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Feeling Good

143: Performance Anxiety: The Conclusion

143: Performance Anxiety: The Conclusion

Session with Rhonda, Part 2

Last week we published the first half of the session with Rhonda, who was struggling with severe performance anxiety about her work as the new host of the Feeling Good Podcast host. We did the initial T = Testing, which indicated many intense negative feelings, as well as E = Empathy phase of TEAM therapy session.

This week, we include the conclusion of the session, with A = Paradoxical Agenda Setting and M = Methods, plus final T = Testing to see how effective, or ineffective the session was.

As a reminder of the work we did on the last podcast, you can review Rhonda’s Daily Mood Log here.

When you listen, you will see that the changes Rhonda experienced were amazing. But were these changes real? It almost seem too easy, and too fast, especially for a problem that started in childhood and persisted right up to the present moment. Was the session just a publicity stunt, perhaps, or some kind of superficial quick fix? David asks Rhonda about this, as well as this question: ‘If the changes were real, what caused such rapid and profound changes?

David and Rhonda used many TEAM-CBT techniques they during the session, including these:

  1. David Empathized with the Five Secrets of Effective Communication at the start of the session during the E = Empathy phase. Of course, good empathy is necessary throughout a therapy session.
  2. David melted away Rhonda’s resistance during the A = Paradoxical Agenda Setting. These techniques included:
    1. Straightforward Invitation
    2. Miracle Cure Question
    3. Magic Button
    4. Positive Reframing
    5. Pivot Question
    6. Magic Dial
  3. The M = Methods that were helpful in this session included:
    1. The Individual Downward Arrow to identify the Self-Defeating Beliefs that triggered Rhonda’s feelings of inadequacy.Rhonda enjoyed this exercise and felt it was on target.  We identified many Self-Defeating Beliefs, including:
      1.  Perfectionism
      2. Perceived Perfectionism
      3. Achievement Addiction
      4. Approval Addiction
      5. Love Addiction
      6. Fear of Rejection
      7. Submissiveness
      8. Inadequacy schema
      9. Spotlight Fantasy
      10. Brushfire Fallacy
      11. Superwoman
    2. The Interpersonal Downward Arrow to illuminate how Rhonda saw her relationship with her father, with David, and with some other people, including the podcast listeners. This is kind of like Psychoanalysis at warp speed. Rhonda said this felt uncomfortable, perhaps because it cast David somewhat as a dangerous ogre!
    3. David and Rhonda smashed several of Rhonda’s Self-Defeating Beliefs with the Feared Fantasy Technique
    4. Identify the Distortions
    5. Paradoxical Double Standard Technique
    6. Externalization of Voices
    7. Acceptance Paradox / Self-Defense Paradigm
    8. Self-Disclosure / Exposure
    9. The Experimental Technique
    10. Thinking in Shades of Gray

Finally, if the changes were real, will they last? Or will Rhonda just slip back into more performance anxiety and self-doubt?

You can click on this link if you’d like to review the evolution of Rhonda’s Daily Mood Log during the session. Please notice that the link is several pages long.

You can also see Rhonda’s ratings on the Brief Mood Survey before and after the session and review her ratings of David on the Empathy and Helpfulness scales at the end of the session. You might want to read her interesting comments on what she liked the least, and what she liked the most about her session with David.

I want to thank Rhonda, my esteemed colleague, friend, and wonderful podcast host, for giving all of us this incredible gift of her humanness.

And I, Rhonda, want to thank the most marvelous, compassionate and incredible David Burns, for the gift of healing and facilitating me experiencing enlightenment and peace from these difficult feelings and negative thoughts that were devastating me.  I feel so much gratitude for all of our work together, for your trusting me enough to invite me to be the host of these podcasts, and for the gift of your friendship.  Words can’t express the full depth of my love for you and for everything you have given me both personally and professionally!

Did you like the personal work we did? Was it helpful for you personally? Rhonda took a chance and was courageous to share this intensely personal experience with you. Let us know if you liked the podcast!

If you are a therapist, or an interested patient, let us know if this was it a good learning experience. Would you like to hear more podcasts with live personal work?

We are here to serve you, so share your thoughts and feelings with us, as well as your wish list for future podcasts!

David and Rhonda


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.

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

142: Performance Anxiety: The Story of Rhonda, Part 1

142: Performance Anxiety: The Story of Rhonda, Part 1

“I sound stupid! . . . Ouch!”

Have you ever struggled with performance anxiety, thinking you might fail or not be good enough? I think it is fair to say that every therapist in my Tuesday training group at Stanford has struggled with fairly intense feelings of anxiety and self-doubt, and perhaps you have, too, thinking you should be smarter or better than you are, and fearing that others would judge you if they saw your “true self.” In fact, I would suspect that most of our podcast fans have struggled with these feelings at some time during your life, and maybe even recently or now.

