This photo popped up on my Facebook feed this morning as I sipped my first cup of coffee on this unseasonably cold Colorado morning. I smiled with warm satisfaction as I recalled pushing myself to ask David Burns, MD, author of “Feeling Good, The New Mood Therapy,” for the photograph exactly four years ago at a […]

via Are You Sure You’re Ready for Change? — goodnewsintherapy

Are You Sure You’re Ready for Change?

This photo popped up on my Facebook feed this morning as I sipped my first cup of coffee on this unseasonably cold Colorado morning. I smiled with warm satisfaction as I recalled pushing myself to ask David Burns, MD, author of “Feeling Good, The New Mood Therapy,” for the photograph exactly four years ago at a snowy Minneapolis workshop. “This chance may never come again,” I  said to myself like a gutsy best friend. “Just do it!”  One of the most popular and pioneering psychiatrists of our time responded, “Yes!”  I was star struck. And I was changed forever. My confident voice said I would one day work with him. And damn, it happened.
I remember nudging myself again and asked him at the end of the workshop, “What next? How do I learn more about TEAM-CBT?” He shyly gave me a flier with the names of all the Feeling Good Institute trainers available to help me hone my new skills. The list looked daunting, so I selected Jill Levitt, Ph.D., Director of Training for FGI. It turned out to be an excellent fit.
Madeleine Albright, the first United States Secretary of State,  once said, “There’s a special place in hell for women who don’t help other women.” I’ve never been fortunate enough to have healthy female mentors in my career, so studying with Jill was a first. Jill is brilliant. But that’s not the only reason Jill is such a find. She’s warm, compassionate, encouraging, driven, energetic, motivating, nurturing, forgiving and wise. I’ve never felt intimidated or patronized. And from what I’ve heard from other students I’ve met at the Feeling Good Institute, they feel similarly. I call her the “TEAM-CBT goddess,” and I feel more securely connected with other women because I’ve had the warm and safe connection with this mentor who inspired me to make groundbreaking changes personally and professionally. Today, I feel like I want to live forever.
Last year I needed to spread my wings and fly from Jill’s nest. That’s when I discovered Angela Krumm, Ph.D., FGI’s Director of Clinical Services. Man, can that woman lead a group! Each Thursday morning I join the Mountain View, CA group online. She teaches us new skills and we practice them together in role plays with one another. Angela mastered David’s “Five Secrets of Effective Communication.” She’s a gifted communicator who created a warm, supportive and lively environment where we can help each other advance our skills.
We don’t hear much about FGI Director Maor Katz, MD. He’s the quiet visionary behind FGI. It’s his baby. He and several master therapists, who years ago studied directly with David at his free Tuesday Stanford training group, started FGI as a natural extension of their learning. They wanted to bring the training to therapists, so Maor founded FGI in Silicon Valley. Now, it’s growing across the globe. TEAM-CBT therapists offer training and intensive therapy for patients throughout the United States, Canada, and most recently Israel. You can read more about it at http://www.feelinggoodinstitute.com.
A potential client once asked me a question that motivates me to get the word out to the public about David’s rapid recovery therapy: “If TEAM-CBT is so good, then why don’t people know about it?”  That’s when I approached David and said we had something people really wanted but they just didn’t know it existed.  At the same time, Maor asked me if I’d manage the FGI Facebook page. That was our first step into using social media to promote TEAM-CBT. None of is a pro at using social media. We’re learning together and having fun climbing the learning curve.
David and colleague Fabrice Nye, Ph.D. have recently created the increasingly popular “Feeling Good Podcast” https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/feeling-good-podcast/id1171155453?mt=2  Listeners are responding enthusiastically, especially after he and Jill conducted a live therapy session over several broadcasts. David is thrilled with the positive and encouraging emails he’s receiving on his website http://www.feelinggood.com. The man is on fire.
The little voice in the back of my head occasionally advises me, “Be careful what you ask for.” It’s a cautionary note: Engaging in such a stimulating and rewarding process in a supportive community brings about major shifts in thinking, feeling and behavior. I’m not the person I was four years ago. But it’s challenging, exhausting, painful and nerve-wracking. I have stepped way out of my comfort zone. I face my fears and insecurities.  I challenge my negative thoughts when I hear them. I’ve changed the way I communicate with others. I try to take 100 percent responsibility in my relationships rather than blame. I’m aware of my self-defeating tendencies, and I no longer engage in toxic relationships. I respect myself and others. But there are inherent dangers in change. We challenge our beliefs about ourselves and the world. We change, and therefore others are challenged to change as well or be left behind. As the late Leo Buscaglia, Ph.D. wrote, “Change is the end result of all true learning.”
But as a result of this hard work, I’m now living my dream.  I’m learning, writing, editing, podcasting, traveling and connecting with highly educated therapists. I have close friendships with the women I’ve met in my studies. David is no longer a celebrity in my mind. He is my highly esteemed colleague. He is my sidekick in publishing and promoting his high-speed therapy so as many people as possible can benefit.
So, I caution you before you take that first FGI training, sign up for intensive therapy, read David’s next blog, or book, or listen to that next podcast.  Stop and ponder all that’s at stake. “Are you sure you’re ready for change?”
–Lisa

