Feeling Good Podcast | TEAM-CBT - The New Mood Therapy podcast

260: TEAM-CBT Games, featuring Amy, Heather, and Brandon

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Podcast 260 TEAM-CBT Games, featuring Amy, Heather, and Brandon

In today’s podcast, three of our most creative TEAM therapists describe a number of innovative games they’ve created to facilitate learning key TEAM-CBT techniques in group settings. Our guests are:

Amy Specter: Amy is a Level 3 certified TEAM therapist, licensed marriage and family therapist and credentialed school counselor. She works with at-risk youth in schools and has an online private practice specializing in shyness and breakup recovery. She can be reached at amy@amyspecter.com. For a free copy of Flirty Dice or to purchase Tune In, Tune Up head over to https://www.feelinggreattherapycenter.com/

 

Amy Spector

Brandon Vance, MD: Brandon is a Level 4 certified TEAM trainer and therapist for individuals, couples and groups.  His most recent TEAM related project is an international book club to support people in reading Feeling Great. He can be reached at: brandonvance@gmail.com

Brandon Vance, MD

Heather Clague, MD

Heather Clague, MD is a Level 4 certified TEAM therapist and psychiatrist who works in private practice and at Highland General Hospital in Oakland.  In addition to teaching and writing about TEAM CBT, she runs Berkeley Improv that holds in-person and online improv classes for all levels. You can reach Heather at: heatherclaguemd.com

Tune In / Tune Up, a card game which features spontaneous speaking situations using the Five Secrets of Effective Communication.  Heather, Brandon, and Amy guided us while we played and explained each of the following games during the podcast:

  • Love Feast, where you make fake, over the top introductions of other people in the group
  • Flirty Dice, where you have to flirt with some using a specified facial expression, a specified type of question, and a specific affect.
  • Future Projection, where you talk back to a Negative Thought from the perspective of your wiser, happier self from the future.

The group also discussed how these types of games can help individuals with social anxiety develop greater courage, spontaneity, and interpersonal skills.

We also did a group Shame Attacking exercise and briefly described the use of this tool in the treatment of social anxiety.

You can also reach Heather, Brandon, and Amy at the Feeling Great Therapy Center, where you’ll find links to Tune In / Tune Up, Flirty Dice and more Improv Games.

Thanks!

Rhonda and David

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    264: How to Get Laid! (With a Little Help from the Five Secrets of Effective Communication)

    1:09:13

      How to Get Laid! (With a Little Help from the Five Secrets of Effective Communication) One of our top TEAM-CBT teachers and therapists, Thai-An Truong, LPC, LADC from Oklahoma City, is featured in today’s podcast. Thai-An is the owner of Lasting Change Therapy, LLC, a TEAM-CBT group practice in Oklahoma that focuses on using TEAM-CBT to help women overcome depression, anxiety, and relationship problems, so they can live happier lives and have more satisfying relationships. She is passionate about working with postpartum women after overcoming her own personal struggles with postpartum depression and anxiety. She is also passionate about spreading TEAM-CBT and training therapists in this awesome treatment approach. Thai-An suggested a podcast on how one could use the Five Secrets of Effective Communication to deal with critical comments from your spouse or partner during marital conflicts. She submitted specific examples from several troubled couples she has worked with, and Rhonda submitted an example as well. Wife continues to bring up things that needs to be addressed, e.g., baby's medical needs, how he needs to set boundaries with his mom, precautions to take because of the pandemic. Husband says: "All you do is talk about stressful things. You don't even care about being romantic anymore." Wife’s typical response: "How can I be romantic with you when you aren't doing what you need to for our family?" Sex often comes up with every couple, and the criticism is typically from the husband, as in the first couple and this second couple as well. Husband says: "You never want to have sex. It's like we're roommates instead of husband and wife." Wife’s typical response: "I'm tired, and I can't just get in the mood when you haven't been nice to me all day." This couple had been trying unsuccessfully to have a baby. The wife was very critical of her husband and said: “If it wasn’t for you, I’d have a baby. I should have married someone else." Husband’s response: He said nothing and walked away. Infidelity: In this couple, the wife had an affair three years ago and the husband continues to bring it up when they get into arguments. Husband says: "Oh, you say I'm so bad because I did x. How about you cheating on me? You're the one who did the worst possible thing, and I can never trust you again." Her typical response: "It's been 3 years, why can't you just let it go so we can move on with our lives? I'm tired of you throwing this shit in my face all the time." During the podcast, we critiqued the responses to the criticisms in these four cases, using the EAR algorithm. It was easy to point out that the responses of the partner who was criticized typically failed in all three categories: No effective E = Empathy. No effective A = Assertiveness. No effective R = Respect. We also spelled out the consequences of these responses to criticism, and showed how the respondents were actually forcing their spouses to treat them in exactly the way they were complaining about. Then we used the “Intimacy Exercise” to practice more effective responses, based on the Five Secrets. This is, by far, the best way to learn the Five Secrets. Your Turn to Practice Now, here’s another example that Thai-An provided, and you, the listener, can practice with it. This wife was talking about how her friend had hurt her feelings. The husband typically goes into the advice-giving and problem-solving mode. Her criticism: "You suck at listening. I don't need you to fix it." His typical response: "I'm just trying to help." First, see if you can explain why the husband’s response was ineffective, using the EAR acronym. Ask yourself: Did he use E = Empathy and acknowledge how she was thinking and feeling? Did he use A = Assertiveness and express how he was feeling at that moment? Did he use R = Respect to convey some warmth, respect, or love during the heat of battle? Next, ask yourself about the consequences of his response. What will his wife think? What will she conclude? How will she feel? How will she likely respond to his defensiveness? Finally, put yourself in his shoes and see if you can write out a more effective response, using the Five Secrets of Effective Communication Thanks! Rhonda, Thai-An, and David
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    263: OCD in Kids, Featuring Dr. Taylor Chesney

