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

 

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.

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

* * *

There will be three awesome intensives
for you this summer and fall!

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

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

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

141: Two-Year Follow-Up with Mark: “I’ve been a failure as a father.”

141: Two-Year Follow-Up with Mark: “I’ve been a failure as a father.”

Are the rapid changes real? And do they last?

In the Spring of 2017, we published our first live TEAM therapy session so our listeners could peak behind closed doors to see an actual TEAM therapy session. Although the session lasted about two hours, we broke it up into seven consecutive podcasts including expert commentary on each segment of the session.

If you have not yet heard them, they were Feeling Good Podcast #29, published on April 10, 2017 through Podcast #35, on May 1, 2017 which was exactly two years from the time today’s podcast was recorded.

My co-therapist for this session was Dr. Jill Levitt, the Director of Clinical Training at the Feeling Good Institute in Mt. View, California. Our patient was a physician named Mark who’d had two goals for his life when he was growing up. The first goal was to become an outstanding doctor. The second goal was to have a large and loving family.

At the start of the session, Mark confessed that although he’d achieved his first goal, he’d failed to achieve his second goal because he wasn’t able to get close to his sons, especially his oldest son. At the start of the session he rated his relationship with his son on the Relationship Satisfaction Scale as only 2 out of 30, an extraordinarily low score. In addition, his scores on the Daily Mood Log indicated he felt very sad, unhappy, guilty, and ashamed. He also felt very inadequate, lonely, self-conscious, discouraged and defeated, frustrated, and somewhat resentful and upset, too. He confessed that he’d felt this way for years.

By the end of the session, these feelings had largely disappeared, and Mark was in a state of joy. In fact, we all felt elated—but will it last?

Many people complain that the rapid and dramatic change I experienced when I do TEAM therapy cannot be real, and cannot last, and that it has to be superficial or fake. They insist that real change can only unfold slowly, over years, or even after a decade or more of talk therapy. I respect critical thinking, and if you’d told me that such rapid and dramatic changes were possible ten years ago, before TEAM had emerged with all the new technology, I would have thought you were a con artist too!

Of course, others have argued the other side of the coin, pointing out that TEAM is research-based and genuinely appears to represent a significant, or even amazing breakthrough in psychotherapy for depression and anxiety, and that the changes ARE real. They have also argued that rapid change should be the goal of treatment, rather than just nursing people along for prolonged periods of time without tangible and measurable changes.

Rhonda and I had the wonderful opportunity of sitting down to interview Mark this last Sunday, following one of my Sunday hikes, so we could try to get some answers to these questions. We asked Mark whether he now felt that the changes were real, and how he’d been doing in the two years since the session. Did the changes last?

The interview with Mark was pretty mind-blowing. He confessed that at the start of the session he, too, was very skeptical that years and years of negative feelings could be reversed in a single therapy session. Then he summarized the session he’d had with Dr. Levitt and me in May of 2017, and his tears flowed once again, as he recalled his feelings of failure at being unable to connect with his sons.

Rhonda asked Mark what happened after the session. Did he just relapse back into the same way he’d been feeling?

Mark said that right after his session, there was an amazing and almost instantaneous transformation of his relationships with all of his sons. He used the Five Secrets of Effective Communication for the first time in his interactions with his sons, and they opened up immediately. He has felt extremely happy, over joyed, really, and reported that:

  1. The changes were VERY real!
  2. The changes DID last.
  3. His relationships with his children and grandchildren are now fantastic.

Rhonda and I are incredibly indebted to Mark for giving us such a transformative and inspiring interview! It probably won’t quiet all of the critics, but this information may be illuminating and inspiring for those who are intrigued by the many new developments in TEAM-CBT.

And my message to those who are still critical of TEAM, or critical of me—please continue to use your critical thinking and skepticism when you evaluate TEAM or any other approach. It was my own skepticism about the things I learned during my residency training and clinical work that actually led to the emergence of TEAM therapy. I don’t want to quiet my critics, I want to praise all of you!

David and Rhonda

Coming Up Soon

Follow-Up with Gary: Rhonda and David interview Gary, a veteran who David treated for PTSD several years ago at a trauma workshop. Gary describes how a repressed horrific memory from his childhood suddenly and forcefully re-emerged when he smelled some Queen Anne’s Lace that were in blossom, and what he experienced during his TEAM-CBT session with David.

