174: Sadness as Celebration featuring Steve & Barbara Reinhard

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Manage episode 249579741 series 1691042
By David Burns, MD, David Burns, and MD. Discovered by Player FM and our community — copyright is owned by the publisher, not Player FM, and audio is streamed directly from their servers. Hit the Subscribe button to track updates in Player FM, or paste the feed URL into other podcast apps.

People in the featured photo for today's podcast. Back row: Amir, David, Rhonda, and Dave. Front row: Steve and Barb

This will be our first podcast of 2020, so we wanted to make it a really good one!

Rhonda, Dave and I are very proud to welcome Steve Reinhard and his wonderful wife, Barb, on today’s podcast. Steve and Barbara flew in from Colorado to join the Sunday hike and do this podcast in the “Murietta Studios” following the hike. Steve is a former electrical contractor and lay minister, and is the first certified life coach to be admitted into the TEAM-CBT certification program at the Feeling Good Institute in Mt. View, Ca, (link).

The following is a heart-warming email I received from Steve prior to the show.

Subject: Re: looking forward

Hi David,

Woohoo! We are partners in crime! I'm feeling super comfortable now.

Thanks David for your generous invitation! I'm happy to jump on any of the 3 options you suggested for the show. I'd love to hear your stories, especially those of undistorted sadness where you celebrated with tears, aware of the suffering we folks tend to keep hidden.

I cry a lot these days, laugh a lot too. In that regard I'd love to have my own personal Ask David session. David, I love the old, demented, weak human guy, while admiring the pioneering, genius who teaches so clearly & humanly. My questions wouldn't be so much for me to learn or be taught but to connect with you. I'm crying as I write. As a listener I want to connect with the human, David. May or may not be something you want to do. We have loads to interact with.

Yep, I take a "spiritual " approach & would love to interact with you being anti-religious. Listeners might find this helpful & it sounds fun to me. A great opportunity for me to experience a death of the ego & the acceptance paradox which I have found liberating before I knew what it was called.

I'd love to talk about what it's like to be diagnosed with blood cancer and holey bones & some of the nutty things we say to each other when we don't know what to say. Empathy in the Five Secrets way is extremely rare from my distorted perspective. Aging & being willing to challenge the many shoulds & shouldn'ts that accompany things being different than they were last year would be fun to talk about.

I can't keep track of the # of times folks repeat "getting old is hell", same with cancer, vision problems, walking problems, drug side effects. I would love to hear your stories & experience as an old demented guy who can't walk as fast as he did a couple years ago.

Thanks for your generous invitation. I still find it surprising that I get to have this experience with you all. I'm really looking forward to today’s show.

Steve

We began the podcast with a discussion of the role of lay therapists in the field of mental health. Coaching is newly emerging field of counseling that does not require graduate work in psychiatry, psychology, social work, or counseling. In the past, coaches have not been permitted to enter the TEAM-CBT certification program. However, Dr. Angela Krumm, who is the head of the FGI certification program changed that policy specifically so that Steve—and now, other certified coaches as well--can be certified in TEAM-CBT, and I applaud this change.

The role of lay therapists has always been highly controversial. I can recall that when I was in college in the 1960s, there was a lively debate about so-called “lay psychoanalysts.” Previously, you had to be an MD to be a psychoanalyst, but over time, non-MDs were permitted to become psychoanalysts. To my way of thinking, this debate has always been more about power and the protection of territory than about skill or the capacity to heal.

Now we are seeing the same questions being raised about certified life coaches. In my experience, graduate training doesn’t always guarantee that someone will be a skillful therapist, and sometimes the opposite is true. In fact, in my experience, the LESS previous training therapists have, the easier they are to train in TEAM-CBT, because they don’t have so much training they have to “unlearn.” The Buddhists say that an empty cup is better than a full cup, because the full cup spills over when you try to pour the wine.

Of course, there’s a downside, too, since therapists can also be sometimes exploitative and can be hurtful to patients. This includes coaches as well as mental health professionals with graduate training.