I’m Such a Lucky Girl

Good morning from Littleton, Colorado! It’s cold and wet outside so I thought I’d retreat to my easy chair and warm my feet by the fire. The dogs are sleeping next to the fireplace and I feel so inspired by the good things that have happened in my life.

I feel so blessed and fortunate to be associated with my colleagues and friends from The Feeling Good Institute, and those whom I’ve met through David Burns, MD, author of Feeling Good, The New Mood Therapy. http://www.feelinggood.com.

Please follow my blog as I fall deeper and deeper in love with the people who inspire me. I hope to share photos and pics of these down-to-earth people so you can get to know them as well.

–Lisa

I Fell in Love with David Burns at The Park Hill Library

“Just one look. That’s all it took” as the song goes. And I fell head over heels in love with Dr. David Burns at the Park Hill Library in Denver. It’s been 25 years, and I’m still as passionate as the day we met.

Nine months pregnant, hot, exhausted and depressed, I waddled into the 1920 Spanish Renaissance branch of the Denver Public Library with what felt like a Butterball turkey strapped to my waist. My two preschool daughters each took a hand and we trudged into the blessedly air-conditioned library for story time.

Perchance, I glanced to my left and saw the blue words “Feeling Good” on a yellow book beckoning me to come hither. Without hesitation, I breathlessly said, “Yes, yes.! I want to feel good!” And then he swept me away with words of hope, encouragement and the belief I was good enough. I was worthy. And my life was worth living.

That was 25 years ago, and my passion for the work of Stanford Adjunct Clinical Professor Emeritus David Burns, MD  is as ardent as that moment I laid my eyes on him. Picking up that book changed my life and kept me from sinking like the Titanic into the dark, cold depressive ocean following a traumatic corporate restructuring.  It allowed me to talk back convincingly to the relentless, cunning voice in my head whispering, “You’re a bad person.” “You’re not good enough.” “Nobody likes you.”

Learning to challenge “Neville the Devil ” as I now call that convincingly abusive voice, helped me survive major depression, amplified by terrifying postpartum anxiety without the help of drugs or a straightjacket. I hung on by my fingertips and was able to pull myself back into the boat. I promised myself I would one day help others buffeted by depression, anxiety, shame and guilt.

I left my stressful career in corporate communications, delivered my son, and went back to graduate school to become a psychotherapist. And I’ve devoted this chapter of my career to voluntarily publicizing his TEAM-CBT, also referred to as “CBT on steroids.” So don’t be surprised when I pop up here and there, bringing good tidings of therapeutic training, intensive therapy opportunities, and joy from The Feeling Good Institute http://www.feelinggoodinstitute.com/. It’s all about what I love to do, and what makes me very, very happy.

But every step forward personally and professionally has been terrifying. I fearfully put one foot in front of the other and put myself out there.  Last year, I invited Dr. Burns to present his trauma workshop here in Denver. I really didn’t know him at all; I only had participated in his four-day intensive workshop and an anxiety workshop in London.