    1:14:56

    Photo features Taylor and her husband, Gregg, who is an ER / ICU physician in NYC. 263:  OCD in Kids, Featuring Dr. Taylor Chesney Rhonda starts this podcast by reading two incredible endorsements from fans like you. Thanks so much for the many kind and thoughtful emails we receive daily! Today’s podcast features Dr. Taylor Chesney, the founder and director of the Feeling Good Institute of New York City. Taylor was a member of my Tuesday training group at Stanford for several years during her doctoral training in psychology. Then she and her husband, Gregg, who is an ICU / intensive care unit doctor, returned home to NYC where she opened her clinical practice. We have featured Taylor on a number of two previous podcasts: Corona Cast 4 (published 4-09-202) and Corona Cast 6 (published 4-30-2020). We always benefit greatly from Taylor’s wisdom, warmth, and superb teaching. Taylor specializes in TEAM-CBT for children and teens, and tells us today about the upsurge in OCD (Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder) in young people, and how she approaches this problem using TEAM-CBT along with some family therapy. Taylor describes OCD as a pattern of intrusive thoughts, fears, and images that trigger feelings of anxiety. In addition, the patient engages in a series of repetitious, supposititious behaviors in an effort to avoid the fear. Sometimes the parents may get caught up in the child’s fears as well and engage in the compulsive rituals as well. The fears Taylor sees in children are similar to the fears reported by adults with OCD, such as the fear of contamination, and the compulsive habit of repeated handwashing, and more. But especially common in kids are fears that loved ones, like parents, won’t come home or will be hurt. Common OCD rituals in children include wanting things to be a certain way; for example, organizing your desk meticulously, arranging your pencils, and so forth. The patient often feels that he or she can’t stop or something terrible will happen. Another common fear is getting sick, and needing repeated reassurance that the food the child is eating is safe. David asked about the Hidden Emotion Model that is common and often helpful in adults with OCD, or any anxiety disorder. For example, if a child fears that a parent will be hurt, might this suggest that the child has repressed angry feelings toward the parent? Taylor confirmed that this dynamic was, in fact, common in children as well as adults with OCD. She emphasized the need for an alliance with the parents as a part of the treatment team. This might include urging the child to express his or her anger, wants, and so forth. Taylor speculated that the increase she’s seen in OCD may be the result of the COVID pandemic, and the uncertainty we all feel. Children have a great need for love, empathy, structure, and certainty, and OCD is just one pattern that the increase in anxiety can take. At the start of treatment, Taylor does an initial intake session with the parents, followed by two sessions with the child, and in both cases attempts to empathize and form an alliance via the Five Secrets of Effective Communication. She also wants to find out who the “patient” really is. Who is asking for help? Is it the child? Or the parents? She also wants to know who will do the work of the therapy. If the child doesn’t see the OCD symptoms as a problem, she will work with the parents. Sometimes there’s a mismatch as to what the problem is. The parents might want the child to get help with procrastination on schoolwork or household chores, but the child might want help with shyness and relationships with other kids. She describes how she uses TEAM to show the child that his or her symptoms reflect his or her core values, but that they can turn down the intensity of the fears using the Magic Dial. She emphasized a role for psychoeducation in the treatment as well, explaining the evolutionary and protective role of anxiety. It’s just that sometimes the volume gets turned up to unnecessary levels. She said that the parents are a huge part of the treatment, since the problem “lives in the house,” and the parents may fear what might happen if the child does not engage in the rituals. And, of course, Exposure and Response Prevention are important keys to successful treatment, just as they are in adults. Taylor described a compelling example of a teenager with an intense fear of vomiting in the middle of the night, who had resorted to a variety of rituals including avoiding dinner, secretly sleeping in his bathroom just in case. and more. Together, she guided him in the creation of a hierarchy of exposures as well as Positive Reframing of his symptoms. He successfully completed his treated in just six sessions. Taylor offers a 12-week introductory course on TEAM-CBT with children and adolescents, and is a superb and highly esteemed teacher. For more information, you can contact Taylor@FeelingGoodInstitute.com or look for her on the website of the www,FeelingGoodInstitute.com Rhonda and David
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    262: A Country Doctor, Part 2 of 2: "Nothing I do makes a difference!"

    1:51:33

    A Country Doctor, Part 2 of 2 A = Assessment of Resistance At the end of the moving and tearful empathy phase, we asked Jillian about her goals for the session, which included the ability to enjoy my work to give away all of my certificates set limits with my patients feel happy with what I do not have to fear my work anymore! After Jillian said she would be willing to press the Magic Button to achieve all these goals instantly if we had one, we suggested Positive Reframing first. to see what might be lost of she suddenly achieved all these goals. You can creview the Positive Reframing that we did together. Here’s Jillian’s Emotions table at the end of Positive Reframing, showing her goals for each emotion when we used the Magic Dial. The idea is to dial each feeling down to a lower level that would reduce your suffering while still allowing you to preserve all the awesome things about you!   Emotions % Now % Goal % After Emotions % Now % Goal % After Sad, blue, down, unhappy 80 15   Embarrassed, foolish, humiliated, self-conscious 50 10   Anxious, nervous 90 20   Hopeless, discouraged, pessimistic, despairing 100 0   Bad 70 0   Frustrated, stuck, thwarted, defeated 90 5   Inferior, inadequate, incompetent 95 5   Angry, mad, resentful, annoyed, irritated, upset, furious 100 10     Jillian said that the Positive Reframing really opened her up, especially when we read the list of positives out loud. It kind of shocked her in a good way so see that her negative feelings were not really problems, defects, or symptoms of one or more “mental disorders,” but the expression of what was most beautiful and awesome about her as a human being, and as a physician. This Positive Reframing is one of the unique aspects of TEAM-CBT. Although we are encouraging the patient to keep the symptoms, rather than pressing the Magic Button that makes them disappear, it paradoxically eliminates or drastically reduces the resistance to change, and opens the door to the possibility of ultra-rapid recovery. M = Methods We asked Jillian what Negative Thought she wanted to work on first, and she chose #9: “I’m not having a big enough impact.” She believed this thought 100%. First, we asked Jillian to identify and explain the cognitive distortions in this thought, and she focused on these: Should Statement; Self-Blame, All-or-Nothing Thinking, Mental Filtering, and Discounting the Positive. In retrospect, I think I spotted two additional distortions: Emotional Reading (I feel I’m not having a positive impact, so I must not be having a positive impact) and Mind-Reading (my patients expect me to have the answers to all their problems and judge me when I don’t have all the answers.) Then we challenged the Negative Thought, and Jillian she was able, with a little help and a role reversal, to crush it, as you can see here. Usually, crushing one Negative Thought is about all you really have to do, because once the patient blows one Negative Thought out of the water, there is usually a kind of “cognitive click,” and the brain suddenly changes, and all the positive circuits suddenly get fired up. It’s amazing to behold, and you will hear it for yourself! The damn did suddenly break, and Jillian could clobber the rest of her Negative Thoughts fairly easily, using a combination of Self-Defense, Self-Acceptance, and a lot of the CAT technique. She suddenly appeared to be a radically and delightfully different person during the Externalization of Voices. You can see her final Daily Mood Log here. You can see her feelings on the Emotions table at the end of the session. Emotions % Now % Goal % After Emotions % Now % Goal % After Sad, blue, down, unhappy 80 15 0 Embarrassed, foolish, humiliated, self-conscious 50 10 0 Anxious, nervous 90 20 0 Hopeless, discouraged, pessimistic, despairing 100 0 0 Bad 70 0 0 Frustrated, stuck, thwarted, defeated 90 5 0 Inferior, inadequate, incompetent 95 5 0 Angry, mad, resentful, annoyed, irritated, upset, furious 100 10 0 Jillian’s scores on my Happiness Test on the Brief Mood Survey also soared to 100% and her ratings of Jill and David on Empathy and Helpfulness tests were also perfect. After the workshop, Jillian sent this email. Hi Jill and David, As I drove home tonight from my office, I actually felt like my heart had been opened. My chest didn't feel as tight and locked-up like it normally does. It felt so relaxed. I put my baseball cap on, rolled the windows down, and listened to 90's country music (my favorite) on my drive and sang loudly. I have spent the last hour checking my new superpowers. There have been negative thoughts, but telling them to "shut the heck up. I am not listening to you" has been quite liberating. I even was greeted by my 4 year old when I got out of the car. I knelt down and hugged her without the worry of being a rotten mom, but rather one of feeling like I am the perfect mom for her, flaws and all. Thank you for this opportunity. I took a chance to email you in the first place after listening to a podcast weeks ago. I thought there would be no chance in heck that I would be selected. I am glad I had this remarkable opportunity and grateful to have worked with both of you. Much love and admiration, Jillian I hope you enjoy it as much as we did. Again, a big hug and thanks to the star or our podcast, Dr. Jillian Scherer who gave us all an incredible gift today! Thanks for listening. I hope you learned a ton and were moved emotionally. Write and let us know what you think! Jillian and Jill joined Rhonda and me for a two plus month follow-up at the end of the recording of part 2. She is still glowing and doing great, and emphasized the three main experiences that led to her amazing breakthrough: 1. When we did the Downward Arrow, she discovered that she had an underlying belief that she "should" or "must" make some kind of enormous, amazing contribution through her clinical work. Letting go of that internal demand was an enormous relief. I (David) think of this as one of the four "Great Deaths" of the "self," or "ego." 2. Learning to talk back to the relentless inner chatter that is always saying, "you're not good enough," using the CAT (Counter Attack Technique.) 3. Reframing the negative thoughts and feelings, and seeing the inner beauty in her suffering. David again emphasized that TEAM-CBT is not just about improvement, or feeling less depressed, but magic, and enlightenment. Jill summarized her new 11-hour home study course in TEAM-CBT with video and audio illustrating and teaching the four components of TEAM-CBT, Testing, Empathy, Assessment of Resistance, and Methods. This class sells for $187 and is suitable for therapists as well as the general public, and offers continuing education credit as well as certification credits in TEAM-CBT. I (David) believe that Jill is one of the truly great psychotherapy teachers, and urge you to check it out if you'd like to hear more! Rhonda, Jill, Jillian, and David
  • Feeling Good Podcast | TEAM-CBT - The New Mood Therapy podcast

    261: A Country Doctor, Part 1 of 2: "Nothing I do makes a difference!"

