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Burns Book Group Introduction Lawyers Assistance Program Facilitated by Robert Bircher 1.

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Presentation on theme: "Burns Book Group Introduction Lawyers Assistance Program Facilitated by Robert Bircher 1."— Presentation transcript:

1 Burns Book Group Introduction Lawyers Assistance Program Facilitated by Robert Bircher 1

2 Burns Group This group is for Lawyers that want to improve their mood We meet 3 times a month and use “The Feeling Good Handbook” as our guide It is based on Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) which is one of the most effective talking forms of therapy Basically it is about changing the way you think which will change the way you feel 2

3 Burns Group The group involves some homework, about 1hour a week A good thing to compare it to is physical fitness, which takes time and effort but really pays off We are changing the way we think or process information, we are trying to edit out distorted thinking You will be surprised at how much of what you think is actually quite inaccurate 3

4 Burns Group We are talking about the kind of thinking that causes suffering : “I made a mistake in a document, I am so dumb, I can’t believe I did that” or “ I owe so much money that I will never get out of debt, I might end up as a bag lady” or “My girlfriend now just wants to be “friends”, I will never have a good relationship, I am such a loser” This type of thinking causes pain and tends to be negative, repetitive and useless 4

5 Burns Group Most people are unaware that their thinking is conditioned and habitual just like many other behaviors People also believe that something outside of themselves must change before they can be happy i.e. my job, my partner, my finances etc. CBT is based on the premise that “nothing is either good or bad but thinking makes it so” 5

6 Burns Group The task then is to change or at least have a measure of control of our thinking process rather than have it on auto pilot This is the essence of what we do in the Burns group This requires a change in our conditioned thinking processes which is not easy since almost everyone cherishes their own thinking What most people call the “truth” is really just a firmly held opinion 6

7 Burns Group What you will find is that many of your most cherished opinions are highly distorted and are inconsistent with an accurate analysis We will learn to separate identification with “what is” from your “story of what is” Most people suffer because they try and deal with their “story of what is” rather than just dealing with what is 7

8 Burns Group “I don’t have a job” is what is. “I am a loser, my marks or work history is terrible, I am going to have to take a crappy job etc.” are stories we may tell ourselves. These stories result in feelings of sadness,fear,depression or worthlessness which are not useful, they are mind manufactured problems not real ones Most suffering and depression comes from our reaction to our own stories-not reality itself 8

9 Burns Group In this group we look at how our own interpretations of reality cause problems Because we are changing habits of thinking it requires effort; just like changing any other habit What works is to read the book-do the exercises-come to the group-put into effect in your life what you have learned The group is a more powerful tool than working alone since you have the benefit of many experiences 9

10 Burns Group We will measure our moods regularly in an objective manner We will take your life events and look at various ways of interpreting them A fable: I was hiking around Kelowna when I realized that I was about to step on a huge rattlesnake, I thought that “there is no one around for miles and this will be a slow painful death”, my heart was pounding with fear 10

11 Burns Group I then looked down and my eyes began to focus and I then realized it was just a rope! I began to laugh and felt great joy because I knew I was safe and would never be frightened of it again. I felt gratitude and ease. The rest of the world could come across this snake and scream, run away, have heart attacks, scare themselves to death-and I could be calm and fearless because I knew the snake is just a rope 11

12 Burns Group The payoff for your effort will be the realization that almost all of what bothers you is “only a rope” not the snake your mind says it is Most of your “problems” are False Evidence Appearing Real When people get this at a deep level their depression and anxiety go down dramatically-(I do not mean an intellectual level of understanding which is only superficial and won’t make much difference in your life) To make this shift takes many months and some Lawyers repeat this group more than once-many will notice a difference within a few weeks 12

13 Self Disclosure Group process involves talking to others about yourself-some people who have done groups(12 step, Haven, Landmark, Excellence Series etc.) will have no problem with this. They have let go of the “the ideal story of me” People who have not done groups will be thinking “do I have to spill my guts?” or will be fearful that they will be forced to reveal embarrassing things about themselves 13

14 Self Disclosure Boundaries-you will never be asked to disclose anything you don’t want to –you don’t have to do any exercise-there is never any pressure Most people want to feel safe around others before they talk about deeply personal issues-we want you to set your own boundaries about how little or how much you reveal Generally most people, over time will gradually feel safe and be more willing to trust others 14

15 Intimacy and Group Process You don’t have to reveal anything but be aware that acknowledgement and revelation of self is intimacy People feel closer to others when there is genuine intimacy-hiding out is ok but will create distance Revelation of yourself usually creates closeness-it does not mean people will run out of the room screaming “who is this lunatic?” Almost always great friendships are made in this group- generally the more you are willing to reveal the closer people will feel to you-this is also true in life! 15

16 Group Ground Rules and Boundaries Ground rules vary from group to group but some are required 1.Confidentiality-What is said here stays here, this extends to who is here, people cannot be mentioned or identified (a bald guy who works at the LAP) in any way. The nature of these groups requires this. 2.Attendance-What works is to show up as much as you can, make your happiness priority one 16

17 Ground Rules and Boundaries 3.Do your homework-You can’t contribute if you haven’t done the work-reading and doing the exercises really works-you can’t do this type of work in your head This is part one of a series, we will have about 10 sessions on the general idea of CBT then examine specific issues like procrastination, relationships and self esteem-this will take about a year-it is like a mental health fitness program-it takes time and effort and gets great results 17


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