One morning, I woke up and heard myself ask, “Can depression really be treated in two hours?” I grabbed my laptop and fired off a series of confrontational questions to David, as I now informally call him, challenging him as a critical reporter –one of my former personas. Back and forth we went, pushing and pulling, until finally, we published our controversial interview, “Can Depression Really Be Treated in Two Hours?  on https://feelinggood.com/  What a gift it was to open on Christmas morning!

Today David, psychologist Dr. Fabrice Nye and I published an interview about our article on their new Feeling Good Podcast https://feelinggood.com/category/podcast/. And that was not as easy at it sounds. It would be analogous to singing on stage with Mick Jagger and Keith Richards.  But I heard David’s voice, “You have to face the monster and find the monster has no teeth.” 

So I faced the fear of stuttering, stammering and freezing. I once again asked myself, “Why not me? I can do this. Be bold.” And then I dove into the deep end of the pool with David guiding and shaping the conversation as only an experienced teacher can do. And then the self-consciousness melted away as I danced with a partner who knew all the steps.

Feeling Good  The New Mood Therapy, published in 1980, saved my life and many of the clients I have worked with as a psychotherapist. We have voyaged over really rough waters in tiny boats with Feeling Good as our guide. Many people are alive today after reading that self-help book and using the cognitive behavioral skills he helped pioneer. They are equally as grateful, and that explains why so many people love this irascible fellow for his wisdom, humor and generosity.

So it really was more than just one look. It was just one book. That’s all it took.

Feeling Good in London

Just back from London where colleague Nicole Bitter and I were promoting T.E.A.M therapy with Dr. David Burns, MD, author Feeling Good.  David definitely “hit it out of the park” here in London at his first European conference. Definitely a big win! The Brits loved him. And so did so many others from other areas of the world who flew to London to participate. Everyone Nicole and I spoke with said they spent their money wisely in choosing his two-day anxiety workshop “Scared Stiff: Fast, Effective, Drug-Free Treatment for Anxiety,” orchestrated by Jack Hirose & Associates.  Most said they had never experienced anything like it, and that their heads were swimming with information and ideas to transform their therapeutic skills.

Here are some of the comments coming in over the wire, so to speak: “No model of therapy inspires me more than his.” “What a bliss!!! Please come back.”

You might expect someone who is one of three eminent pioneers (including Aaron Beck, MD, Albert Ellis, PhD) in the creation and development of Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) to be haughty, cold, and dismissive. But that’s just not in David’s DNA. In his customary warm and charming way, he worked non-stop for two days talking, listening, role playing, teasing, counseling, cajoling, coaching and inspiring.

He makes us laugh. He makes us cry. He helps us accept ourselves as flawed human beings. We start to like ourselves when we work with David. We give ourselves some grace.

That makes us want to spread the word because we are so grateful for our teacher who so generously gives of himself in sharing wisdom from the decades of research and development he has invested in CBT.

CBT, now considered the gold standard in the treatment of depression and anxiety, helps clients change distorted, self-defeating thoughts that create depression and anxiety. Major life-saving mood shifts can occur when clients realize that when they change their thoughts, they can change their feelings, and change their behaviors.

CBT has evolved since the early 1980s when David wrote Feeling Good. He found many people benefited greatly from CBT, while others resisted and suffered. That troubled David, so he went back to the drawing board and created a new model that addressed critical parts of the therapeutic hour that had been grossly overlooked. These oversights prevented many clients from getting better.

He developed T.E.A.M., which he refers to as “CBT on steroids.” He says it is “therapy at warp speed” and is far more effective than regular CBT or even “talk therapy.” The goal is to get dramatic change in just a few sessions by helping patients and therapists become more on-task and accountable. Guess what? It works!

Read more about David’s groundbreaking work at www.feelinggood.com. And then check out the Feeling Good Institute at http://www.feelinggoodinstitute.com. That’s where you’ll find therapists trained in this cutting-edge therapy and opportunities for therapists to be trained.

Stay tuned for more exciting T.E.A.M. news coming this fall in Denver!