    45:47

    A Country Doctor, Part 1 of 2: "Nothing I do makes a difference!" This is the first of two podcasts on one of the live therapy demonstrations that Dr. Jill Levitt and I did at our psychotherapy workshop on Sunday, May 16th, 2021. I think you will find the session interesting and incredibly inspiring! Our patient is a physician in a small town in the mid-west. I want to thank Dr. Scherer for her tremendous courage in sharing this very personal experience with all of us. Dr. Levitt practices at the Feeling Good Institute in Mountain View, California, where she also serves as Director of Clinical Training. She also teaches at our weekly TEAM-CBT training group as Stanford. I am thrilled to share the audio of Jillian’s live session as a two-part podcast, since only mental health professionals are allowed to attend the workshops sponsored by the Feeling Good Institute. Many non-therapists were eager to attend, and disappointed when they learned that only shrinks could attend. But this gives all of you the chance to hear what you missed, and I think you will NOT be disappointed! When Jill and I asked for volunteers for the live demonstrations in the workshop, Jillian was the first to respond with an offer to volunteer. This was her email, describing her situation.. Hi Dr. Burns, I am writing to you offering to be a volunteer for the live demonstrations in the workshop on 5/16, if you need one. I am learning TEAM CBT, and have been enjoying it personally as well as trying to do more of it professionally. I am a family medicine physician, but I have my own direct primary care clinic. This means that I can spend 1-2 hours with a patient if needed. I have been slowly offering this to patients who want to do the work to improve their mood or anxiety. As for why I am writing, my anxiety and need to please people is huge and disruptive to my enjoyment of life. I keep striving and achieving things likely to get the attention of others. I fear not knowing the answer and making a mistake with my patients. This had caused me to develop anxiety and insomnia at my last job. I sought counseling and physician coaching, but ultimately I wound up leaving that job, moving to another state [due to intense stress and demands of that job], and starting my own practice. My current practice is going well, but I am annoyed when patients come in or call with questions I don't know the answer to. I constantly worry that I will not be able to figure something out by myself and that the patients will leave me. In addition, I continually strive for [yet another] training certificate. As you know, I did medical school, residency, and fellowship, but I also have a lactation consultant certificate, training in lifestyle medicine, and now a Level 1 TEAM-CBT certificate with enough hours for Level 2, and most recently I started a 3-year program to become a pastor for our church. And I realize that I will not have the time to sustain all of these. It is as if I love the journey of getting the certificates, but I am not great at implementing them, so I move on to something else. As for the rest of life, I have a great life, but I am melancholy most of the time. My husband is terrific, sensitive, understanding, loving, and yet, I am constantly reading marriage books because I think it could be better. My 2 children, aged 8 and 4, are smart and funny, but I live constantly thinking I am going to screw them up and so I read even more parenting books. My family medicine practice is thriving and offers me part-time work at great pay with autonomy, yet I dread Monday mornings. Overall, my life should be an A+ and enjoyable, but somehow I make it seem like everything is going wrong all the time. I have sought counseling and even TEAM-CBT earlier this year via teletherapy from FGI. I continue to do a Daily Mood Log about 3-4 times a week. I feel like we got so far, but not to complete recovery. My FGI therapist was the eighth therapist I have been to, but the others were mainly talk therapists. I just thought I would reach out in the hope that maybe you need a volunteer, and maybe I would have the opportunity to work with you live. It would be nice if my anxiety and faulty core beliefs didn't steal my joy. Sincerely, Jillian As you can see, Jillian is an incredibly dedicated physician, but feels like she is never doing enough for her patients. At the start of her session, she described her incredibly stressful previous job, when she was often on call for 72 hours at a time, often going long hours without sleep. She said, “I used to walk to work, hoping I’d get hit by a car.” Although, as you saw in her email, she finally quit, and set up her own practice in another state, she continued to struggle with depression and the belief that she wasn’t doing enough. Her constant self-criticisms robbed her of happiness, in spite of the fact that she had a fabulous practice, superb medical and human skills, and a wonderful husband and children. Her unhappiness confirms what Epictetus taught us nearly 2,000 years ago: we are upset, not by things, or events, but by our views of them. In this case, the facts of Jillian’s life are all stellar. In fact, she rates her life and practice as A+. And yet, she was still lacking in the most important dimension: happiness and self-esteem. Because of her constant and intense feelings of insecurity, Jillian heroically pursued more and more specialty trainings and certifications, thinking that eventually she would develop feelings of competence, confidence, and happiness. She even enrolled in a three-year training program to become a minister, in addition to enrolling in the certification and training program for TEAM-CBT, and more. But nothing was ever enough. That’s because, as the sages have taught through the ages, the answer is within. No amount of expertise or accomplishments will ever solve Jillian’s problem. Jillian’s life was perhaps like trying to get the elusive brass ring on the Merry Go Round, except her ride was far from merry. She told us that she sometimes had fantasies of escaping to a remote tropical island. Perhaps you, too, have sometimes felt like you’re not good enough, or that you or your accomplishments are just not good enough. Let us know what you think about the answer that Jillian found in front of a live audience that day, and whether it might apply to you as well. In today’s podcast, you will hear the first portion of her session (T = Testing and E = Empathy), and next week you will hear the fantastic conclusion (A = Assessment of Resistance) and M = Methods.) T = Testing To get started, take a look at the Daily Mood Log that Jillian shared with us at the start of her session. As you can see, Jillian’s negative feelings were all intense. You would not have known how powerful her suffering was if you had met her in her daily life. In person, she comes across as you might expect from her email: exceptionally warm, thoughtful, human, conscientious and likeable. That’s one of the really important reasons for Testing. You can see exactly what you’re dealing with, in terms of the type and severity of negative feelings. In addition, we’ll ask Jillian to rate her feelings again at the end of the session. That way, we’ll know how effective—or ineffective—the session was. This information can sometimes be humbling, but it is always illuminating. Neither Jill nor I could conceive of doing therapy without the Testing! At the end, we’ll also ask her to rate us on Empathy, Helpfulness and other dimensions using exceptionally sensitive scales that can highlight even the smallest therapeutic errors that the therapist would not otherwise be aware of. E = Empathy During the empathy phase of the session, Jill and I empathized while Jillian described her struggles with negative feelings and a lack of happiness and self-confidence. During the empathy portion, I did the downward arrow technique to learn more about Jillian’s fears and Self-Defeating Beliefs. The goal was not to change Jillian, but simply to understand the root of her suffering at a deeper level. We started with the thought, “I should know how to fix people who come to me with a problem like depression, anxiety, headaches, or headaches, or even the lack of money to pay for the medications I prescribe.” Here’s how the Downward Arrow dialogue evolved: David: And if you sometimes do not have the solution for your patients, what does that mean to you? Why is that upsetting to you? Jillian: Then people will be disappointed and leave me. David: And then what? What are you the most afraid of? Jillian: My practice will deteriorate. David: And then? Jillian: My patients will think I’m a failure. David: What would happen then? What are you the most afraid of? Jillian: Then the whole town will think I’m a failure. David: Of course, no one would want something like that to happen, but we might all experience it differently? What would that mean to you if the whole town thought you were a failure? Why would that be upsetting to you? Jillian: That would mean I’m a loser. David: And if that were true, what would that mean to you? Jillian: That would mean that I don’t mean anything to anybody. David: And then? What would happen if you didn’t mean anything to anybody? Jillian: Then there’d be no point in life. That was pretty much the bottom of the barrel. The purpose of the Downward Arrow Technique is to uncover the Self-Defeating Beliefs at the root of your suffering. Once you’ve generated your Downward Arrow list, all you have to do is review it, and then look at my list of 23 Common Self-Defeating Beliefs and circle all the ones that seem to fit. As an exercise, you might want to take a look at the list and see how many you can find before you see the ones that Jillian found! Here’s Jillian’s list: Perfectionism Perceived Perfectionism Achievement Addiction Approval Addiction Fear of Rejection Pleasing Others (Submissiveness) Worthlessness Spotlight Fallacy Brushfire Fallacy Superwoman A Country Doctor, Part 2 of 2 A = Assessment of Resistance At the end of the moving and tearful empathy phase, we asked Jillian about her goals for the session, which included the ability to enjoy my work to give away all of my certificates set limits with my patients feel happy with what I do not have to fear my work anymore! After Jillian said she would be willing to press the Magic Button to achieve all these goals instantly if we had one, we suggested Positive Reframing first. to see what might be lost of she suddenly achieved all these goals. You can creview the Positive Reframing that we did together. Here’s Jillian’s Emotions table at the end of Positive Reframing, showing her goals for each emotion when we used the Magic Dial. The idea is to dial each feeling down to a lower level that would reduce your suffering while still allowing you to preserve all the awesome things about you!   Emotions % Now % Goal % After Emotions % Now % Goal % After Sad, blue, down, unhappy 80 15   Embarrassed, foolish, humiliated, self-conscious 50 10   Anxious, nervous 90 20   Hopeless, discouraged, pessimistic, despairing 100 0   Bad 70 0   Frustrated, stuck, thwarted, defeated 90 5   Inferior, inadequate, incompetent 95 5   Angry, mad, resentful, annoyed, irritated, upset, furious 100 10     Jillian said that the Positive Reframing really opened her up, especially when we read the list of positives out loud. It kind of shocked her in a good way so see that her negative feelings were not really problems, defects, or symptoms of one or more “mental disorders,” but the expression of what was most beautiful and awesome about her as a human being, and as a physician. This Positive Reframing is one of the unique aspects of TEAM-CBT. Although we are encouraging the patient to keep the symptoms, rather than pressing the Magic Button that makes them disappear, it paradoxically eliminates or drastically reduces the resistance to change, and opens the door to the possibility of ultra-rapid recovery. M = Methods We asked Jillian what Negative Thought she wanted to work on first, and she chose #9: “I’m not having a big enough impact.” She believed this thought 100%. First, we asked Jillian to identify and explain the cognitive distortions in this thought, and she focused on these: Should Statement; Self-Blame, All-or-Nothing Thinking, Mental Filtering, and Discounting the Positive. In retrospect, I think I spotted two additional distortions: Emotional Reading (I feel I’m not having a positive impact, so I must not be having a positive impact) and Mind-Reading (my patients expect me to have the answers to all their problems and judge me when I don’t have all the answers.) Then we challenged the Negative Thought, and Jillian she was able, with a little help and a role reversal, to crush it, as you can see here. Usually, crushing one Negative Thought is about all you really have to do, because once the patient blows one Negative Thought out of the water, there is usually a kind of “cognitive click,” and the brain suddenly changes, and all the positive circuits suddenly get fired up. It’s amazing to behold, and you will hear it for yourself! The dam did suddenly break, and Jillian could clobber the rest of her Negative Thoughts fairly easily, using a combination of Self-Defense, Self-Acceptance, and a lot of the CAT technique. She suddenly appeared to be a radically and delightfully different person during the Externalization of Voices. You can see her feelings on the Emotions table at the end of the session. Emotions % Now % Goal % After Emotions % Now % Goal % After Sad, blue, down, unhappy 80 15 0 Embarrassed, foolish, humiliated, self-conscious 50 10 0 Anxious, nervous 90 20 0 Hopeless, discouraged, pessimistic, despairing 100 0 0 Bad 70 0 0 Frustrated, stuck, thwarted, defeated 90 5 0 Inferior, inadequate, incompetent 95 5 0 Angry, mad, resentful, annoyed, irritated, upset, furious 100 10 0 Jillian’s scores on my Happiness Test on the Brief Mood Survey also soared to 100% and her ratings of Jill and David on Empathy and Helpfulness tests were also perfect. After the workshop, Jillian sent this email. Hi Jill and David, As I drove home tonight from my office, I actually felt like my heart had been opened. My chest didn't feel as tight and locked-up like it normally does. It felt so relaxed. I put my baseball cap on, rolled the windows down, and listened to 90's country music (my favorite) on my drive and sang loudly. I have spent the last hour checking my new superpowers. There have been negative thoughts, but telling them to "shut the heck up. I am not listening to you" has been quite liberating. I even was greeted by my 4 year old when I got out of the car. I knelt down and hugged her without the worry of being a rotten mom, but rather one of feeling like I am the perfect mom for her, flaws and all. Thank you for this opportunity. I took a chance to email you in the first place after listening to a podcast weeks ago. I thought there would be no chance in heck that I would be selected. I am glad I had this remarkable opportunity and grateful to have worked with both of you. Much love and admiration, Jillian I hope you enjoy it as much as we did. Again, a big hug and thanks to the star or our podcast, Dr. Jillian Scherer who gave us all an incredible gift today! Thanks for listening. I hope you learned a ton and were moved emotionally. Write and let us know what you think! Rhonda, Jill, Jillian, and David
  • Feeling Good Podcast | TEAM-CBT - The New Mood Therapy podcast

