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Jan 3, 2022

Hi everyone!

This special podcast features one of our favorite people, Professor Mark Noble from the University of Rochester in New York. Professor Noble is a world-renowned neuroscientist and cancer researcher, one of the pioneers in stem cell research, and all-around good guy. He contributed a brilliant chapter on how TEAM-CBT interacts with the brain for my book, Feeling Great. For the past two years he has been a very beloved member of the Wednesday TEAM-CBT Training group, adding his wisdom and clarity to the teachings.  Rhonda and my co-teachers, Leigh Harrington and Richard Lam, and all of our students feel very honored to have him in our midst.

This is our third podcast with Dr. Noble, and the first podcast to usher in the new year. We’re excited to speak with him again today. He will update us on his latest thinking on how the molecular biology of stress and learning are totally consistent with the rapid mood changes we see in TEAM-CBT. He also describes his latest writing project, tentatively entitled, The Brain User’s Guide to TEAM-CBT, and you can download it for FREE if you click here! (LINK)

In this booklet Professor Noble presents the “brainological perspective” on TEAM-CBT. He emphasizes that this booklet is written at the 9th grade level so as not to intimidate anyone. If you’re curious, take a look, and feel free to share it with others who might be interested.

Professor Noble explains that his new booklet was inspired by patients who ask how TEAM differs from traditional (aka “normal”) talk therapy. Of course, the differences are many and profound, but one of the questions new patients and therapists ask is whether the rapid recoveries we observe during TEAM-CBT treatment are just superficial and temporary, or even fake.

Mark asserts that nothing could be further from the truth, and that the thing that makes TEAM-CBT so special is how closely it is aligned with how the human brain actually works. He explains that there are ten essential steps in TEAM, starting with Empathy. He defines Empathy as “being in a safe place, where you can share feelings without being judged.”

Empathy allows the patient to access the networks in the brain where the patient’s pain may be stored as memories. The spoken and written language exercises used in TEAM actively and rapidly modify the networks that generate the feelings of depression, anxiety, shame, inadequacy and hopelessness. Dr. Noble places a great importance on the written Daily Mood Log, which he describes as arguably the “greatest development in the history of psychology.”

He says that when you describe the horrible and traumatic things that happened to you, and you record your Negative Thoughts on paper in a systematic, step-by-step way, you can look at your thoughts, feelings, and painful memories as separate from your “self” and gain some distance from them. Then, when you pinpoint the many cognitive distortions in your negative thoughts, and substitute more realistic interpretations, you gain freedom and relief because you are actually re-wiring your brain.

He said that most of our human thinking is called Fast Thinking. This is the automatic thinking that we do 98% of the time as we go through our daily lives.

Fast thinking is great, but growth, learning and change can only result from Slow Thinking, where we reflect and analyze things. Slow thinking takes concentration and effort because you are changing actual networks in your brain when you challenge and crush your negative thoughts with powerful techniques like the Externalization of Voices.

He says that we are not just telling people to “Stop it!” or “Get over it!” Quite to the contrary, we are teaching specific, powerful techniques that give you the chance to pinpoint and modify the exact brain networks that cause your negative feelings. He explains that “language is a powerful tool for figuring out exactly how we see the world when we’re feeling down, and TEAM gives us many tools in TEAM to modify the errors in our perceptions that cause so much suffering.

Mark laments on the excessive misuse of medications for individuals, including children, who are struggling with behavioral and emotional problems. He wishes more people would simply sit down with the person who is upset and ask, “What’s going on? How are you feeling? What are you thinking and telling yourself?”

I have had the same thought when thinking about how therapists not familiar with TEAM or Cognitive Therapy use and promote dozens of presumably therapeutic approaches without simply asking patients, “What thoughts go through your mind when you are feeling depressed, anxious, ashamed, inadequate, or hopeless?” The answers to this question provide direct and immediate access to the brain networks that need re-wiring!

Mark concludes today’s podcast by saying,

“I went into medical research on cancer and other serious problems because I wanted to help people who are suffering. I’m convinced that TEAM-CBT, and the powerful Daily Mood Log that David has developed, have the potential to help millions of people around the world!”

Rhonda and I are grateful for Mark’s ongoing friendship and brilliance and want to wish all of you a happy and healthy 2022!

We are both very grateful for your support during the past year and hope you will continue to mention our podcast to friends or colleagues who might be interested in learning about TEAM-CBT.

We look forward to celebrating the five millionth download of the Feeling Good Podcast around July! Thank you!

Rhonda and David