Well, today, we’ve got a wonderful program in store for you. Our own Dr. Rhonda Barovsky asked me for personal help with her own anxieties about being the new podcast host. I asked if she wanted to do it live, on a podcast, and she generously agreed!

In this heart-warming and very human session, Rhonda shares the negative thoughts and feelings she had when she listened to herself on several podcasts and begin noticing this or that error she made. She felt intensely down, anxious, ashamed, inadequate, rejected, embarrassed, discouraged, frustrated, and angry, to name just a few of her negative feelings, and her mind was flooded with negative thoughts like these:

  1. I sound stupid and inarticulate, and some of my comments were inaccurate, like when I said psychiatric diagnoses are meaningless labels.
  2. I’ve had feelings of insecurity ever since I was a child, and should be over this by now!
  3. David is going to regret having me as the podcast host!
  4. Everyone will know I’m a fraud, and no one will like or respect me.
  5. People will judge and reject me, and I’ll end up ostracized and alone.

She believed these thoughts at 100%. You might recall that the Necessary and Sufficient Conditions for emotional distress are:

  1. You have one or more negative thoughts.
  2. You believe the negative thoughts.

In today’s podcast, you will hear the first half of the session, which included T = Testing as well as E = Empathy. During the Empathy phase, David also included two Uncovering Techniques, the individual Downward Arrow Technique and the Interpersonal Downward Arrow Technique, so that he and Rhonda could identify the Self-Defeating Beliefs under the surface, like Perfectionism, Perceived Perfectionism, the Approval Addiction, Superwoman, and more.

This is because there are two goals in TEAM-CBT. The first goal is to crush the negative thoughts in the here and now, so that you’ll feel relief. The second goal is to modify the Self-Defeating Beliefs so you’ll be less prone to similar thoughts and feelings in the future.

In next week’s podcast, you will hear the second half of the session, which included A = (Paradoxical) Agenda Setting and M = Methods. You’ll also hear the final T = Testing to find out how effective the session was, and how Rhonda rated David on Empathy and Helpfulness.

I think you’ll find that both sessions are incredibly inspiring and wonderful sources of learning as well. I want to give a shout out to Rhonda for being so courageous and vulnerable and real, and for making this live therapy session possible! After you’ve heard Part 2 next week, let us know what you think!

You’ve all responded very positively to the live therapy we’ve done on the Feeling Good Podcasts, and you’ve asked for more. Rhonda and I are committed to making that happen for you, and we are both so grateful for your support, which means a lot to both of us. Thank you!

David and Rhonda



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.

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

I Goofed–But Some Exciting Personal Work Is Coming Soon!

I Deleted a Post I Published by Mistake Yesterday! 


High-Speed Trauma Treatment and 

High-Speed Treatment of Performance Anxiety

Are Coming Soon

Live TEAM Therapy!

Yesterday I pushed the “Publish” button by mistake while working on the show notes for an upcoming podcast on performance anxiety with my co-host, Rhonda. I immediately deleted the post, but some of you tried to link to it since it instantly appeared on Facebook. Then some of you got the message that the link was broken.

That’s the BAD NEWS! I apologize for my goof.

Here’s the GOOD NEWS! Many of you have asked for more live personal work on the Feeling Good Podcasts, so here’s what we’ve got coming up for you soon:

High-Speed Treatment of Trauma
Parts 1 and 2–Live TEAM Therapy with Sherrie.

These podcasts will be published on  on the next two Mondays, April 22 and 29th, 2019. We may even be able to provide you with a two-year follow up in a few weeks so you can see if the effects of the TEAM Therapy session lasted, and how Sherrie is feeling now, looking back on the work she did with David and Mike Christensen.

High-Speed Treatment of Performance Anxiety,
Parts 1 and 2–Live TEAM Therapy with Rhonda.

Have you ever struggled with performance anxiety, thinking you were going to goof up and fearing that other would judge or reject you because you weren’t good enough? If so, you won’t want to miss these riveting and incredibly real podcasts that will be published on Monday, May 27 and Monday, June 3, 2019.

I am very indebted to Sherrie and Rhonda for sharing their intensely personal feelings with all of us. I believe that there is a tremendous amount to be learned from observing actual therapy sessions, as opposed to role-play demonstrations, so you can ask yourself, questions like these: “Is this real,” and “How does it work?”

Whether you are a therapist hoping to improve your therapy skills, or a general citizen looking for a little self-help and inspiration, there is a great deal to be gained from observing live therapy sessions, both from a practical and from a spiritual perspective. And it would not be possible without individuals with great courage and generosity to share their inner selves with all of us! 

David and Rhonda

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.

If you like our jingle music and would like to support the composer Brett Van Donsel, you can visit his website here.

* * *

There will be two awesome summer intensives
for you this year! I hope you can join me at one of them!

July 15 – 18, 2019
Calgary four-day intensive
Sponsored by Jack Hirose & Assoc.


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