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222: Ask David: Personality Disorders, Buddhism, the "Great Death," the Magic Button, perfect empathy, and more!

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

Health & Fitness

Podcast 222 Ask David December 28, 2020 Ask David featuring five challenging questions. Jay asks: How do you treat individuals with personality disorders using TEAM-CBT? Jeff asks: Can you talk more about the “great death” of the therapist’s “helping” or “rescuing” self? This was really helpful to me! Darkmana asks: Hey David, are there any books about Buddhism you would recommend? I can see you’re a fan of it from Feeling Great! Angela asks: What’s a perfect score on your empathy test? Margaret asks: What can you say to a patient who doesn’t want to push the Magic Button? * * * Jay asks: How do you treat individuals with personality disorders using TEAM-CBT? Dr. Burns Have you considered doing a podcast on using TEAM-CBT or CBT for Borderline, Narcissistic and Histrionic Personality Disorders? The interesting thing is those with personality Disorders seem to blame everyone and everything for their problems but themselves Also, what if anything could individuals do to not get attracted or quickly eject when they encounter these folks. One theory is that folks with abusive or neglectful parents are vulnerable. Because the chaos and drama is familiar. I think many therapists avoid folks with pd no? Particularly patients with Borderline PD. It's interesting in that kids have years of relating to parents with personality disorders. So how would TEAM-CBT help? Just curious what your experience and Rhonda too Jay Rhonda and David talk about how TEAM-CBT developed out of David's treatment of large numbers of individuals with Borderline Personality Disorder, and what some of the treatment strategies are. * * * Jeff asks: Can you talk more about the “great death” of the therapist’s “helping” or “rescuing” self? This was really helpful to me! Hi Dr. Burns, I loved what you've taught on the death of the selves - and recently read the Four Great Deaths of the Therapists Ego in your new book, Feeling Great. One part that I found so helpful was the death of "The Helping, Rescuing Self." I think I've believed that's my purpose. That's why I'm there. I'm there to "help" the client feel better and live a full, rich, meaningful life. That's something I've struggled with - because if I'm not there to help, what am I there for? And if I don't FEEL like I've helped, then I've failed the client. I'd love to hear this concept expanded on. I think many therapists, coaches, etc. would benefit from seeing how they can work with clients without thinking they have to help or rescue them. Thank you, Dr. Burns. P.S. Your new book is a goldmine. Enjoying it immensely. * * * Darkmana asks: Hey David, are there any books about Buddhism you would recommend? I can see you’re a fan of it from Feeling Great? Hi Darkmana, Thank you for your question. I'm sure there are many great books out there, but I have never studied Buddhism or read anything about it. I just sort of make things up! David will tell his Buddhism story when eating in a noodle house with his son Erik. Rhonda has invited the Dalai Lama to appear on a Feeling Good Podcast. It seems like a long shot, but it would be delightful to have the chance to chat with him, as there is so much overlap between Buddhism and TEAM-CBT! I would guess that he likely has a good sense of humor, since humor and laughter can be such great ways of grasping certain ideas and achieving enlightenment. I have heard that the Buddha talked about the “Great Death” of the self. In Feeling Great, I talk about four “great deaths” that correspond to recovery from depression, anxiety, relationship problems, and habits and addictions. I’d love to hear the Dalai Lama’s thoughts about this. There may be large numbers of “Great Deaths,” I suspect. To me, “reincarnation” is something that happens when we are alive, and not something that happens after our bodies die! However, I think most Buddhists might fiercely oppose my thinking in this regard. I think that “literalism” is one of the problems with most organized religions. Stories that are intended to convey wisdom and insight are taken as literally true. * * * Angela asks: What’s a perfect score on your empathy test? Hello David, In the weekly practice group that I host, the question came up today “what does Dr. Burns mean by no less than 20?  Is it the first section titled “Therapeutic Empathy” which is 20 points total, or the entire survey which is 20 questions? Warmest blessings, Angela Poch, RPC-C Hi Angela, Thanks, yes that is correct. 20 on the empathy scale is the lowest passing grade. A score of 19 and below indicate some significant failure in the therapeutic relationship / empathy. Since we are hoping for failure, I try to make failure as easy as possible! That’s part of my “anti-perfectionism” philosophy. I encourage the four “great deaths” of the therapist’s ego, and this is the first of the four deaths. * * * Margaret asks: What can you say to a patient who doesn’t want to push the Magic Button? Hi Dr. Burns, I attended your intensive in Atlanta and am working on my level 3 certification. TEAM CBT has transformed my life personally and transformed my practice professionally. I will be forever grateful to your hard work and dedication in developing this approach. My burning question is about the magic button / magic dial. After the positive reframe, when we ask, " With all these awesome things your negative emotions show about you and all the benefits you get from them, why would you want to press this button?"  Ninety five percent of the time my clients argue for change and that is great. My problem is when they say, "I guess I wouldn't want to press that button."  I feel like I am cheating them by not offering the magic dial. It seems like all or nothing thinking. If you press the magic button, "all" of these positive things will go away. They never get the chance to even learn about the magic dial and then may never get the chance to learn about cognitive distortions and all of the other cool methods you and others have created. My clients always benefit from the positive reframing. How much do they have to argue for change? How critical is this? Maybe I am thinking about this all wrong. I can really use some guidance. Thank You so Much, Margaret McCall I just realized my pun with "Burn"ing question- that was not intentional, lol Hi Margaret, Great question! Will add it to an Ask David. Quick answer: you can agree that it is not a good idea to press the Magic Button,  and ask them what their NTs and feelings show about them that is positive and awesome, and also ask them why they might NOT want to push the Magic Button, and then once again paradox them. All you have to do is say “Good thinking. Let’s list all the really GOOD reasons NOT to press that button.” Then you go right into Positive Reframing, followed by the Magic Dial. Also, if they do not want help, which is often the case with relationship problems as well as habits and addictions, you can just ask if them if there is anything they DO want help with! It is not my job to persuade the patient to work on something. It is the patient’s job to persuade me to help him or her! Rhonda and David


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