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Apr 1, 2024

Self-Acceptance, People who Resist,

Secrets of Dynamic Job Interviews,

Five Secrets with your Boss,

Do Cognitive Distortions Cause Transgenderism?

Note: The answers below were written by David prior to the podcast, just to give some structure to the discussion. Keep in mind that the actual live discussion by Rhonda and David will often go in different directions with different information and opinions. So, please listen to the podcast for the more complete answers!

Questions for the this Ask David Podcast

  1. Rizwan suggests a new method for self-acceptance.
  2. Anonymous asks how to convince someone that depression is NOT due to a chemical imbalance in the brain. My father does not believe that you can change the way you FEEL by changing the way you THINK!
  3. Marc asks about tips for job interviews, as well as how to respond during periodic performance reviews at work.
  4. Brian asks if transgenderism could be the result of distorted thoughts.

1. Rizwan asks

I have a question about the Acceptance Paradox that came to my mind during our Tuesday training group on 19 Dec, 23.

As homework, will it be useful to ask clients to make a list of things which they have already accepted in life and made peace with?

At the next stage, in the session, would it be useful if the therapist asks them, "why did you accept and make peace with those things?

“Can you use the same criteria to accept other things in your lives which you are not accepting now?"

Sincerely, Rizwan

 David’s take

Yes, you can certainly try that and let us know how it works out? I do lots of spontaneous and “new” things in almost every therapy session. Some things work out, and others do not. That way, I learn from my clinical work.

One thing to be aware of is that your proposed approach might overlap with “helping,” when a paradoxical approach might have more “punch” / impact, After all, the Acceptance Paradox is arguably more of a decision, than a skill.

But try, even with yourself if you like, and let us know what you discover. TEAM constantly evolves, and you can be an important part of that process!

Best, david

2. Anonymous asks how to convince someone that depression is not due to a chemical imbalance in the brain and that you can change the way you FEEL by changing the way you THINK?

Hi David

I love listening to your podcasts. And now I am seeing differences in my life but not my father who has been depressed for around 40 years. He is on medicines and has an extreme belief that it's on the basis of chemical imbalance. He is a pharmacist by profession, and loves to learn about how chemical changes mood swings.

I am not able to convince him to read your books. He just take sleeping pills every single and sleeps all day. He is learning something about neuroplasticity which is actually the case that happens in cbt.

But he think it's some kind of thought changing therapy which cannot change the chemical in our brain. Please help David. I would love you to answer this.



David’s Response

Hi, I once gave the keynote address at a research conference at the Harvard Medical School. When the department chairman introduced me, he something like, “Dr. David Burns is going to show us how you can change brain chemistry with CBT, and without drugs!” It was pretty cool!

That’s one dimension. And we could add more evidence and research findings to support our side of the argument.

But on another level, we see the underlying issue of trying to convince someone who is taking an adversarial position and content with their own thinking and beliefs, and determined to argue no matter what evidence you present.

In my experience, spending time trying to convince them is almost always a losing cause. All you do is engage in a frustrating philosophical debate, at least that’s my thinking!

The podcasts on the theme of “How to Help and How NOT to Help” might be useful, in case you are looking for help with your relationship with your father. Your love and concern for him is huge and very touching!

Okay to use in an Ask David? I will not use your first name!

Best, david

3. Marc asks for tips on job interviewing.

Hi David, I hope you are keeping well.

I am wondering if you have any tips / strategies/resources that you recommend for an upcoming job interview?

Also, you once told a story of someone who worked in the tech industry that you counselled, and you recommended some questions for him to ask in periodic performance reviews. Does this ring a bell at all? I've had trouble remembering/locating this Podcast.

Stay well,


David replies

Hi Marc, Yes, we can discuss the secrets of successful job interview  on a podcast. I have LOTS of tips, actually, and we can perhaps do a podcast on this.

We could also focus on how to respond to your supervisor during performance reviews, and I DO have an amazing story about that as well; it was the fellow who had been fired six times in two years.

Thanks for reminding me. I might have given him the name of Rameesh, but not sure!

Best, David

 4. Brian asks: Could transgenderism result from distorted thoughts?

Hi David,

Happy New Year, and thank you for your amazing Monday podcasts.

I just started listening to yours today about transgenderism. Could transgenderism be the result of distorted thoughts?

I know it's a very sensitive subject like anti-depressants.



David’s Reply

Hi Brian,

Thanks for the question. Copying Robin, as she’s the expert.

But to my way of thinking, the answer is no. I believe, though I’m no expert, that gender identity as well as sexual preferences are primarily biological in origin, although there are obviously strong cultural influences and biases.

For example, ice cream preferences are kind of inherent to people, and mysterious, and cannot be changed by changing our thinking! I love blueberry pie, and many others don’t care for it. Just a preference!

Saying that gender results from distorted thoughts might also be hurtful, as if our identities might be somehow “wrong” or “defective.”

Might use as an Ask David question if you and Robin have no objection.

Best, david

Thanks for listening today!