback from all of you. Now we are proud to present yet another live therapy session next week! So mark your calendars!

Two Cool Upcoming Workshops for you!

May 20th, 2018  Advanced, High-Speed CBT for the Treatment of Depression and Anxiety A one day workshop by Drs. David Burns and Jill Levitt. 6 CE Credits, $135
You can join in person or online from wherever you live!

March 22 and 23, 2018 Rapid Recovery from Trauma, (David D. Burns, MD) J&K Seminars, Lancaster, Pa 15 CE credits, includes live evening demonstration on the evening of day 1.
You can join in person or online from wherever you live! 

Additional Resources for the General Public (all available at Amazon.com, as well as other booksellers)

  • Feeling Good: The New Mood Therapy
  • The Feeling Good Handbook
  • Feeling Good Together
  • When Panic Attacks

General public and mental health professionals might enjoy the recent article about David in Stanford Magazine authored by Robert Strauss entitled “Mind Over Misery.”

Additional Resources for Mental Health Professionals

David’s TEAM-CBT Psychotherapy ebook: Tools, Not Schools, of Therapy

David’s Tuesday evening TEAM-CBT meets at the Behavioral Sciences Building, 401 Quarry Road, Room 2209 from 5:00 to 7:30 PM, and is free. It is open to all SF Bay Area mental health professionals as well as graduate students in any mental health field, including but not limited to Stanford graduate students. There are teachers include:

  • David Burns, MD
  • Helen Yeni-Komshian, MD
  • Jill Levitt, PhD
  • Daniele Levy, PhD

For information, requirements, and consent form, contact our Greeter, Sara Swedorski, saraswedorski@gmail.com.

Fabrice and I hope you like our Feeling Good Podcasts, and also hope you can leave some positive comments for us and five star ratings if you like what we’re doing!

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At least one listener has had problems leaving an iTunes review from his i-phone, so Fabrice has created some simple to follow instructions if you need help.

 

 

David Live on Facebook: Do Psychiatrists Prescribe Too Much? Do “Mental Disorders” Exist?

David Live on Facebook: Do Psychiatrists Prescribe Too Much? Do “Mental Disorders” Exist?

The David Show!

March 4, 2018, 3 PM Pacific Standard Time

Hi all!

The first two David and Jill Shows surpassed all expectations and were tremendous, in my opinion, but I am biased! I just think Jill is brilliant, amazing, and very compassionate. Last Sunday, we answered the question–how can you respond to blatantly racists comments using the Five Secrets of Effective Communication? A challenging question, for sure, but the answer was mind-blowing. Check it out if you haven’t seen that show yet! All the Sunday shows are posted on my public FB page for viewing any time you want.

The next David and Jill Show (Episode 3) will be next Sunday, March 11th, at 3 PM, by the way.

Tomorrow, on the “David Show,” I will have special guest Lisa Kelley, a TEAM-CBT therapist from Colorado who will be visiting and joining me on the show and on the Sunday hike as well. I will be answering your questions, as usual, including two recent and controversial questions:

  1. Do psychiatrists prescribe too much?
  2. Do “mental disorders,” as described in the DSM5, actually exist? (Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, published by the American Psychiatric Association.)

Years ago, Thomas Szasz, MD wrote a popular and controversial book entitled The Myth of Mental Illness, in which, according to Wikipedia, he argued “against the concept of mental illness.” And yet, given the recent epidemic of horrific school shootings in Florida and elsewhere, it seems very compelling to believe that mental illness is not a myth, but a harsh reality. What does David Burns think? Tune in tomorrow and I’ll share my thinking on this, and any other mental health topics of interest to you!

Also, remember to register for the one-day David and Jill workshop on Sunday, May 20, 2018. It’s for mental health professionals. You’ll have a chance to learn the latest TEAM-CBT techniques and work on your own insecurities and feelings of self-doubt as well. We promise to bring roughly 60% of the audience into a state of joyous enlightenment, so don’t miss it!

Also, below you’ll find another little plug for my upcoming workshop with Jill on May 20th! I think it will be a good one, and you can come in person or join us via your computer live.

David

Advanced, High-Speed TEAM-CBT for the Treatment of Depression and Anxiety:
A Workshop for Therapists with Drs. David Burns and Jill Levitt

The Weekly David and Fabrice Feeling Good Podcast

Fabrice and I hope you also enjoy our weekly Feeling Good Podcasts, and would encourage you can leave some positive comments for us and some five star ratings if you like what we’re doing! We are now enjoying nearly 40,000 downloads per month from listeners like you, from people all around the world. Thank you so much for your super support of our podcasts!