    260: TEAM-CBT Games, featuring Amy, Heather, and Brandon

    1:03:21

    Podcast 260 TEAM-CBT Games, featuring Amy, Heather, and Brandon In today’s podcast, three of our most creative TEAM therapists describe a number of innovative games they’ve created to facilitate learning key TEAM-CBT techniques in group settings. Our guests are: Amy Specter: Amy is a Level 3 certified TEAM therapist, licensed marriage and family therapist and credentialed school counselor. She works with at-risk youth in schools and has an online private practice specializing in shyness and breakup recovery. She can be reached at amy@amyspecter.com. For a free copy of Flirty Dice or to purchase Tune In, Tune Up head over to https://www.feelinggreattherapycenter.com/   Amy Spector Brandon Vance, MD: Brandon is a Level 4 certified TEAM trainer and therapist for individuals, couples and groups.  His most recent TEAM related project is an international book club to support people in reading Feeling Great. He can be reached at: brandonvance@gmail.com Brandon Vance, MD Heather Clague, MD Heather Clague, MD is a Level 4 certified TEAM therapist and psychiatrist who works in private practice and at Highland General Hospital in Oakland.  In addition to teaching and writing about TEAM CBT, she runs Berkeley Improv that holds in-person and online improv classes for all levels. You can reach Heather at: heatherclaguemd.com Tune In / Tune Up, a card game which features spontaneous speaking situations using the Five Secrets of Effective Communication.  Heather, Brandon, and Amy guided us while we played and explained each of the following games during the podcast: Love Feast, where you make fake, over the top introductions of other people in the group Flirty Dice, where you have to flirt with some using a specified facial expression, a specified type of question, and a specific affect. Future Projection, where you talk back to a Negative Thought from the perspective of your wiser, happier self from the future. The group also discussed how these types of games can help individuals with social anxiety develop greater courage, spontaneity, and interpersonal skills. We also did a group Shame Attacking exercise and briefly described the use of this tool in the treatment of social anxiety. You can also reach Heather, Brandon, and Amy at the Feeling Great Therapy Center, where you’ll find links to Tune In / Tune Up, Flirty Dice and more Improv Games. Thanks! Rhonda and David
  • Feeling Good Podcast | TEAM-CBT - The New Mood Therapy podcast