Can severe PTSD be treated in a single therapy session? You’ll find out when you listen to this amazing and emotional interview with Gary!

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.

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

* * *

Would you like to learn how to do TEAM-CBT?

There will be three awesome intensives
for you this summer and fall!

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

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

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

Feedback on Bibliotherapy Podcast

Feedback on Bibliotherapy Podcast

Every day I receive wonderful emails from individuals like you who have heard the Feeling Good Podcasts or read my books or blogs. I just got this amazing email from a fellow named Pete after he listened to the latest podcast on Bibliotherapy. He kindly gave me permission to share it with all of you! 

Dear Doctor Burns,

Your book, Feeling Good, has changed my life. After stagnating for two and a half years in three different types of therapy and getting more depressed, I was shown ‘Feeling Good‘ by a social worker. I read on the page exactly what I was doing that created my anger and depression.

I also learnt what perfectionism really was and its negative effects. So I thought… “If I’m doing this to myself, (through my thinking) I’m going to stop doing it.”

That very moment saw the end of my depression, anger and general unhappiness. By removing my cognitive distortions, it was liberating to discover that I was not at the mercy of other people’s behavior. It wasn’t what other people were doing that was affecting me but rather it was my own thoughts!

I feel that I can cope with anything now. I also have recommended this book to many people so David gets the big bucks! A big thanks to David for all his hard work.

Pete

What Pete “discovered” is not new–Epictetus said the same thing nearly 2,000 years ago, and it is very basic–but it is SO basic that it’s hard to “get” at first. When you suddenly comprehend this notion, that we are all creating our own emotional reality at every moment of every day, you can experience enlightenment. It’s not just feeling a bit less depressed, but a transforming and remarkable experience that’s available to all of us!

One small warning. The Buddha said that we all drift in and out of enlightenment. This means that the negative distorted thoughts WILL return, for all of us! That’s why Relapse Prevention Training is so important.

To learn more about any topic, you can use the search function in the right-hand panel of every page on my website. You’ll really like it! 

David Burns, MD

* * *

Would you like to learn more about TEAM-CBT?

Check Out these Four Cool Upcoming Workshops for You!

The first is coming up SOON!

ACT FAST if you want to reserve a seat. 

TEAM-CBT Methods for Anxiety Disorders:

Step-by-Step Training for Therapists

David Burns, MD and Jill Levitt, PhD

When? Sunday May 19th, 2019

8:30 am-4:30 pm PST (11:30 am-7:30 pm EST)

Live Online One Day Workshop

$135, 7 CE hours available

Therapists at all levels are welcome.

Learn new skills to reduce resistance and boost patient’s motivation to change. Practice powerful, practical TEAM-CBT techniques to help your patients overcome every form of anxiety rapidly.

  • Lively, amusing, and immensely useful day of online training
  • Online support and dynamic small group training
  • David and Jill will use a combination of didactic teaching, live demonstrations, and breakout group practice with emphasis on skill building.
  • Workshop will stream live and is easily accessible from anywhere on any device with WiFi. To join, just click on the link provided before the workshop.
  • Completion of this workshop counts towards TEAM-CBT Level 1, 2 or 3 Certification
  • Awesome brief videos
  • Learn how to treat GAD, OCD, Panic Attacks, Social Anxiety, Phobias, PTSD, and more

We Are Sold Out in Person–

But Online Slots are Still Available

 

Don’t miss out on learning from David and Jill, the “dynamic duo”–

TEAM-CBT for Anxiety Disorders–

Step-by-Step Training for Therapists


AND

There will be three awesome intensives

for you this summer and fall!

July 15 – 18, 2019

Calgary, Canada four-day intensive

Sponsored by Jack Hirose & Assoc.

July 29 – August 1, 2019

South San Francisco four-day intensive

Sponsored by Praxis

November 4 – 7, 2019

Atlanta, Georgia four-day intensive

Sponsored by Praxis

Anxiety Workshop This Month! Online Slots Still Available!

Anxiety Workshop This Month! Online Slots Still Available!

Don’t miss out on learning from the “dynamic duo”–

David Burns, MD and Jill Levitt, PhD


TEAM-CBT Methods for Anxiety Disorders:

Step-by-Step Training for Therapists

Coming up SOON!

Sunday May 19th, 2019

8:30 am-4:30 pm PST (11:30 am-7:30 pm EST)

Live Online One Day Workshop

$135, 7 CE hours available

Therapists at all levels are welcome.

