Solution to David’s Tuesday Tip #12*

Solution to David’s Tuesday Tip #12*

This was yesterday’s paradoxical tip of the day!

Successful treatment requires the death of the therapist’s ego;
recovery requires the death of the patient’s ego.

Sorry to be super brief again today because I am currently in Canada on the second day of the four-day intensive. If you missed it this year, you can find an announcement for the annual San Francisco intensive at the bottom of this blog! It’s coming up in August so you still have time to register.

So, what’s the solution to yesterday’s puzzle?

One of the unique features of TEAM-CBT is that patients rate therapists in the waiting room immediately after the session is over, using the Brief Mood Survey and Evaluation of Therapy Session forms. Patients leave the completed surveys before they go home. This gives the therapist the chance to review the ratings when the session is still fresh in the therapist’s mind so he or she can find out how effective, or ineffective, the session was.

The Empathy and Helpfulness scales are extremely sensitive to the smallest errors or failures of the alliance, and most therapists will get failing grades from most of their patients when they first start to use the Brief Mood Survey and Evaluation of Therapy Session. This can be painful, as it bursts the therapist’s bubble of optimism and self-confidence.

But if you, the therapist, process the information with your patient at the start of the next session in the spirit of humility, warmth, and curiosity, it can have a tremendously beneficial effect on the treatment. I’ve experienced this amazing phenomenon more times than I can remember! But it can be very painful to have to face your errors and shortcomings. That’s because the patient’s criticisms of the therapist will always contain, not just a grain of truth, but a whole lot of truth!

Yikes! That sucks!

So, the death of the therapist’s ego will often be required. This, to me, is a good thing, because it gives therapists tremendous opportunities to grow and learn at the same time that their patients are growing and learning. But the negative feedback does hurt at times. And the pain can be fairly intense.

For the patient to recover, the death of the ego may also be required. A great deal of depression and anxiety results from the idea that we aren’t good enough, so we beat up on ourselves relentlessly, thinking perhaps that if we punish ourselves enough, we will grow and eventually attain some goal of perfection or superiority.

But this mind-set is the problem; it is not the cure. Recovery more often results from what I call the Acceptance Paradox–which means the death of the patient’s ego. That means accepting that you are, and always will be, quite flawed, and accepting this with a sense of inner peace, or even humor. In fact, once your ego has died, you can join the Grateful Dead, and that’s incredibly freeing and cool!

 

More later, and sorry to offer you so little in the last couple weeks. I’ve been working hard on the new book, so I’m kind of short on time, but there will be a ton on this topic when the book is released, so hang in there!

Thanks!

David

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

Hey, folks, my San Francisco summer intensives is nearly always my BEST training program of the year because the group is quite small, giving you lots of chances for Q and A and schmoozing. In addition, many individuals from my Tuesday group at Stanford join me to provide feedback during the small group exercises. Here are the specifics:

* * *

Coming in San Francisco in August

High Speed, Drug Free Treatment of Depression and Anxiety Disorders–
A Four-Day TEAM-CBT Advanced Intensive

August 6 – 9, 2018, South San Francisco Conference Center, California
For more information, click here
or contact http://www.iahb.org/
phone: 800-258-8411

If you can only attend one of my workshops, consider this intensive! it is simplly

THE BEST!

Seating is limited. Register now  if you want to get in on the action!

Hope to see you in San Francisco in August!

David

Solution to David’s Tuesday Tip #11*

Solution to David’s Tuesday Tip #11*

This was yesterday’s paradoxical tip of the day!

Self-acceptance is the greatest change a person can make.

 

Sorry to be super brief today on such an important topic, but desperately pressed for time due to my upcoming trip next week for the Canada intensive. See below if you think you might want to attend! The intensives are usually great experiences. If you can’t make the Canadian intensive in July, think about the San Francisco intensive in August.

Some of us struggle with perfectionism, thinking we can become something GREAT if we just try hard enough and beat up on ourselves when we fall short or screw up. But this can sometimes be the cause of nearly all of our suffering.

Still, we don’t want to accept our flawed selves because we don’t want to “settle” for second best, because that sounds just awful! But when you accept yourself, that’s when the magic happens.

In my Stanford Tuesday training group last night, one of the participants revealed her fear of speaking up or role-playing a technique in group for fear she might not be “good enough,” and then feared that everyone in the group will judge or dislike her. Tears were flowing down her cheeks. Paradoxically, revealing her vulnerability made everyone feel incredibly close to her, and she set the tone for an evening of magical training. And all she did was to reveal her fears, flaws, and insecurities.

As many of you know, I learned an important lesson from my wonderful cat, Obie. He’s the one who taught me that “when you no longer need to be special, life becomes special!”