    259: TEAM-CBT for Eating Disorders, featuring Donna Fish, LCSW

    1:11:55

    Podcast 259 TEAM-CBT for Eating Disorders, featuring Donna Fish In today’s podcast, Rhonda and David are delighted to welcome Donna Fish, LCSW, a New York mental health professional who’s doing pioneering work applying TEAM-CBT to eating disorders such as overeating / obesity, binging and vomiting (bulimia), and anorexia nervosa (starving oneself in combination with excessive exercising). These problems appear to be more prevalent in modern society, perhaps because of the emphasis on physical beauty as well as the availability of fattening foods and the financial resources to purchase them. Donna is an LCSW and Level 4 TEAM-CBT therapist. She is a guest lecturer on eating disorders at Columbia University and Harvard University, and author of Take the Fight Out of Food. She has been a popular guest on many radio and television shows, writes for Psychology Today magazine, and more. Donna began the interview on a personal note, reflecting on one of Dr. Burns’ workshops in 2014. She volunteered for a role-play with David illustrating the Externalization of Voices, a powerful cognitive therapy technique David developed during the mid-1970s. That experience pointed Donna in the direction of learning more TEAM-CBT. Here’s how she described her experience at the workshop: It blew my mind! I don’t easily follow any one particular ‘school of therapy, but I joined a TEAM-CBT training group that Dr. Taylor Chesney had just begun in NYC and then continued my online training until this day! I am thrilled to combine my eating disorder training and experience with the TEAM approach, and have been training therapists at Elise Munoz’s Feeling Good Center in NYC, so that they can use TEAM with the common problem of Binge/Restricting. Donna started her career as a professional dancer, and struggled with her own eating and body image issues. She saw these problems in her many peers and colleagues working as performers as well. She said: I was always on a diet, and saw foods as “good” or “bad.” I would restrict (fasting) during the week and then binge on all the “bad” foods on weekends. My life was a yo-yo of binging and restricting. Later, I taught myself how to eat in a healthy way, and how to say, “Yes, I can have that food and I can have it right now if I want it (which I do). But do I really need it right now?” This simple change in how I talked to myself freed me and cured me! When I became more accepting and less rigid in my “eating rules,” I paradoxically began to feel happier and more in control. I saw so many actors and dancers who used up tremendous amounts of emotional energy struggling with body image issues and problems with eating. That’s why I did a 3-year training program in working with eating disorders. When some of my patients who had recovered became pregnant, they worried about giving their own children an eating disorder. That’s why I wrote my book incorporating the methods that had been so helpful to them. This included a 4 Step Program to help them to give their kids a healthier relationship for life. These are the four steps: Step One: Talk To Your Kids About Nutrition Step Two: Reboot the Connection Between the Belly and the Head Step Three: Separate Hunger and Fullness from Other Feelings Step Four: Teach Your Child Skills and Develop Confidence in Decision Making I incorporated many of the ideas and techniques in TEAM-CBT, including Dr. Burns’ Decision-Making Tool, as well as his “Addiction and Habit Log.” (link to the free chapters on these tools available on the home page of my website). Donna emphasized the role of restricting in the maintenance of eating disorders. She explained that restricting and fasting actually cause and perpetuate the problem because the cognitions become ‘Tempting Thoughts’ to binge such as: “I will definitely re start my diet tomorrow, and I won’t eat that cake that I shouldn’t have had, so I may as well eat more now since I’ve already blown it.” She explained: If you commit to having a piece of that cake tomorrow as well, and in fact every single day, you are less vulnerable to the Tempting Thought of “I won’t have that ‘bad food’ tomorrow’ which tempts you to eat the cake, and then every other food that you ‘won’t eat tomorrow or again’, since you’ve already had a piece. In fact, learning how to eat a piece of cake, or whatever food you deem ‘bad,’ is imperative to learning how to eat well and balanced in order to modulate your weight. The Tempting Thought that you will Restrict Tomorrow, seduces you to binge. The Focus needs to be on Reducing the Tempting Thoughts to Restrict!  A Method like ‘Examine the Evidence’ can be used to see if Thoughts like:  “I won’t eat tomorrow or have that food again,” evolve into Tempting Thoughts that promote the ’binge’ in that moment of temptation, and it becomes a circular game of ‘Restrict/Binge’. Donna described some of the dangerous medical consequences of restricting and severe weight loss that you see in young people with anorexia, including brain shrinkage. She said that parents are sometimes ambivalent about treating their children who have anorexia for a variety of reasons, including the fact that anorexic teenagers are typically perfectionistic high achievers. But when the parents learn about the medical consequences, it sometimes changes their thinking. David adds that two parents will frequently be in conflict about the best way to deal with any problem in a child, and this conflict is nearly always the cause of the “stuckness.” When, and if, the parents decide to work together as a team, the problem nearly always improves significantly. This, in fact, is the whole idea behind the fairly successful “coercive treatment” for anorexia nervosa pioneered at the Maudsley in England. This program involves both parents sitting on the two sides of the child, and forcing him or her to eat, and not giving in to the child’s attempt to manipulate and insist that she or he cannot, or will not, eat. Although the program sounds crude, and most parents initially resist, this type of forceful intervention is effective for roughly 50% of the children with anorexia nervosa, and can be life-saving. This is critical since a significant proportion of these children ultimately die from anorexia nervosa if they don’t have effective treatment. Donna described additional medical consequences of various eating disorders, as well as the cycle of binging and vomiting, which leads to dehydration and actually causes the patient to feel bloated. One of the key cognitions in patients with bulimia and anorexia is the fear of losing control and gaining a great deal of weight, so they engage in many ritualistic activities in an attempt to gain control. However, most of these efforts actually trigger a loss of control. One of the main goals of Donna’s treatment is to change this rigid mind set which is the actual cause of the eating disorder. Donna emphasize the importance of the TEAM-Therapist’s mind set as well: I don’t need any of my patients to change. . . The use of paradox in TEAM is powerful. I work with my patient to list the many GOOD reasons for overeating. Donna described how she integrates the tools and strategies of TEAM into her brilliant work with patients with eating disorders, including David’s Triple Paradox technique. David described the Triple Paradox, which is one of the latest tools he has developed for any habit or addiction, including the eating disorders. If you'd like two never-published chapters on these tools, you will find a free offer for them on the very bottom of my home page at feelinggood.com! These two chapters were originally intended for my book, Feeling Great, but removed due to length. They are intended for therapists and the general public alike. Donna also uses the Brief Mood Survey, testing patient’s moods at the start and end of every therapy session, along with the Assessment of Resistance, the Miracle Cure question, Dangling the Carrot, and more. She also emphasized the vitally important “fractal” concept, focusing on one specific moment when the patient wants help. The idea is that all the patient’s suffering will be encapsulated in one brief moment when the patient was struggling, and the solution in that brief moment will often be the solution to all of the patient’s suffering. If you would like to contact Donna, you can email her at Donna@DonnaFish.com, or visit her website, www:DonnaFish.com. Thanks for listening today! And thank you, Donna, for illuminating how we can use TEAM-CBT in our work with individuals who are struggling with eating and body image problems. I was personally impressed with Donna, not only for her obvious and impressive mastery of the treatment of eating disorders, but also for her warmth, grace, and vulnerability, which will definitely inspire trust and positive expectations in her many patients! Rhonda and David Dr. Rhonda Barovsky practices in Walnut Creek, California. She sees clients mostly via Zoom, and in her office.  She can be reached at rhonda@feelinggreattherapycenter.com. She is a Level 4 Certified TEAM-CBT therapist and trainer and specializes in the treatment of trauma, anxiety, depression, and relationship problems. Check out her new website: www.feelinggreattherapycenter.com. You can reach Dr. Burns at david@feelinggood.com.
  • Feeling Good Podcast | TEAM-CBT - The New Mood Therapy podcast

    258: Doctor, I know you’re secretly sexually attracted to me!