Learn new skills to reduce resistance and boost patient’s motivation to change. Practice powerful, practical TEAM-CBT techniques to help your patients overcome every form of anxiety rapidly.

  • Lively, amusing, and immensely useful day of online training
  • Online support and dynamic small group training
  • David and Jill will use a combination of didactic teaching, live demonstrations, and breakout group practice with emphasis on skill building.
  • Workshop will stream live and is easily accessible from anywhere on any device with WiFi. To join, just click on the link provided before the workshop.
  • Completion of this workshop counts towards TEAM-CBT Level 1, 2 or 3 Certification
  • Awesome brief videos
  • Learn how to treat GAD, OCD, Panic Attacks, Social Anxiety, Phobias, PTSD, and more

We Are Sold Out in Person–

But Online Slots are Still Available

REGISTER / LEARN MORE

Jill and I hope to see you at the workshop! We promise it will be fun, helpful, and exciting for you! 

David Burns, MD

Great Online Training Opportunity Starts Next Week–Act Fast!

Great Online Training Opportunity Starts Next Week–Act Fast!

13 Week State-of-the-Art Online TEAM-CBT Training Based on the Work of Dr. David Burns

Mike Christensen, MACP RCC

“I’ve benefited from these sessions with Mike professionally and personally more than most of my grad school training!” Thai-An Truong, LPC Oklahoma City, OK

Mondays, Starting 4/29/19
5 – 6:45 pm PST (8 – 9:45 pm EST)
21 CE*s, $720

  • Intimate live online learning environment
  • Course uses didactic training plus role play practice, with emphasis on building TEAM-CBT therapy skills
  • Completion of this course meets criteria for TEAM-CBT Therapist Level 1 Certification, or partial criteria for Level 2 or 3 Certification
  • Affordable online training, less than $35/hr for live, interactive, professional training

LEARN MORE

Mike is a totally awesome teacher, colleague, and friend. You will LOVE this class! Highly recommended! The photo below shows Mike and David at a recent Canadian workshop.

IMG_20180607_100631_1

 

* * *

I will be offering two summer intensives
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

 

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

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

I Deleted a Post I Published by Mistake Yesterday! 

but

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

 

134: Smashing Shyness: Part 1 of 2 Consecutive Shows on Social Anxiety

134: Smashing Shyness: Part 1 of 2 Consecutive Shows on Social Anxiety

How to Overcome Shyness

David and Rhonda begin with two emails (among many) from listeners asking for more help on the problem of social anxiety.

Email from “Margaret:”

Hi David,

How do you distinguish a personality disorder – say, for example, Avoidant Personality Disorder, from “just” (and I don’t mean that in a derogatory way) being depressed and anxious?

I ask because I have a strong suspicion that I may be suffering from Avoidant Personality Disorder, and I think if you knew my history you would probably agree that there are strong signs (I have been having problems from my early childhood until now, and I am 30 years old now).

Also, a further question – is it possible to have severe anxiety without feeling like the confrontation with the thing you’re afraid of means you’re going to die? I have isolated myself completely, and I have no social life in any sense of the word – my only real contact with the outside world is through my job, because it is a necessity for living. But it’s not because I think I’m going to die if I hang around people – I just very strongly dislike it and ‘shut down’ or ‘freeze’ due to all the thoughts in my head about being negatively judged and watched, so I prefer to avoid contact with people, and in situations where I’m forced to endure it, I’ll usually find ways to ‘avoid’ or escape the situation. 

There are many ways I do this – since I was very young I’ve had the habit of purposely looking annoyed, so that people would not approach me, even though I secretly wish they would (oh, the paradox..), and at work I will often be listening to music with earphones – both because the music calms my anxiety, and because it makes me appear less ‘available’ to other people. 

In situations where I cannot escape crowds – say, in the canteen during my lunch break – I’ll sit by myself, as far away from everyone else as I can, and leave as soon as I have taken the last bite of my food. In college I would often hide in the bathroom by myself during breaks, or I would avoid interpersonal contact in some other way. And so on and so forth. These are just a few examples – I could give you a million others. 

I am aware of my own behavioral patterns but still feel powerless to change them. It’s like being an observer, observing yourself committing the same mistakes over and over, but with an anxiety so strong that rationality alone is not enough to change the behavior. After 30 years of this, it’s getting old. I have never felt any other way, so I cannot fathom what it means to lead a normal life.