More later, sorry to offer so little right now. Obie and I deeply apologize!

Obie 1

Thanks!

David

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

Hey, folks, my summer intensives are nearly always my BEST training programs of the year, and they are almost upon us. Here are the specifics:

Coming in Canada in July

Advanced Cognitive Behavioral Therapy:
A Four-Day Intensive Training in TEAM-CBT

July 3 – 6, 2018 Whistler, BC, Canada

For more information, contact Jack Hirose & Associates Inc.
Phone: 604.924.0296, Toll-free: 1.800.456.5424

* * *

Coming in San Francisco in August

High Speed, Drug Free Treatment of Depression and Anxiety Disorders–
A Four-Day TEAM-CBT Advanced Intensive

August 6 – 9, 2018, South San Francisco Conference Center, California
For more information, click here
or contact http://www.iahb.org/
phone: 800-258-8411

If you can only attend one of my workshops, consider an intensive! They are

THE BEST!

Register right away if you want to get in on the action!

Hope to see you in Whistler in July or San Francisco in August!

David

Self-Acceptance–Are We All Defective?

hike photo 9Hi everybody,

I’ve been getting lots of great emails with questions recently, and will try to get to as many as possible. Here is one from this morning.

Hi Dr. Burns,

I really hope you get to see this! I just wanted to say how I love your book and it has been helping me a lot I bought and read Feeling Good: The New Mood Therapy, and I’m currently reading your book on anxiety, When Panic Attacks.

But I did want to say one thing. On page 216, near the bottom, it says, ” … in fact, we’re all defective and you can view your ‘defectiveness’ as a reason for suicide or a cause for a celebration….”

I didn’t understand that. That we should view us being defective as a reason to kill ourselves?? It threw me off and I asked my friend to read it over. I just want to know what you meant!

It’s near the bottom second to last paragraph on page 216

Nicole

Hi Nicole,

Sometimes I write things that may be hard to “get” at first, so I appreciate your question. First, let me emphasize that suicide is never appropriate or needed for someone who is feeling depressed and hopeless. However, was writing about something I call the Acceptance Paradox, where you achieve enlightenment by accepting your many shortcomings with a sense of inner peace, or even with a sense of humor. I call that “healthy acceptance.”

And when you “grasp” this notion that it is okay to be flawed and defective, or even wonderful, you can achieve liberation from feelings of depression, anxiety, shame and self-doubt. And it brings you a lot closer to other people, too, because, believe me, there are TONS of other defective people out there, so we can have a party and lots of folks will join us, and we can just hang out and not worry about having to impress each other.

But people who are depressed usually have what I call unhealthy acceptance. They wrongly believe that because they are defective, they should kill themselves.

If you CLICK HERE, you will find a chart that distinguishes healthy from unhealthy acceptance.  As you can see, healthy acceptance is characterized by joy, intimacy, laughter, and creativity. In contrast, unhealthy acceptance is characterized by cynicism, depression, hopelessness, and loneliness.

This is sometimes hard to “see” at first on an emotional level, especially if you are depressed, or prone to depression. But when you suddenly “get it,” it’s like seeing the grand canyon for the first time. It simply takes your breath away, and you discover that it’s only okay to be defective, it’s actually great–in fact, the very BEST way to be!

I am writing something more ambitious on this topic, and I’ll publish it here soon. This is just a beginning note intended to whet your appetite, hopefully at least! What I am writing about now are some of the more philosophical underpinnings of TEAM-CBT, although the notions are actually ancient, and go back at least 2500 years. I will try to address two questions:

  1. Is it possible to be worthwhile or to be worthless?
  2. Do we have a “self”?

Although these themes may seem abstract, they have powerful, practical, emotional consequences. Just one small example, let’s say you struggle with anxiety and shyness. You may have the fear that others will judge you because you are inferior, or not “good enough,” and this thought can cause tremendous suffering. But this thought is based on the notion that you have a “self” that can be evaluated or judged. When you see through this notion, you can experience liberation from your fears.

The Buddhists called this “The Great Death.” Of course, we all fear death, and struggle to keep our egos alive. But once you’ve “died,” so to speak, you can join the Grateful Dead, and then life suddenly opens up in unexpected ways. And for those who may misread me, or interpret my words literally, I am not referring to physical death, but death of the “self.”

So, stay tuned if this type of dialogue interests you! And thanks for reading this!

Doctor David

If you are reading this blog from Facebook or Twitter, I appreciate it! I would like to invite you to visit my websitewww.feelinggood.com, and register there as well. You will find a wealth of free goodies, including my Feeling Good blogs, plus all my Feeling Good Podcasts to date, and the Ask Dr. David blogs as well, along tons of resources, including videos for mental health professionals as well as patients and the general public!