    59:29

    Podcast 258: Doctor, I know you’re secretly sexually attracted to me! / How to Agree with Criticisms that are Just Plain Wrong! Today’s podcast features the incredibly brilliant and kindly Dr. Matthew May, who has become a semi-regular on the Feeling Good Podcast. Our show was the result of an email from Ana Teresa Silva, who is running a new and totally free weekly practice group for the Five Secrets of Effective Communication. If you want to learn those invaluable techniques, contact her immediately before they fill up at ana silva ateresasilva6@gmail.com. Her question had to do with the incredibly important Disarming Technique, which means finding the truth in a criticism, even when the criticism seems absolutely incorrect. I’ve posted her letter and my response at the end of these show notes. Today we tackled two kinds of incredibly difficult attacks, with lots of role-playing and (hopefully) useful feedback and teaching. One was the one listed in Ana’s email, where you are accused of stealing money, but you didn’t actually steal any money. So how can you agree with that? The other was perhaps even harder—what do you do when a patient accuses you of being sexually and secretly attracted to him / her? Matt, Rhonda and David illustrate a variety of strategies for responding with the Disarming Technique as well as the rest of the Five Secrets. The role-playing is challenging and immensely interesting! David emphasizes that if you want to learn the Five Secrets, three things are mandatory: An intense desire to learn. Humility. Tons of practice. David also emphasized the intense resistance nearly all humans have to all three components of EAR: E = Empathy A = Assertiveness R = Respect. I have attached a document listening 12  GOOD Reasons NOT to Listen, Not to Share Your Feelings, and NOT to treat the other person with respect. If you want to master the Five Secrets, my book, Feeling Good Together, will be an invaluable resource. If you read it, you MUST do the written exercises while reading to get any deep understanding of this approach. Simply reading will not “do it!” I want to thank Dr. May once again for hanging out with us today. In our next podcast with Dr. May, he will describe his work with a young professional woman who loved fly fishing but had an intense fear of leeches. Make sure you tune in, it will be extremely interesting, and his patient will join us, too! If you want to contact Dr. May, you can reach him at: Here’s Ana’s email: Hi, David. Hope you are recovering well!! I got stuck with the Disarming Technique. Last week, in the Five Secret Practice Group meeting, something came up and I didn`t know how to answer. How do we “disarm” someone who blames us for a very specific behaviour that is not true? For example: “Why did you steal my money from the drawer?” I thought we could try to find some truth in the attack noticing some reasons why the person could be mad at us or doesn`t trust us, or maybe we could ask if we did something to offend or upset her, but, at some point, we have to say that we didn't steal the money, right? And we`ll be defending ourselves. Can you help me with this? Thank you! I appreciate it. ana silva Ana Here’s my response: Hi Ana, We’ll do some practice on this on today’s show. You might say, “I’m afraid I’ll have to plead guilty to your criticism. Although I didn’t and would never steal money from you, I clearly have done a terrible job of winning your trust and providing genuine warmth and support. “It’s painful for me to hear how I’ve failed, and I feel ashamed, especially since I like you so much and value our friendship. I wouldn’t be surprised if you’re feeling angry, frustrated, and disappointed, and perhaps alone, too, and perhaps even anxious. “Can you tell me more about what happened, and how you feel, and all the ways I’ve let you down and come across as untrustworthy?” This is just a try, and the details will be different depending on who the person is and what the situation is. Hope this helps! Also, Podcast 161 might also be helpful. It’s all about “hearing the music behind the words” (https://feelinggood.com/2019/10/07/161-listening-to-a-different-kind-of-music/) david Rhonda, Matt, and David (without Dr. Rutherford Knows) Rhonda and I are convinced that Dr. May is one of the greatest therapists on the planet earth. If you have a question or would like to contact Dr. May, please check out his website at: (www.matthewmaymd.com) Dr. Rhonda Barovsky practices in Walnut Creek, California, but due to Covid-19 restrictions is working via Zoom, and can be reached at rhonda@feelinggreattherapycenter.com. She is a Level 4 Certified TEAM-CBT therapist and trainer and specializes in the treatment of trauma, anxiety, depression, and relationship problems. Check out her new website: www.feelinggreattherapycenter.com. You can reach Dr. Burns at david@feelinggood.com.
  • Feeling Good Podcast | TEAM-CBT - The New Mood Therapy podcast

    257: What's an "Intensive?"

    53:18

    Podcast 257: What's an Intensive? Today’s podcast features Dr. Lorraine Wong and Richard Lam who describe the intensive TEAM-CBT treatment program at the Feeling Good Institute in Mountain View, California. Dr. Wong is a board certified clinical psychologist and the Clinical Director of The Feeling Good Institute in Mountain View. Richard Lam is TEAM Certified Therapist, Trainer and Certification Program Manager at the Feeling Good Institute. An intensive is a departure from the conventional weekly 50-minute session and compresses an entire course of therapy into a brief period of time. David describes how he created this treatment approach accidentally at his hospital in Philadelphia when one of the world’s most famous and beloved actors, a man who was a great fan of Dr. Burns first book, Feeling Good: The New Mood Therapy, contacted him and asked for treatment. However, there was a catch. He only had two days available, and asked if he could fly from Hollywood to Philadelphia and book all of my sessions for two days. I was delighted to do that, and scheduled 17 back-to-back 45-minute sessions on a Thursday and Friday. He came in a disguise, and explained that fans and the paparazzi were constantly hounding him, and that he felt like a hunted animal. I asked if the disguise was effective, and he said it wasn’t working at all. People still hounded him and asked why he was wearing the disguise and asked for autographs. Because he was a powerful actor, the roleplaying techniques I have developed, like Externalization of Voices, were tremendously effective, and he actually made a complete recovery within a couple hours. Later on, I developed an intensive program for the patients in our inner-city neighborhood, with the help of the president of our hospital, and it was also incredibly effective for our patients who had few resources. However, they loved cognitive therapy! Richard and Lorraine explain how they are implementing the intensive concept at the FGI, working with people from around the United States and the world who come to Mountain View for several days for the treatment. They describe their work with a severely and chronically depressed man who came from Europe who seemed incredibly challenging at first. He was super skeptical and said that that he’d had tons of failed therapy but nothing and no one had ever helped him. He was telling himself things like this: Life isn’t worth living. I’m a special case and no one will be able to help me. Life shouldn’t be so hard. I should be able to enjoy life more. However, once they blew away his resistance using Paradoxical Agenda Setting, Richard explains that “it was a breeze to blow all of his negative thoughts out of the water.” The treatment is costly in the short-term, but can be extremely cost-effective in reality because recovery often happens rapidly. It is my impression, too, that in the hands of a skillful therapist, extended sessions and intensive treatment with TEAM-CBT can often be amazingly effective. If you would like to contact them, you can go to the FGI website (www.feelinggoodinstitute.com) or email them: Richard@feelinggoodinstitute.com or Lorraine@feelinggoodinstitute.com. Thanks for listening, and thanks to Richard and Lorraine for being especially fun and gracious guests on today’s podcast! Rhonda and David Dr. Rhonda Barovsky practices in Walnut Creek, California. She sees clients via Zoom, and in her office.  She can be reached at rhonda@feelinggreattherapycenter.com. She is a Level 4 Certified TEAM-CBT therapist and trainer and specializes in the treatment of trauma, anxiety, depression, and relationship problems. Check out her new website: www.feelinggreattherapycenter.com. You can reach Dr. Burns at david@feelinggood.com.
  • Feeling Good Podcast | TEAM-CBT - The New Mood Therapy podcast