I have never had a friend in any usual sense of the term, and I literally never spend time with anyone in my spare time except for my parents. As a consequence, I have never learned or understood how to make friends, and I have never been in an intimate relationship, or taken part in any of the social activities that are normal to other people (parties, school dances, etc.) The simplest things are rocket science to me. So, I’m interested to know when a person crosses over from “simply” being depressed or anxious into having a personality disorder.

If you use any of this for a future episode I am fine with that – you can even quote me directly. But I only ask that you please don’t use my real name as to not jeopardize my job and so on. Thank you. 🙂

Kind regards,

Margaret

David explains that there is no such thing as “Avoidant Personality Disorder.” It is just an imaginary concept created by the American Psychiatric Association, and is applied to individuals with shyness that is so severe that it causes significant problems in their lives.

And yes, you can definitely deal with mild, moderate, or even extremely severe problems with the TEAM-CBT as well as exercises in my books, such as The Feeling Good Handbook, When Panic Attacks, and Intimate Connections.

They also read an email from “Abdul,” a podcast fan who’s been struggling with shyness.

I’m from Pakistan. Please make podcasts on shyness and public speaking and other anxiety issues.

I have anxiety shyness. My father has also anxiety. I know he is not happy. I also sometime feel exactly like him.

And one of my cousins is very much depressed. He is a cleaner in a garments shop. He always use to pack clothes all the time even if they are kept properly.

Dr burns please guide us. It would be very very helpful.

Sorry if I wrote anything unprofessional.

Thank you.

Several days later, David received an additional email from “Abdul:”

My social anxiety has returned back. In my office I feel very lonely. 

Here my negative thoughts:

  1. I should say something impressive.
  2. I’m good looking so I should not be anxious.
  3. I should talk to girls.
  4. I should say hi to people.
  5. I should mix with people.

Today and next week, David and Rhonda will describe how to treat / overcome shyness using TEAM-CBT. David explains that this is probably his favorite problem to treat, since he himself has struggled with every conceivable form of social anxiety, so he really knows how to defeat this problem. 

But to start out, David and Rhonda want to see how shy YOU are, so they administered David’s Shyness Test verbally to listeners. if you’d like to take the paper and pencil version, click here. You’ll also find the scoring.

How did you do on the Shyness Test?

Now let’s talk about how the treatment works. While you’re listening, you may enjoy following along on this PowerPoint presentation, which I will publish next week as well.

We’ll publish them next week, too. You’ll find Jason’s Daily Mood Log, the Recovery Circle, the Downward Arrow Technique, and more. These visuals will help your learning!

We always start with a Daily Mood Log, focusing on how you were thinking and feeling at a specific moment when you felt shy. We don’t just throw techniques at patients based on a problem (shyness) or diagnosis (Social Anxiety Disorder). We’re all different, so the treatment is highly individualized. 

Rhonda and David describe a shy young man  named Jason who wanted to flirt with an attractive woman checking groceries when he was inline at his local supermarket on a Saturday. However, he was flooded with Negative Thoughts and feelings, and by the time he got to the front of the line, he was so terrified that he avoided all eye contact with the checker, and didn’t even say a word to her, when she checked his groceries. He left the store feeling like a total loser.

David and Rhonda talk about reducing the Outcome and Process Resistance before trying to “help” Jason, or any one who’s anxious. Outcome Resistance means that Jason may have some pretty strong resistance to recovery, in spite of how much he’s suffered, even if all he had to do was to press a Magic Button and be instantly cured.

Process Resistance, in contrast, means that if Jason does want to recover, he’ll have to use some Interpersonal Exposure Techniques that will be frightening to him. Is he willing to do that if David agrees to treat his shyness?

David and Rhonda illustrate how to do Positive Reframing , listing all the really positive things about Jason’s negative thoughts and feelings.  They encourage listeners to turn off the podcast briefly, and see if they can list some positives before listening to the list that David and Rhonda generated. I’d encourage you to do that, too, while listening. Try it yourself before you see the “answers.”

They discuss how they might issue a Gentle Ultimatum, along with Dangling the Carrot and “Sitting with Open Hands,” to reduce Jason’s Process Resistance. 

Once Jason’s resistance has been reduced, they will go on to the M = Methods of the session, and focus on how to help Jason challenge the Negative Thoughts that Jason had while standing in line waiting to check his groceries.

