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Nov 9, 2020

Last week, you heard part 1 of the live work with Sunny. Today, you will hear the dramatic conclusion of that session. My wonderful co-therapist is Dr. Jill Levitt, the Director of Training at the Feeling Good Institute in Mountain View, California. Jill also co-leads our Tuesday training group at Stanford. This session took place between 5 and 7 PM at a recent Tuesday group because we feel that personal healing is a critical part of psychotherapy training.

We will begin with a summary of A = Assessment of Resistance.

David will summarize  Sunny’s Positive Reframing list, as well as the “turning point” when David challenged Sunny’s first negative thought, telling himself that he shouldn’t be getting anxious again. Once again, the moment he saw that he actually should be getting anxious, and that this was a good thing, and not a bad thing, the dam kind of broke open, and Sunny suddenly saw everything in a radically different perspective.

This is one of the core principles and goals of TEAM—helping the patient suddenly see that his or her suffering is not the expression of what’s wrong with you, like a “chemical imbalance” in your brain, but what’s most beautiful and awesome about you, and your core values as a human being.

During this phase of the session, Sunny expressed anger about parents who tell their children they SHOULD do X, Y, and Z, and thus sowing the seeds of low self-esteem and the need for approval.

We continue and conclude the M = Methods, using:

  1. Identify the Distortions
  2. The Enhanced Cost-Benefit Analysis (Enhanced CoBA)
  3. The Externalization of Voices, with Self-Defense and the Acceptance Paradox
  4. The Hidden Emotion Technique
  5. The Five Secrets of Effective Communication

Final T = Testing.

You can see Sunny’s end of session mood ratings on his completed Daily Mood Log, as well as his end of session scores on the Brief Mood Survey and Evaluation of Therapy Session.

Here is Sunny’s follow-up email to the Tuesday group:

Hi folks.

Just want to give you an update of what happened after our group meeting. I was exhausted after our session. But I felt very good - even different than other times when I did self disclosure and deep-down part of me was looking for some validations from others. This time, I came out feeling very confident about myself and my ability to swim without the floating bubbles (approval from others). Most importantly enjoy life now. In fact I didn’t think talking with my mom was necessary because I was not angry with her the next day. Somehow I wasn’t blaming her anymore because I know she changed since then. And I was thankful because I wouldn’t be where I am without that push. But I did chat with her tonight.

I told her how I was hurt when I felt a lot of pressure from her when I was young. And that I love her very much and now am happy that I am confident about my own life decision without needing approval from others. And she told me that she is happy that I am happy. And when we were young, she And she will always love me and support me. And she is happy that I am doing whatever I love so I don’t regret in life. And on and on... lots of loving languages that we don’t use together usually :)

Net net: it was an awesome chat and we are closer. But as importantly, I wasn’t looking for any validation from her - more like giving her some good news about my personal growth. And I felt more confident and equal but loving when I talked with her. So it’s all good :)

I do have an insight on self disclosure. From my experiences, there is a fine line between self disclosure vs approval seeking type of sharing. Both can have similar Immediate results - feeling good and emotional. So make sure our clients are clear of the objective of the self disclosure. And that there is no approval seeking hidden inside - if that’s not the objective.

See you all next Tuesday


And here is some of the feedback from members of the Tuesday group:

What did you like the least about today’s Tuesday group?

Nothing comes to mind

Sunny was fabulous!

This isn't something I disliked, but a question... I'm trying to figure out how David and Jill are able to get through the process so quickly and yet have it not feel rushed.. I suppose a lot of practice! Also curious about how Sunny will talk to his mom- thinking about doing this with my mother, I'd be worried that she'd feel like I was blaming her for something and become defensive and close down (which she typically does when anyone tries to bring up their feelings or even when they ask about hers), so I'd be curious about the specific details of the 5-secrets approach here

Nothing — I loved everything about our session tonight

Please describe what you specifically liked about the training? What was the most helpful?

Agree with David that the learning which takes place via live personal work may be the most powerful of all. Helpful to review the various steps and methods while also watching the masters weave the art and science of It all together. Thank you to the brave Sunny for sharing this work with us tonight. This Session was also an awesome dose of relapse prevention for myself, as while I have made major strides with approval addiction this year, I still drift in and out of enlightenment, as is expected!