Subscribe

At least one listener has had problems leaving an iTunes review from his i-phone, so Fabrice has created some simple to follow instructions if you need help.

Fantastic Email–“I was planning to commit suicide the day you left a copy of Feeling Good at my front door!”

Fantastic Email–“I was planning to commit suicide the day you left a copy of Feeling Good at my front door!”

Dear friends and colleagues,

I thought you might enjoy this wonderful email I received several days ago, and publish here with the permission of Dr. Robert Schachter, from New York city.

David

Dear David,

I want to share an experience that almost made me cry.  A woman from Nebraska had tracked me down on the internet to treat her mid-20’s daughter who was living in New York.  She said that she had been profoundly affected by Feeling Good: The New Mood Therapy.

She went on to say that when her daughter was in preschool, the nursery school teacher was fired and had been very distraught. She had liked this woman and felt very bad for her. So, she went to her house but the woman would not come to the door. She then went home and took her copy of Feeling Good and left it on the woman’s doorstep.

Their paths diverged, but some time later she bumped into her.  The woman came up to her and said, “I just want to thank you.  I want you to know that you saved my life!  My father had committed suicide and the day that you came by, I was planning my own suicide.  That book saved my life.

Thank you.”

Then my patient’s mother said, “God Bless Dr. Burns.”

Bob
Robert Schachter, Ed.D.
Licensed  Psychologist

 

If you are reading this blog on social media, I appreciate it! I would like to invite you to visit my website, http://www.FeelingGood.com, as well. There you will find a wealth of free goodies, including my Feeling Good blogs, my Feeling Good Podcasts with host, Dr. Fabrice Nye, and the Ask Dr. David blogs as well, along with announcements of upcoming workshops, and tons of resources for mental health professionals as well as patients!

Once you link to my blog, you can sign up using the widget at the top of the column to the right of each page. Please forward my blogs to friends as well, especially anyone with an interest in mood problems, psychotherapy, or relationship conflicts.

Thanks! David

041: Uncovering Techniques (Part 3) — The What-If Technique

041: Uncovering Techniques (Part 3) — The What-If Technique

Uncovering (and Facing) Your Deepest Fears

In this podcast, David and Fabrice discuss the third uncovering technique called the “What-If” Technique, developed by the late Dr. Albert Ellis. The What-If Technique can will help you identify a terrifying fantasy under the surface that fuels your fears. David brings this technique to life with an inspiring story of a woman from San Francisco suffering from more than 10 years of mild depression and paralyzing Agoraphobia—the intense fear of leaving home alone. You may be surprised when you discover the Negative Thoughts that triggered her fear of leaving her apartment alone, as well as the core fantasy at the root of her Agoraphobia. David and Fabrice also discuss the dramatic techniques that helped her completely defeat her fears and overcome her depression.

Below, we have included a PowerPoint presentation for you so that you can follow along when David and Fabrice do the What-If Technique together on the podcast.

In the next podcast, David and Fabrice will discuss Shame-Attacking Exercises. This is a powerful and bizarre exposure technique that can helpful in the treatment of shyness–but there’s a hook. Therapists must be willing to do Shame Attacking Exercises themselves before they can ask patients to do them! And that can be intimidating!

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Recognition for Feeling Good!

Recognition for Feeling Good!

Hi, Dr. Burns:

I hope this email finds you well!

Your book Feeling Good was featured in our Top 10 list of Best Books for Depression and Anxiety recently on Live Happy. Here’s the Story

I am sharing this story with you here in hopes that you might share it on your website and social media channels as well with a link back to Live Happy, which your readers will find by clicking on the link above!

We appreciate your expertise to our Live Happy community.

I hope you have a wonderful day!

Warmly,

Sandra Bilbray (Bienkowski)

Hi Sandra,

Thanks! I am honored, to say the least!

Warm regards,

David

 

If you are reading this blog on social media, I appreciate it! I would like to invite you to visit my website, http://www.FeelingGood.com, as well. There you will find a wealth of free goodies, including my Feeling Good blogs, my Feeling Good Podcasts with host, Dr. Fabrice Nye, and the Ask Dr. David blogs as well, along with announcements of upcoming workshops, and resources for mental health professionals as well as patients!

Once you link to my blog, you can sign up using the widget at the top of the column to the right of each page. Please firward my blogs to friends as well, especially anyone with an interest in mood problems, psychotherapy, or relationship conflicts.

Thanks! David