Next week, they’ll describe the methods they selected and describe what happened when David used them during his session with Jason.

* Copyright ã 1996 by David D. Burns, M.D. Revised, 2019

Thanks for listening!

David and Rhonda

Subscribe

You can reach Dr. Burns at david@feelinggood.com. Dr. Rhonda Barovsky practices in Berkeley, 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

* * *

THREE COOL UPCOMING WORKSHOPS FOR YOU

TEAM-CBT Methods for Anxiety Disorders–

Step-by-Step Training for Therapists

by David D. Burns, MD and Jill Levitt, PhD

jill-david

Dr. Jill Levitt and I are offering what I think will be an outstanding workshop on the treatment of anxiety disorders on Sunday, May 19, 2019. Our Sunday workshops are tremendously fun, so consider attending if you are interested. 

The last Sunday workshop in February sold out quickly so register soon if you are interested. You can join in Palo Alto in person or online from anywhere in the world.

THERE WILL BE MANY EXPERT TRAINERS TO GUIDE THE ONLINE PARTICIPANTS DURING THE SMALL GROUP EXERCISES

WHEN: May 19, 2019, 8:30 am – 4:30 pm PST
(11:30 am-7:30 pm EST)

WHERE: Join us live online or in person at the Creekside Inn, Palo Alto, CA.

HOW MUCH DOES IT COST? $135,

WILL I GET CE CREDITS? YES! 7 CE hours available

WILL I GET CREDIT IN THE TEAM LICENSURE PROGRAM? YES!
Completion of this workshop also counts towards TEAM-CBT Level 1, 2 or 3 Certification

WHO CAN ATTEND? Therapists of all levels are welcome

CAN I REGISTER IF I’M NOT A THERAPIST? Sadly, the Feeling Good Institute wants to limit this workshop to therapists. But you can check out my summer intensives below. Non therapists have attended from time to time, and seemed to enjoy the intensives. I try to teach at a simple, clear, basic level, with little or no jargon.

WILL I HAVE FUN? Yes!

WILL I HAVE GET TO HANG OUT WITH SOME COOL COLLEAGUES? Yes!

WILL I GET AN AWESOME FREE BREAKFAST AND LUNCH? Yes!

You will love this lively, amusing, and immensely useful day of training with Drs. Burns, Levitt and the Feeling Good Institute Staff. The trainers will use a combination of didactic teaching, live demonstrations, video, and breakout group practice to enhance skill-building.

REGISTER / LEARN MORE

Act fast if you want to attend!

* * *

And there will be two awesome summer intensives for you this year!

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

 

130: What’s Fractal Psychotherapy? How do you help someone with Asperger’s?

130: What’s Fractal Psychotherapy? How do you help someone with Asperger’s?

A Random Strange Encounter—
and the Emergence of Fractal Psychotherapy

* * * PLUS  * * *

How can you help a family member with Asperger’s /

high-functioning Autistic spectrum problems? 

Today’s podcast features special guest host, Dr. Rhonda Barovsky!

I (David) begin this podcast with a description of a random encounter I had one day when I was walking in downtown Bryn Mawr, when my wife and I were still living in Pennsylvania. A young man started walking next to me and talking. He seemed friendly and told me that he he’d been studying Buddhism and was hoping to become a motivational speaker.

That might sound racist to call him a “black man.” I agree, and my colleague, Fabrice, asked, “If he’d been white, would you have called him a “young white man?”

I had to agree that I would not have described him as a young white man. But this was a very white area. If a young white man was walking in a neighborhood that was predominantly black, I think I might actually have described him as a “young white man.”

At any rate, I was curious, and told him I didn’t know much about Buddhism but found it interesting. He explained that according to Buddhism, we get reincarnated repeatedly, going through the life-death cycle over and over again. He also explained that if you could just change yourself for one brief moment, you would experience enlightenment and you’d no longer have to go through the life and death cycle and more. In addition, because the world is one, the entire world would be become enlightened at the same time. He cautioned that it’s extremely difficult to change yourself for even one brief moment, and this achievement typically requires hundreds or even thousands of reincarnations.

This was interesting, but seemed totally nutty, and I was concerned that his prospects as a motivational speaker might be a bit limited. How can one small change trigger enlightenment? And how could the entire universe become enlightened at the same moment?

Impossible! Right?