    256: Intense Performance / Public Speaking Anxiety, Part 2 of 2

    1:39:23

    Intense Performance / Public Speaking Anxiety, Part 2 of 2 Last week we presented the first half of the session with Michelle Wharton at the Live Therapy workshop on May 16, 2021. Michelle had been struggling with years of intense public speaking anxiety, especially in professional settings. So far, we’ve commented on the T = Testing and E = Empathy portions of the session. Today, we present the exciting and inspiring conclusion of that session. A = Assessment of Resistance At the end of the moving and tearful empathy phase, we asked Michelle about her goals for the session, which included Not to have to feel this terror at full volume. Not to be stopped from volunteering for things that require public speaking and teaching, and to be able to feel some excitement in my career! After Michelle said she would be willing to press the Magic Button to achieve all these goals instantly, with no effort, we suggested a round of Positive Reframing so we could see what might be lost of she suddenly achieved all these goals. You can click here  to review the Positive Reframing that we did together, as well as Michelle’s Emotions table at the end of the Positive Reframing. You can see her goals for each emotion when we used the Magic Dial. The idea is to dial each feeling down to a lower level that would reduce your suffering, while still allowing you to preserve all the awesome things about you! The Positive Reframing is one of the unique aspects of TEAM-CBT. Although we are encouraging the patient to keep the symptoms, the Positive Reframing typically eliminates or drastically reduces the patient’s resistance to change, and opens the door to the possibility of rapid recovery. This will be true even if the patient has been struggling with a problem unsuccessfully for years or even decades, as was the case with Michelle. M = Methods We asked Michelle what Negative Thought she wanted to work on first, and she chose #5: “People will think you are selfish and self-preoccupied.” She believed this thought 100%. First, we asked Michelle to identify and explain the cognitive distortions in this thought. As you can see on her Daily Mood Log (LINK), she found all ten distortions. Of course, the most prominent distortion in this thought is Mind-Reading. That’s because Michelle thinks she knows how other people will be thinking and feeling about her when they find out about her intense public speaking anxiety. This distortion is nearly always present in any form of social anxiety. I know this from my clinical work and personal experience, since I have personally suffered from at least five forms of social anxiety, including extremely public speaking anxiety, when I was young. You feel absolutely certain that you’re flawed and that people will judge you! Then we challenged the Negative Thought, and Michele she was able, with a little help and a couple of role reversal, to crush it. Take a look. (LINK) Here were Michelle’s reflections on that portion of the session. First we used the Double Standard and I think that’s when I said this to the imaginary friend with the exact same problem: “I think you’re being kind of brave.” Then it evolved into Externalization of Voices. Both David and Jill played the negative Michelle and I had a little difficulty talking back to my Negative Self. I connected on a logical level, but didn’t yet have the ammunition or determination I need to blow my Negative Thoughts out of the water. David spotted my ambivalence immediately, and suggested that maybe it wasn’t something we should work on. Before he made that comment, I didn’t even realize that I had mixed feelings about giving up my intensely self-critical thoughts. At that point, I found myself making the decision to fight back and felt myself getting stronger. The next time David (as the Negative Michelle) asked if he could talk to me for a minute I told him he had only 30 seconds to make his point because it was time to back off. I had some hesitation about only using the Counter Attack to defeat the thought but David said he liked the feisty response. Then David and Jill both told me of all the positive feedback that was coming through the chat, and I was given the opportunity to use the Survey Method with a couple of audience members. I think I asked two or three people if they thought I was using up valuable time, since that was one of my painful Negative Thoughts. The both commented that they found the session incredibly helpful and that they could relate to these feelings of anxiety and shame, and that they weren’t judging me harshly at all! Here you can see how Michelle challenged thought #9. As you can see, her belief in this thought fell from 100 to 50, and then to 0. Negative Thoughts % Now % After Distortions Positive Thoughts % Belief 5. people will think that you’re selfish and self-preoccupied. 100 50 0 AON OG MF DP MAG/MIN ER LABE SS SB In fact, I’m being kind of brave!! 100         My anxiety is very real, and it’s good to ask for help. 100         My fear of public speaking is a common and exceptionally worthy problem! 100 You can see Michelle’s Emotions table at the end of the session, after she had crushed all of her Negative Thoughts. Emotions % Now % Goal % After Emotions % Now % Goal % After Down 40 5-10 5 Embarrassed, foolish, self-conscious 100 5 0 Anxious, panicky 100 20-30 0 Discouraged 70 0 0 Inferior, inadequate, incompetent 90 25 5 Frustrated, stuck 80 10 0 Lonely 80 0 0 Angry, mad, resentful, annoyed, irritated, upset, furious 60 0 0 After the workshop, Michelle sent us this email. HI David and Jill, I was going to write to you and tell that I would probably be happy to go ahead with the podcast but that I wanted to do a DML on some concerns about judgements as well as concerns about crossing of professional boundaries (worrying that I’m ‘oversharing’ with clients). Then, I just so happened to have supervision scheduled with Robyn Blake-Mortimer (another Level 4 therapist in Adelaide - I think she was Robyn Fowler when working in New York) this morning and she suggested we do some TEAM personal work on it. It was incredibly helpful and I’ve decided that I’d be happy for you to share the podcast, if Jill and Maor give permission. Robyn helped me to see that there was probably (intentional distortion!) a large impact on my life from the fact that my family survived Cycle Tracy (Christmas 1974) despite our house being 99% destroyed. Our lives were hugely affected and I (now) see a strong connection between this and the bed wetting. Which is not to say it changes the ‘ok-ness’ of the issue, rather that it helped me to see the amount of cognitive distortions that were in my worries about broadcasting the podcast (that ‘my problems should all be fixed by now’). Another liberating moment for me, thanks again to TEAM. Here’s what was left of our house after the Cyclone - just the bathroom where we were. Thank you again. M. This was my response to Michelle: Wow, Michelle, that’s fantastic, kudos, I really like the way you’ve caught the pass and you’re running for a touchdown, like a speedy wide receiver (if you follow football.) I really like all of your thinking and plans! Also, something both of you might want to consider is if we might consider turning each session into two consecutive podcasts. People love and are helped the most by live work podcasts. This is not required, and is just a thought. So proud of both of you! Warmly, david Michelle’s scores on all the scales on the Brief Mood Survey at the end of the session were zero, and her scores on the Happiness Test soared to 100%. Her ratings of Jill and David on the Empathy and Helpfulness tests were perfect as you can see at this link. Here’s what she wrote on the question on “what did you like the least about your session?” "Absolutely nothing!! This was such a gift and I feel so fortunate and incredibly grateful." Here’s what she wrote on the question on “what did you like the best about your session?” "Addressing the ambivalence, the Positive Reframing, the warmth from you both, and how it helped me to soften into and accept these feelings." On the audio, you will also hear the amazing follow-up interview we had with Michelle many weeks after this session. Thanks for listening. I hope you learned a ton and were moved emotionally and inspired. Write and let us know what you think! And thanks, too, to Michelle for giving all of us a gift that’s worth far more than gold! Rhonda, Jill, Michelle, and David
  • Feeling Good Podcast | TEAM-CBT - The New Mood Therapy podcast

