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About T.E.A.M Therapy

What is T.E.A.M Therapy

Developed by David Burns, M.D. professor emeritus of psychiatry at Stanford University, T.E.A.M therapy is an acronym which stands for Testing, Empathy, Agenda Setting, Methods. (www.feelinggood.com) In my opinion, T.E.A.M is perhaps the most advanced style of delivering psychotherapy at this point in the history. This method is based on an egalitarian relationship between the therapist and the patient and is based on compassion and a strong degree of respect for the patient’s wish and what they would like to get out of therapy. Each component of the method is described below. You are also encouraged to listen to the audio segment of T.E.A.M Explained, by Dr. Dashtban.

T-Testing. Patients often feel differently than their therapist. Most of the times therapists are wrong in guessing how far have their patients made progress and or in what specific area have their patients made progress. The “Testing” part of the method is designed to specifically obtain test scores at various times in the course of the treatment, including the beginning and ending of each session.

E-Empathy. There are 5 components to empathy titled The Five Secrets of Effective Communication. Using these 5 components, the therapist listens intently to what the patient is saying, how they are feeling, and what is the most troublesome part of their complaint. They also model to the patient what is it like to be listened to with empathy, so patients can do the same with their own relationships.

A-Agenda Setting. While patients tell their therapists what has been bothering them in detail, it sometimes becomes less clear what type of help they wish to receive in order to alleviate the negative aspects of their mood or their life circumstances. Agenda setting makes it possible for patients and the therapist to know exactly what type of help they need and what needs to happen in order for their life circumstances to change.

M-Methods. There are at least 50 different methods, most of which are cognitive behavioral theory types of methods that are used in order for the identified problem to be resolved. The therapist and the patient join efforts in a similar way as detectives, and together they aim to fail as quickly as possible at each method in order to arrive at the one that will help solve the problem.

What to expect:

A speedy recovery from anxiety and depressive symptoms, improvement in your health condition such as your weight or your pain condition or the health of your heart or your gastrointestinal symptoms

What are the sessions like:

Ideally, we meet for two back to back sessions (100 minutes) per week. We spend the first session going over your presenting problems and having me understand it fully, have a chance to learn how it has affected you and feel the pressure that you are experiencing. The second session is spent on receiving treatments from me. You will have a chance to recognize closely what type of thought distortions have brought about the apprehension or dissatisfaction you are experiencing and you will learn how to strike through those thought distortions and maladaptive health problems. So each double session is typically a complete course of therapy where you get help for the particular problem that you present on that day.

How come recovery is speedy:

Two reasons:

1) First Reason:
We meet for two consecutive sessions during which time you receive support and empathy, AND you receive interventions and treatments. Alternatively, you would have had to wait until the following session to tackle that problem and even then other things would have come up and so by the time you get any treatments a number of weeks would have passed by.

2) Second reason:
T.E.A.M therapy heavily emphasizes on therapy home works. You and your therapist develop a game plan to be implemented in between sessions. For example, you might be needing to take note of your negative thoughts throughout the week and keep a daily mood journal. In any case, you will be asked to purchase one or two self help books (refer to the Media tab in this website) and read several chapters of the book during the week. Think of T.E.A.M therapy similarly to learning a new language or playing a musical instrument. Your therapy hours are your lesson times and your practices during the week is what really gives you the mastery of that language or musical instrument. In this case, you will gain mastery over the problem that brought you to treatment.