But when I began to think of what he’d said in the context of my clinical work, it began to make total sense. One of the most important ideas in TEAM-CBT is the concept of Specificity, one of the key steps in Paradoxical Agenda Setting. Here’s how it works. If you’re my patient, and you want help, I will ask you what specific problem you want help with. These are the four most common problems I see: depression, anxiety, relationship conflicts, or habits and addictions. Then I’ll ask you to zero in on one specific moment when you were struggling with that problem.

For example, if you want help with depression and low self-esteem, I’ll ask you to describe one moment when you were feeling down. It could be any moment at all—it might even be right now, sitting in my office (or reading this text).

Then I’d ask you to tell me exactly what you were thinking and feeling at that moment. You might be telling yourself, “I’m no good. I shouldn’t have screwed up! I’m always doing that! I’ll feel like this forever.” These thoughts actually cause the feelings of depression, shame, inferiority, and hopelessness.

In contrast, if you want help with anxiety, I will ask you to identify one specific moment when you were feeling anxious, worried, nervous, frightened or panicky. For example, you might have been feeling shy and insecure at a party, or terrified just before you had to take a test or give a talk at work. Or it might have been a moment when you were having a panic attack and feeling like you were on the verge of passing out or losing control and going crazy.

If you’ve been having trouble getting along with a friend or family member, I would ask you to describe one brief interaction you’ve had with the person you’re at odds with, and I’d ask you to write down one specific thing they said to you, end exactly what you said next.

For example, a podcast fan told me that his wife said, “You never listen.” He responded by saying, “That’s not true! I’m listening to you right now.” He was puzzled when she got even more upset and then the argument escalated!

I recently did a one-day workshop on the treatment of unwanted habits and addictions, like procrastination, overeating, excessive cell phone use, or drinking too much. I encouraged the audience members to focus on one specific moment when they felt tempted to procrastinate, binge, or have a drink, or give in to their habit / addiction, and to write down all the Tempting Thoughts that were going through their minds, like:

  • Oh, that beer looks SO GOOD!
  • I’ve had a hard day, I deserve it.
  • I’ll just take one little sip. That can’t hurt!
  • There’s a good basketball game on TV. It will be way more fun to watch if I enjoy a few beers!

In each case—of depression, anxiety, a relationship problem, or a habit / addiction—I focus on one brief and specific moment when my patient was upset and having that problem. There are two reason for this concept of Specificity:

  1. When we understand what was happening at that one brief moment, we will understand everything of importance about that problem. As it turns out, all of your suffering will be encapsulated in that one brief example. So, when you understand why you were feeling depressed or panicky or whatever at that specific moment, you will understand everything you need to know about why you get depressed, or panicky, or whatever at any moment of your life.
  2. In addition, the moment you learn how to change the way you were thinking, feeling at that one brief moment, you will become enlightened, and you will suddenly grasp the solution to all of your problems. That’s because that one specific problem will simply repeat itself over and over, in slightly different disguises, every time you are depressed, or anxious, or arguing with a friend or family member, or struggling with temptations. So, once you understand the solution to that problem at one specific moment, you will understand the solution to that type of problem at any time in your life.

For example, if you were having a conflict with a loved one, you will not only learn how to resolve that conflict at that specific moment, but you will learn how to resolve any conflict you have with that person, or with practically anybody.

Fabrice and David link this Specificity concept to the amazing insights of the new branch of “fractal geometry.” Fractal geometry is a revolutionary form of mathematics in which a very simple formula, or shape, gets reproduced an infinite number of times. In the process, it morphs from a simple geometric shape and suddenly becomes a complex picture. For example, it may turn into a stunning green fern, or a gorgeous, multi-colored parrot, or a breathtaking landscape. But if you zero in on the tiniest piece of the picture, it will always look exactly the same—the same simple design that started the process.

Similarly, in “fractal psychotherapy,” we zero in on one very brief moment of your life, but the formula—or error—that caused you to become upset at that moment will always be the very same error you make every time you feet inferior or anxious or angry or tempted. And once you’ve changed at that one brief moment, you really will experience enlightenment! And your entire universe will become enlightened as well!

Fabrice provides another metaphor, that of a hologram. A hologram is a photograph that allows to display a fully 3-dimensional picture of an object. The hologram works differently from a regular photograph. Citing from Wikipedia, “When a photograph is cut in half, each piece shows half of the scene. When a hologram is cut in half, the whole scene can still be seen in each piece.” This remains true as you fragment the hologram into smaller and smaller pieces. So you could say that your problem is a kind of hologram of all the problems in your life, in a single moment so you can see the pattern that is repeated in many other situations.