    255: Intense Performance / Public Speaking Anxiety, Part 1 of 2

    58:47

    Intense Performance / Public Speaking Anxiety, Part 1 of 2 This Is podcast features the first of the two live therapy demonstrations that Dr. Jill Levitt and I did at our psychotherapy workshop on Sunday, May 16th, 2021. I hope you enjoy this dramatic and inspiring session! Jill and I believe that doing your own personal work is vitally important to the growth and credibility of a mental health professional for many reasons. First, when you’re in the patient role, you can see things from a radically different perspective, including a far greater, first-hand appreciation of the errors that shrinks make as well as what is especially helpful. Second, if you are successful in your own work, you can tell your patients, “I know what you’re going through, and how intensely painful it is, because I’ve been there myself, and I can show you how the way out of the woods as well!” This is a message that most patients welcome. And finally, the personal work you do with TEAM-CBT is a fantastic way of comprehending how this new approach really works. Our “patient” today is Michelle Wharton, a forensic and clinical psychologist from Australia. I want to thank Michelle for her tremendous courage in sharing a very personal experience with all of us. I also want to thank Dr. Levitt, who practices at the Feeling Good Institute in Mountain View, California, where she serves as Director of Clinical Training. Jill is also a co-leader at my TEAM-CBT training group at Stanford. I am especially thrilled to share Michelle’s live session with you, since only mental health professionals are allowed to attend the workshops sponsored by the Feeling Good Institute. Many non-therapists were eager to attend, and disappointed when they learned that only shrinks could attend. By way of compensation, this podcast will give all of you the chance to hear what you missed, and I think you will NOT be disappointed! When Jill and I asked for volunteers for the live demonstrations in the workshop, Michelle sent us this email, describing her situation. Hi Jil and David, I’ve just seen your email on the listserv asking for volunteers for the live therapy training on 16 May and thought I’d put up my hand. I’m an Australian clinical and forensic psychologist with Level 2 TEAM-CBT certification based in Adelaide, South Australia. I had been thinking about volunteering to do some work on social anxiety and feelings of inadequacy. I know this has impacted me at different points in my life like holding back my career contributing to perfectionism, and causing high anxiety in social settings. My anxiety is probably more work-related but does impact personal relationships where I just assume I’m not particularly important. After reading your post, it just kept playing thru my mind that I wouldn’t be a very good volunteer. This thought was keeping me awake, which paradoxically also made me think I might actually be a good volunteer. Also, from the fractal perspective, the anxiety triggered by just thinking about volunteering is probably reflective of all of my inadequacy concerns. So, I’ve attached a Daily Mood Log (DML)/ If you think it might be useful let me know. Since I’m in Australia, the workshop will be from 1am-8am in my part of the world. We scheduled Michelle at the start of the workshop, due to the tremendous time difference, but it still required enormous commitment on her part to work with us in the middle of the night! That kind of motivation is extremely helpful and often predicts rapid changes, but it’s no guarantee and we’ll have to see what happens in the session. This will be a two-part podcast. In today’s podcast, you will hear the first portion of Michelle’s session (T = Testing and E = Empathy). Next week you will hear the fantastic conclusion (A = Assessment of Resistance) and M = Methods.) I hope you enjoy the session as much as we did. Again, a big hug and thanks to Michelle, the superstar of the podcast! T = Testing To get started, take a look at the Daily Mood Log (LINK) that Michelle shared with us at the start of her session. As you can see, most of Michelle’s negative feelings were intense, especially the anxiety and embarrassment, which she rated at 100%. You would not have known how overwhelming her suffering was if you had met her in daily life because she comes across as warm, bright, personable, and likeable. But inside, a part of her is dying, and that’s the part she’s been hiding and fighting desperately to change. Her actions today—opening up and become completely vulnerable in front of a large live audience of mental health professionals—required incredible courage and was a fantastic gift to all of us. That’s one of the really important reasons for Testing. You can see exactly what you’re dealing with, in terms of the type and severity of negative feelings. Of course, we’ll ask Michelle to rate her feelings again at the end of the session. That way, we’ll know how effective—or ineffective—the session was. This information can sometimes be humbling to therapists, especially when you see that things didn’t improve during your session, but it is always illuminating. Neither Jill nor I could conceive of doing therapy without the Testing! At the end of today’s session, we’ll also ask Michelle to rate us on Empathy, Helpfulness and other dimensions, using brief but sensitive scales that will highlight even the smallest therapeutic errors that most therapists would not otherwise be aware of. Using these scales also requires therapist courage, because the information is often disturbing and unexpected, but it is always illuminating and potentially super helpful. That’s because you can discuss any low ratings you received at the start of the next session. If you do this skillfully and non-defensively, with warmth, respect and curiosity, the dialogue can greatly deepen the therapeutic relationship. So, in an odd way, we often “hope” for failing grades on the Empathy and Helpfulness Scales! But processing poor scores often involves the “great death” of the therapist’s ego. This information can be shocking, especially if you thought, as most therapists do, that your empathy skills were good or even excellent. In fact, you will witness such a failure in today’s session! Yikes! But you can also ask yourself the question—did Jill and David have to be afraid of their “failure?” Or was it actually a gift in disguise? And if you’re a therapist, and you start using “What’s My Grade,” will you have to be afraid of grades lower than an A, which is the lowest passing grade? E = Empathy During the empathy phase of the session, Jill and I empathized while Michelle described her struggles with intense and incapacitating public speaking anxiety, which is particularly intense in professional situations. Michelle was visibly shaking and tearful as she said she was grateful and horrified to have overwhelming anxiety that has had a horrible impact on her career and has held her back. She’s avoided promotions to more senior positions that might require a good bit of public speaking. She said, “I can feel myself sweating, with a dry mouth, and wondering, ‘what are they thinking?’ They’re probably wondering how I got my qualifications, and thinking I’m stupid! ”I feel distant, and the audience feels distant, and I find myself thinking that the people in the audience are critical and judgmental. I have the image of feeling isolate, alone, and crying while people are watching. “My fears have even stopped me from doing clinical supervision, which is something I would totally love doing. “There’s a lot I’m holding back. . . but I’m not sure what.” During the Empathy phase, Michelle poured her heart out, and both Jill and I did really careful empathy, summarizing her words, acknowledge her feelings, and using “I Feel” Statements to convey warmth and support. I’m not always the best at empathy, but Jill is a true master, and that is one of many reasons I love teaching and doing co-therapy with her. At the end of the Empathy phase, when we were reasonably certain we’ve done a good job, we asked Michelle to rate us on Empathy. This technique is called “What’s My Grade,” and it is frightening but can be extraordinarily helpful. And we spell it out, by asking, “Would you give as an A, a B, A C, a D?” This is a thousand times better than asking, “How are we doing,” because the patient will just say “fine.” But if you ask for a grade, you’ll get the truth. And sure enough, Michelle gave us a B! That means we’d vastly missed the mark. Was this a good or bad result? From a Buddhist perspective, it’s a great result, because “failure” does not actually “exist.” Michelle actually just gave us some information that was fantastically important. So, we simply asked, “Can you tell us about the part we missed?” And then patients will tell you something really important. Here's what she said: “The sensation in my body right now is huge. . . I can feel it in my stomach . . . And I’m asking myself what the hell am I doing? “I’m holding my hands tightly. . . I feel pressure on my throat . . . a knot in my stomach, shaky hands, and tears are streaming down my face. . . . The volume is turned way up right now. “You’re over there on one side, and I’m on the other side. . . . I feel alone. . . I feel distance. . . . This is just like standing at a podium, with a gaping divide between me and the audience. . . . I’m in a spotlight. . . . but I want to feel emotionally held. “A part of me pushes support away, because I don’t want any cheerleading. . . and I want to be able to do this for myself, and I think that I should be able to do this for myself. “I want to share something that I’ve been hiding. I’ve been holding back. Do I dare to do this?” Then Michelle tearfully described a problem she’d had with bedwetting up until she was thirteen years of age. Her parents took her to a GP and a hypnotherapist, and thought she’d grow out of it. The message she heard was, “You should get over this.” She described waking up every morning with shame, washing the sheets each morning and taking them outside to dry. And, she said, “That’s where this all started! The language I used at this time in my life was so hurtful, telling myself I couldn’t even get this right. I know that the internal bully really came to life in this moment but I had never seen it until this moment.” David made a joke at this point and asked if the bedwetting ever stopped – it took a second for that to sink in then we all laughed and discussed the value of humor within therapy. David advises that humor, like any powerful healing tool, must be used with thoughtfulness, and never to hurt a patient or put him or her down. In addition, humor is usually not a good idea with a patient who is feeling angry, as it may seem like the therapist is belittling the patient. After a bit more empathy and Jill offered an “I Feel” statement about her own nervousness prior to the start of the group and I then Jill then asked for our grade on empathy. Michelle says, “I gave you both an A and at that point and you asked if I felt ready to get to work and I said yes!” Next week, you will hear the exciting and dramatic conclusion to this session, include A = Assessment of Resistance, M = Methods, and T = Testing at the end of the session to assess changes in negative feelings, if any, as well as how Michelle graded us on Empath and Helpfulness during the session. We will also give you a live multi-week follow-up, to see if the effects stuck, or were just a flash in the pan, and what the most important keys to relapse prevention might have been! Rhonda, Jill, Michelle, and David End of Part 1

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