I appreciate that Sunny's courage to share his vulnerability. His cultural background and parenting style are very similar to mine.

I enjoyed the masterful use of empathy from David and Jill

I share Sunny's approval need without being told by a parent, at least not obviously. The 'talking back to distorted thoughts' helped me a lot. Also, watching the flow of the therapy by David and Jill was educational in my interactions in similar situations.

I loved seeing the whole process of TEAM being modeled with Sunny. I especially liked the positive reframing and empathy stages the best, but it was all so blow away to experience. I'm so grateful to be able to be a part of this group.

I loved watching the whole session unfold. It was a powerful positive reframe and Jill really honed in on the hidden emotion which seemed to really resonate with Sunny.

I love the live sessions. It went so deep, and was so moving and beautiful. I appreciate Sunny's courage and authenticity, and the skill of David and Jill.

Feeling so grateful to be able to see the live demo of TEAM by David & Jill on Sunny. It feels like watching the very painful but beautiful grief process of letting go of this infamous approval addiction, which I relate to so much as a Chinese woman. Watching how the enhanced CBA is a very magical, powerful & dynamic uncovering tool to address outcome resistance & change his mood rapidly.

I loved being able to walk patiently through each step of the therapy. I am frequently amazed at how quickly the work goes once the TEA is managed fully and effectively. I love this stuff! Thanks for allowing me to be an observer and participant in this group.

I like seeing the richness of live work. It was uplifting to hear group members share with Sunny how the session affected them and how they think about their parent-child relationships.

It's always great to watch a full session.

This has been a wonderful session and also a surprise. I see clients and do not get to check emails before we start and was not aware we were heading for another individual work - what a treat! This has been an amazing session. Sunny is a very bright and sensitive guy and admire his eagerness to work though his challenges and open up to the group. I have learned so much from his insights and felt most honored to be an invisible participant in this process. Thank you Sunny! Jill and David you were wonderful! This has been a particularly powerful session. Thank you.

It was great to see the shift in thinking and feeling in session. Sunny was so open to talk about his past and his pain; he had been reflecting about his approval addiction for some time. It seemed that through the positive reframing he was able to see his "addiction" from a different perspective.

Approval addiction is something I have struggled with myself over the years and I felt so grateful toward Sunny for his vulnerability. Also really appreciated Jill's pausing to address the anger that came up in the Externalization of Voices, and David's teaching point about how important it is for the patient to really "SEE" something during the positive reframing.

Loved that Sunny was willing to be truly vulnerable and authentic. I always love seeing the model from start to finish.

Session tonight was exceptionally awesome. Thank you, Sunny for your willingness to work on something so painful and deep in front of the whole class. This has been one of my favorite classes. You touched my heart because you were genuine,, honest, and very very humble. Thank you! And thank you to David and Jill for their superb teaching. As always, I learn so much from them when they do live. With immense gratitude – Sara

Demonstration by David and Jill. It was such an amazing opportunity for us to witness how T.E.A.M works and get through the process. Approval addiction is something I have wanted to work on myself..... I need to listen to the recording and review!

I enjoyed seeing the ease in which the TEAM method was used

Jill's way of connecting some dots and inquiring with sunny about his mother’s understanding of his experience. Jills ability to do this always blows my mind because I'm still trying to tap into that deep level of listening.

Thank you for sharing Sunny! Love the cultural aspect that was brought in

This live session was moving, insightful, and very instructive for me. It gave me insights into my own approval addiction, it moved me to see how Sunny went through his internal conflict throughout the session, and it was beautiful and very instructive to see two master therapists like David and Jill at work. Thank you so much Sunny, David, and Jill!

Thank you Sunny, David and Jill. I was moved and touched by the therapy. I like David and Jill asked Sunny his feeling at an appropriate moment during the therapy instead of only at the beginning and the end. For instance, David asked, "You are opened up to us. How are you feeling now?" Jill asked how angry he was when he expressed his feeling of anger to his mom. It is very powerful. I liked how David asked Sunny to communicate with his mom. Although I am learning the Five Secret skills, it is still hard to use them in daily life. I need to practice it.

Sunny can be reached at:
Sunny Choi, LCSW
Better Mood Therapy

Thanks for listening today!

David and Rhonda