David provides an example of how this works, using an example provided by a podcast fan we’ll call Janine. Janine was convinced that her husband couldn’t deal with feelings because he had “Asperger’s / high level autism.” David asked Janine for a brief simple exchange between Janine and her husband. what, exactly, did he say to her, and what exactly, did she say next?

That brief moment is all we need to understand her problem; and things suddenly began to look radically different when we examined how she responded to her husband!

You can see the first two steps of Janine’s Relationship Journal if you can click here.

It turned out she was right–someone definitely WASN’T dealing with feelings? But who? You’ll see two spiritual principles brought to life in the Relationship Journal.

  1. We create our personal reality at every moment of every day.
  2. We like to blame others for the problems in our relationships instead of pinpointing our own role in the problem.
  3. Intimacy, and enlightenment, require a painful death of the ego, or self. When you “look inward” for the cause of the problem, instead of blaming, you will find the answer you’ve been looking for–but the answer can sometimes be pretty painful.
  4. If you’re willing to let your ego, or “self,” die, you will receive a pretty awesome reward in heaven. But this heaven occurs when you are still alive!

You’ll see Rhonda model a more effective response using the Five Secrets of Effective Communication, as well as one of the advanced communication techniques called “Multiple Choice Empathy.”

David

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Dr. Fabrice Nye currently practices in Redwood City, California and treats individuals throughout the world (but not across U.S. state lines) via teletherapy. You can reach him at fabrice@life.net. You can reach Dr. Burns at david@feelinggood.com. If you like our jingle music and would like to support the composer Brett Van Donsel, you may download it here.

* * *

THREE COOL UPCOMING WORKSHOPS FOR YOU

TEAM-CBT Methods for Anxiety Disorders–

Step-by-Step Training for Therapists

by David D. Burns, MD and Jill Levitt, PhD

May 19, 2019

You can attend in person or from home via Live Streaming

Check it out now!

THERE WILL BE MANY EXPERT TRAINERS TO GUIDE
THE ONLINE PARTICIPANTS IN THE SMALL GROUP EXERCISES

Coming Soon!

Act fast if you want to attend! The February 10 workshop habits and addictions sold out early.

And there will be two awesome summer intensives for you this year!

THE INTENSIVES ARE ALMOST ALWAYS
THE BEST WORKSHOPS OF THE YEAR!

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

129: Flexing the Mindfulness Meditation Muscle

129: Flexing the Mindfulness Meditation Muscle

What is Mindfulness? Why Meditate?

In this role-reversal of the traditional Feeling Good Podcast, Dr. David Burns and his special guest, Dr. Rhonda Barovsky, interview Dr. Fabrice Nye, your beloved podcast host, on the topic of Mindfulness and Meditation, which are currently popular with the therapeutic community.

Fabrice answers questions like these:

  1. What’s mindfulness? How does it differ from meditation?
  2. What’s the history of mindfulness as well as meditation? Did it originate with the Buddha, or did it date back even earlier?
  3. What are some of the goals and potential benefits of mindfulness?
  4. Why specific exercises can you do to develop greater mindfulness ?
  5. Why is mindfulness helpful? How does it work?
  6. Some people meditate in silence for prolonged times, like ten days, for example. What is the goal here?
  7. Are there any dangers of meditation?
  8. How does mindfulness differ from yoga, relaxation training, and self-hypnosis?
  9. Some people seem to love and benefit from meditation, and others find it uninteresting or even annoying. Why is this? What’s the difference in these two groups of people? Is it okay not to be interested in meditation, or is something that everyone “should” do?
  10. The goal of mindfulness seems to be learning to deal more effectively with stressful thought and feelings. Does it deal with motivation and the resistance to change? TEAM-CBT makes us aware of the incredible importance of resistance, and provides many methods for reducing or eliminating resistance before you try any Method to “help” the patient. Does Mindfulness Meditation deal with resistance, or would it best be viewed as a method that can help individuals who are already strongly motivated to invest time and effort in their personal growth?

David

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Dr. Fabrice Nye currently practices in Redwood City, California and treats individuals throughout the world (but not across U.S. state lines) via teletherapy. You can reach him at fabrice@life.net. You can reach Dr. Burns at david@feelinggood.com. If you like our jingle music and would like to support the composer Brett VanDonsel, you may download it here.

