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Feb 24, 2020

In my workshops and weekly training group for community therapists at Stanford, we often include personal work as a part of the training. The personal work can help in several ways:

  1. When you’ve successfully done your own personal work, you will feel greater joy and energy in your personal life and in your clinical work as well.
  2. You will have a much deeper understanding of how TEAM-CBT actually works.
  3. You will be able to deliver faster and deeper therapy to your patients.
  4. You’ll be able to tell your patients, “I know how you feel, because I’ve been there myself. And what a joy it’s going to be to show you the way out of the woods, too!”
  5. Those who observe the therapy develop a greater understanding of how the fine points of effective therapy.
  6. When the person in the “patient” role has a profound change, we all share that joy and feel inspired by the miracles that can often be accomplished in a relatively short period of time. As they say, “seeing is believing.”

Rhonda recently surveyed some of our listeners about live therapy we sometimes offer on our podcasts—do you prefer to have the live therapy presented all at once, in an extended, two-hour podcast, or split up over two or more podcasts with expert commentary along the way?

Our listeners were split on this. So today we are presenting an actual and dramatic therapy session in its entirely. If you don’t have two hours to listen all at once, you can stop after an hour or so, and then return to the last portion when you have more time.

And please let us know what you think of this live therapy podcast format!

In today’s session, we are very grateful to Sarah, a certified TEAM-CBT therapist, for allowing us to share her very personal and powerful session with you. Sarah was having intense anxiety during her sessions with patients, and her anxiety was bordering on panic.

This is actually not unusual. In my experience, most shrinks struggle with feelings of insecurity from time to time. But when we shrinks experience insecurities, we often feel strong shame as well, telling ourselves that we “should” have it all together because we are supposedly “experts.”

I’m no exception! I can remember how anxious I used to feel on Sundays when I was starting out in private practice. I’d tell myself, “Wow, I’m going to have all of these high-powered patients tomorrow, and what if they notice that I don’t actually know what I’m doing half of the time!?”

But then, halfway through Monday morning, it would dawn on me that my patients didn’t seem to notice or care about my flaws, and I’d relax!

Although Sarah brought a Daily Mood Log to the session, listing all of the negative thoughts that were triggering her anxiety, along with many other intense negative feelings, the session took an unexpected turn in the direction of the Hidden Emotion Model.

We’ve done several podcasts on this powerful technique before, and now you have the chance to see how it works first-hand! Instead of challenging Sarah’s negative thoughts, as we usually do, we asked whether there was something bothering Sarah that she wasn’t telling us about, due to her arguably excessive “niceness.”

I think you’ll enjoy listening, and you may learn a little, too! My co-therapists for this session included Dr. Rhonda Barovsky, my beloved and brilliant podcast host, as well as Kevin Cornelius, MFT, a fabulous TEAM therapist whom I’ve recently featured in a recent blog!

Rhonda and I want to thank you, Sarah, once again, for your tremendous courage and generosity!

David and Rhonda