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147: High-Speed Treatment of PTSD?

147: High-Speed Treatment of PTSD?

Is it REALLY Possible? And Can the Effects Last?

Rhonda and David interview Garry, a veteran who David treated for PTSD several years ago at a trauma workshop in Michigan. Garry 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. He suddenly remembered how a school bus he was riding home on hit a horse with a boy, Tommy, who was riding bareback, when the horse suddenly lurched in front of the bus. Tommy was Gary’s classmate.

The bus driver said, “Don’t look!” But Garry watched as his friend, who was trapped under the dead horse, “bled out” and died.

Once this totally forgotten memory re-emerged decades later, roughly 18 months prior to Garry’s session with David, it constantly intruded into Garry’s every interaction for the next year and a half. Garry says,

“I was seeing Tommy all the time, and having symptoms of anxiety, intrusive memory and dissociation experiences. I would often see the image of Tommy lying on the pavement superimposed over conversations I was happened with people in an intimate way. It was quite disturbing and anxiety provoking.”

Garry tearfully describes what he experienced during his TEAM-CBT session with David, including his dissociation at one point during the session, and the profound changes he experienced by the end of the session.

Can severe PTSD be treated in a single therapy session? Did Garry really improve? Were the changes real? Did they last? And how did the therapy work?

You’ll find out when you listen to this amazing and inspiring interview! We are incredibly indebted to Garry for his courage and openness to share this experience with all of you!

 

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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.

138: Rapid Trauma Treatment: Live Therapy with Sherrie, Part 2 of 2.

138: Rapid Trauma Treatment: Live Therapy with Sherrie, Part 2 of 2.

Hi podcast fans,

This is the second of two podcasts on the Story of Sherrie, who experienced some of the symptoms of PTSD after a traumatic event involving her husband. In the first podcast, we played the T, E, and A portions of the session. In this podcast, we will play the M = methods as well as the conclusion of this amazing session. 

Dr. Rhonda and I will make some teaching comments on the session as well.

If you’d like to see Sherrie’s end-of-session Daily Mood Log, click here

After the session, Sherrie received some notes from others in the audience.

Sherrie, 

I think what stood out for me in that session was your authenticity. No mask, no defenses. I fell like we can’t really appreciate what our clients are doing when they open themselves up to face their fears until we do it honestly ourselves, and you did–in front of all of us! I feel it was a gift you gave us and I thank you!

Candice 

Here’s another note for Sherrie:

Sherrie, You Rock–I love you–and never met you before tonight. 🙂 

You cried.

You laughed.

You said No. 

You said Yes. 

You woke up!

You’re a Brave Woman!

What a lucky husband you’ve got!

Thank you.

A sister, a colleague, 

Rita

And another.

To Sherrie

Your session–that was brave!

Shows strong commitment to yourself and to the people you work with. You will be more effective stronger, real, fee, and go even deeper with your clients.

Mary

If you want to send a message to Sherrie, use the comment feature below, and I will be sure to forward your thoughts to her! 

When people learn about the incredibly rapid recoveries that I am so often seeing with TEAM, they always ask about whether the effects last,or whether the dramatic changes are just a flash in the pan. Of course, Relapse Prevention Training is critical, as negative thoughts and feelings will tend to come back over and over for all of us. That’s just part of the human experience. And if you know how to deal with these occasional “relapses,” you don’t have to worry about them, because you’ll know how to crush the negative thoughts and feelings pretty fast.

At any rate, Sherrie’s session was more than two years ago, and here’s an email I got from her a couple weeks ago:

Hi David. I always enjoy hearing from you!

I agree for you to show the video at the summer intensives, I am actually quite proud of it all so have nothing to hide! You can also do it as a podcast, whatever is workable. I have looked at the podcasts you sent and they look wonderful so will certainly listen to what I can over time!

Okay, so for an update and thank you for asking.  The year after my cancer, my husband had his heart attack, so that was four years ago. He is, thank G-d, wonderfully healthy. There is no heart damage and he can do everything he wants to do. And he is even getting better at taking his pills, so I don’t have to remind him so much.

I have a question for you as what you do is not what I can or want to do. I think you said you were 75 when we met in the training. So what I don’t get is how do you have the energy to see clients, write books, do podcasts, travel all over and do workshops etc? How do you fit all that in? You must want to!

All the best and enjoy spring!

Sherrie

Thanks for listening! David and Rhonda

Oh, my secret is that I am almost always doing what I want to do. Teaching and treating colleagues with TEAM give me tremendous energy, except when I screw up, which is fairly often! But I’m used to making errors by now, and I really love what I do, so I don’t think of it as “work,” but more like having fun hanging out with friends. It is a bit like when you were a kid and got to go out and play after dinner! That was THE BEST!

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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

137: Rapid Trauma Treatment: Live Therapy with Sherrie, Part 1 of 2.

137: Rapid Trauma Treatment: Live Therapy with Sherrie, Part 1 of 2.