Next, we asked Steve about the role of spirituality in his TEAM-CBT counseling, since he is a also a lay minister. I am convinced that the spiritual dimension can be important and powerful in therapy, and that at the moment of our deepest change, the change is not only psychological, emotional, and behavioral, but also spiritual, because we may suddenly “see” things from a much deeper perspective. Much in TEAM-CBT is easily integrated with spirituality. For example, the Acceptance Paradox is an inherently spiritual technique that can play an important role in recovery from depression and anxiety.

One of Steve’s motives I doing this podcast was to have his own Ask David session, and one of his questions was, “What is it like to be regarded by many people as a guru?” I described the blessings as well as the occasional curses and problems that come with this moniker!

Then the conversation turns to Steve’s devastating diagnosis of blood cancer—multiple myeloma—just over a year ago, and how hard and frustrating it has been for Steve to get people just to listen and provide support, including his doctors, and how incredibly meaningful it is when people express simple compassion and love.

Steve also talks about how he has decided to accept his cancer, and not to “fight it” or to go to war with his body. And acceptance does not mean refusing treatment—Steve is receiving chemotherapy for his multiple myeloma. The acceptance we are describing is more of a mind-set of peacefulness. We also talked about the fact that the problems of aging are not unique, but are simply the problems of living, problems we can encounter at any age. The whole basis of cognitive therapy is that our feelings result from our thoughts, and not the circumstances of our lives. This is a very optimistic message because we often cannot change the facts of our lives, but we can do a great deal to change the way we think and feel.

I ended the podcast by raising the question of “Sadness as Celebration.” I asked whether tears and feelings of sadness in response to the suffering of others might actually be one of the highest experiences a human being can have, and is perhaps the deepest meaning of spirituality. I described a somewhat bizarre experience I had on the Nevada desert when I was a Stanford medical student in the 1960s—it was an experience I have kept secret for nearly 50 years, and talk about for the first time on this podcast.

After the podcast, I emailed Rhonda to get her “take” on the show. Usually, we focus on specific techniques our podcast fans might want to learn. But this time, we just kind of were “hanging out” together, so I was concerned and feeling a bit self-critical. I was also concerned that I may have sounded like a loony at times on the show, since my personal story was perhaps over the top.

Here’s how Rhonda replied:

Hi David,

As I was listening to the Steve podcast, it struck me that it was really friends talking, getting to know each other, sharing stories and joking around and being serious sometimes. That's why I thought it was really lovely.

I listened to Steve's podcast after dinner. I loved it!

You are so charming, and tell sweet stories that open up your life to the listener. I think everyone will love how endearing you are.

Steve was articulate, vulnerable and open. While it's not an episode where you are teaching anything specific, it is a lovely podcast and I think regular listeners will love the opportunity to get to know you.

Rhonda

So, let us know what you think!

Thank you, Steve and Barbara, for your generous appearance on today’s show.

And we also thank YOU for tuning in today!

Rhonda and David

PS After the show, Rhonda and I got this great email from Steve:

Hi David and Rhonda,

Just getting back to communicating after a full & thrilling trip to California! Arrived home Monday evening, then off to Chemo center most of Tuesday & now regaining energy.

I like your show notes David—mucho.

Really enjoyed the hike, lunch, getting to sit in on Amir's podcast, then to interact with David, Barb, & Rhonda. Loved your stories, David, and the whole experience of tears and celebrating sadness. Oh yea, and the big kiss on the lips!

A lot of other ideas & questions have popped into my thinking since the podcast. One being that us Christians are pretty judgmental. This is supremely true, and is probably one of the best-selling points of religion that's kept hidden behind the smoke and mirrors.

It's so much fun to judge folks, look down on everyone else and have that feeling of moral superiority! Probably better than LSD I'm guessing.

What bugs me about "religion" most is how many folks suffer under the whip of having to improve and become better and jump over impossible standards. Of course, they could move on to the Acceptance Paradox and right into celebrating sadness in a split second if they wish.

What wonderful time it was with you all.

Feeling grateful to share life with each of you.

Love you,

Steve

Second PS: If you are looking for CE credits or training in TEAM-CBT, my upcoming workshop on therapeutic resistance on February 9, 2020 will be a good one. See below for details and links! David

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