* * *

THREE COOL UPCOMING WORKSHOPS FOR YOU

TEAM-CBT Methods for Anxiety Disorders–

Step-by-Step Training for Therapists

by David D. Burns, MD and Jill Levitt, PhD

May 19, 2019

You can attend in person or from home via Live Streaming

Check it out now!

THERE WILL BE MANY EXPERT TRAINERS TO GUIDE
THE ONLINE PARTICIPANTS IN THE SMALL GROUP EXERCISES

Coming Soon!

Act fast if you want to attend! The February 10 workshop habits and addictions sold out early.

And there will be two awesome summer intensives for you this year!

THE INTENSIVES ARE ALMOST ALWAYS
THE BEST WORKSHOPS OF THE YEAR!

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

End Habits and Addictions!

End Habits and Addictions!

Dr. Jill Levitt and I are offering what I think will be an outstanding workshop on the treatment of unwanted habits and addictions on Sunday, February 10. Our Sunday workshops are tremendously fun, so consider attending if you are interested. You can come in-person or join online.

During the program, you will have the chance to work on one of your own habits / addictions  so you will get the double benefit of learning cool new treatment techniques and doing some personal healing at the same time!

You will develop a deeper understanding of Outcome and Process Resistance, and you will learn how to deal with this twin-horned Devil. As you know, TEAM-CBT features many innovative techniques to reduce Outcome and Process Resistance.

Here’s the BAD news. Very few therapists have the skills, insights, or mind-set to deal with resistance, and this is the main cause of therapeutic failure in the treatment of depression, anxiety disorders, relationship problems, and habits and addictions.

Here’s the GOOD news. Once you acquire these skills, your clinical effectiveness will soar!

Here are the specifics–

Coming Soon!

Act fast if you want to attend!

Don’t miss out learning from David Burns, MD, one of the great pioneers of Cognitive Therapy, and from the fabulous, Jill Levitt, PhD, Director of Training at the Feeling Good Institute in Mt. View, CA!

TEAM-CBT Methods for Unwanted Habits and Addictions: Step-by-Step Training for Therapists

WHEN: February 10th, 2019, 8:30 am – 4:30 pm PST (11:30 am-7:30 pm EST)

WHERE: Join us live online or in person at the Creekside Inn, Palo Alto, CA.

HOW MUCH DOES IT COST? $135,

WILL I GET CE CREDITS? YES!
7 CE hours available

WILL I GET CREDIT IN THE TEAM LICENSURE PROGRAM? YES!
Completion of this workshop also counts towards TEAM-CBT Level 1, 2 or 3 Certification

WHO CAN ATTEND? Therapists of all levels are welcome

CAN I REGISTER IF I’M NOT A THERAPIST? In my opinion (Dr. Burns), although the workshop is geared for therapists, it will be taught in a clear and basic way that anyone can benefit from. Please check with the Feeling Good Institute if you want to attend.

CAN I WORK ON MY OWN HABIT / ADDICTION? Absolutely!
Heal yourself, heal your clients!

WILL I HAVE FUN? Yes!

WILL I HAVE SOME GREAT FREE BREAKFAST AND LUNCH? Yes!

WILL I HANG OUT WITH SOME COOL PEOPLE? Yes!

You will also:

  • Learn new skills to reduce resistance and boost the motivation to change. This is THE key to the treatment of any habit or addiction.
  • Learn how to use Dr. Burns’ powerful Decision-Making Tool and Triple Paradox Technique.
  • Practice and master the Devil’s Advocate Technique to help you and your patients overcome difficult-to-stop habits and addictions to drugs, alcohol, overeating, procrastination, and more.

You will love this lively, amusing, and immensely useful day of training with Drs. Burns, Levitt and the Feeling Good Institute Staff. The trainers will use a combination of didactic teaching, live demonstrations, and breakout group practice to enhance skill-building.

This wonderful workshop will stream live and is easily accessible from anywhere in the world on any device with WiFi. To join, just click on the link provided before the workshop.

REGISTER / LEARN MORE

* * *

If you can’t join us for the addictions workshop, consider this cool program on the treatment of anxiety disorders in the spring:

TEAM-CBT Methods for Anxiety Disorders–

Step-by-Step Training for Therapists

by David D. Burns, MD and Jill Levitt, PhD

May 19, 2019

You can attend in person or from home via Live Streaming

Stay tuned for more details or check it out now!