Hi Podcast Fans,

There have been many requests for more podcasts on how we would treat trauma, using the TEAM-CBT model. I have done at least 25 workshops on the treatment of trauma in the past several years, and always do a live therapy demonstration at the end of day 1, so people can see with their own eyes how TEAM-CBT actually works. About three years ago, I did a live demonstration with a wonderful woman named Sherrie who was extremely anxious about a traumatic event involving her husband a year earlier. Sherrie kindly and courageous gave me permission to share the audio tract with you. I think you’ll really enjoy the session! I want to thank Sherrie for giving us this gift! I also want to thank my co-therapist during the session, Mike Christensen, who is Canada’s top expert in TEAM-CBT. Here’s our photo at the workshop:

While you are listening, you may want to take a look at Sherrie’s Daily Mood Log, which describes the trauma, along with her negative thoughts and feelings. We will publish the first half of the session in this podcast, and the end of the session in the next podcast. We’ll also include a live, three-year follow-up with Sherrie that we recorded recently.

Dr. Rhonda and I will make some teaching comments on the session as well.

David and Rhonda

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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.

049: Live Therapy with Marilyn, Part 1, The Dark Night of the Soul

049: Live Therapy with Marilyn, Part 1, The Dark Night of the Soul

You FEEL the Way You THINK! . . . Or Do You?

The next three podcasts feature a therapy session with Marilyn, a woman recently diagnosed with Stage 4 (terminal) non-smoker’s lung cancer. We are enormously grateful to Marilyn for her courage and generosity in making this extremely private and intensely personal experience available to all of us. I believe the session will inspire you, and give you courage in facing losses, traumas and problems in your own life.

At the beginning of the therapy, Marilyn is in shock, experiencing, quite understandably, extreme levels of depression, anxiety, shame, loneliness, hopelessness, and anger. What’s the cause of her negative feelings?

According to the theory behind cognitive therapy, people are disturbed not be events, but rather by the ways we think about them. This notion goes back nearly 2,000 years to the teachings of the Greek Stoic philosopher, Epictetus, who emphasized the incredible importance of our thoughts—or “cognitions”—in the way we feel.

When you’re upset, you’ve probably noticed that your mind will usually be flooded with negative thoughts. For example, when you’re depressed, you may be beating up on yourself and telling yourself that you’re a loser, and when you’re anxious you’re probably thinking that something terrible is about to happen. However, it may not have dawned on you that your thoughts are the actual cause of your negative feelings.

In addition, you may not be aware that your negative thoughts will nearly always be distorted, illogical, or just plain unrealistic. In fact, in my first book, Feeling Good, I listed the cognitive distortions, such as All-or-Nothing Thinking, Overgeneralization, and hidden Should Statements, that trigger negative feelings. The notion that depression, anxiety, and event anger result entirely from your thoughts, and not upsetting events, can be enormously liberating, because we usually cannot change what’s actually happening, but we can learn to change the way we think—and feel.

But is this notion really true? Can’t traumatic events upset us? And can we really change the way we think and feel when the circumstances of our lives are genuinely awful? Or is this just a lot of pop psychology?

A lot of people don’t buy into the notion only your thoughts can upset you. It just seems to fly in the face of common sense. For example, you might argue that when something genuinely horrible happens, such as failure, losing a loved one, or being diagnosed with terminal cancer, it is the actual event and not your thoughts, that triggers the negative feelings. And you might also argue, perhaps even with some irritation, that your thoughts are definitely not distorted, since the actual event—such as the cancer—is real.

Would you agree? I know that’s what I used to think! If you’re interested, and you have not yet listened to the first Marilyn podcast, you can take the brief poll on the home page and let us know what you think!

The next three podcasts will give you the chance to examine your thinking on this topic, because Marilyn is struggling with a negative event that is absolutely real and devastating. At the end of the third podcast, you’ll have the chance to take the poll again.

In this podcast, Drs. Burns and May go through the T = Testing and E = Empathy phases of the TEAM-CBT session. If you’d like, you can review the Brief Mood Survey and Daily Mood Log that Marilyn completed just before the session began. You will see that her negative feelings are all severe, and that her negative thoughts focus on several themes, including

  • Her fears of cancer, pain, and death.
  • Her thoughts of spiritual inadequacy, doubting her belief in God, wondering if there really is an afterlife, and feeling that she’s perhaps been duped by religions.
  • Her feelings of incompleteness at never having had a truly loving life partner.
  • Her intense self-criticisms, beating up on herself for excessive drinking during her life.

The next Feeling Good Podcast with Marilyn will include the A = (Paradoxical) Agenda Setting phase of the TEAM therapy session, where David and Matt will attempt to reduce Marilyn’s resistance and enhance her motivation using the Miracle Cure Question, the Magic Button, the Positive Reframing Technique, and the Magic Dial. The third and final podcast will include the M = Methods phase, where David and Matt will encourage Marilyn to challenge her negative thoughts using Identify the Distortions, the Paradoxical Double Standard Technique, the Externalization of Voices, and the Acceptance Paradox, followed by Relapse Prevention Training, the end of session testing, and wrap-up.

Although the subject matter of these podcasts is exceptionally grim and disturbing, we believe that Marilyn’s story may transform your thinking and touch your heart in a deeply personal way. Because Marilyn is a spiritual person who suddenly finds herself without hope or faith, and totally lost, we have called part one, The Dark Night of the Soul, a concept from William Johnston’s classic book on religious mysticism entitled, The Inner Eye of Love.

We are hopeful these broadcasts will stimulate comments and discussions on the philosophical and spiritual messages embedded in the Marilyn session from you and our other listeners. Is it true that only our thoughts can upset us? And is the total loss of faith a necessary step on the path to enlightenment?

Live Session (Marilyn) — The Dark Night of the Soul (Part 1)

 

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