About TEAM

What is TEAM-CBT?
An approach like no other!


Developed by Dr. David Burns, MD adjunct professor at Stanford University, world renown psychiatrist, and best selling author. TEAM. is a cutting-edge, evidence based method for the treatment of depression, anxiety, troubled relationships, habits/addiction and more.

It draws heavily on the techniques of Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) but it is so much more. TEAM adds many tools from all kinds of psychotherapy including in a large part empathy and therapeutic connection (feeling understood is a huge part of recovery1) and the powerful effectiveness of agenda setting (making sure the client is ready for change). TEAM is being used by thousands of therapists and life coaches around the world because it is so effective.

Quick Overview

  • T – Testing: Rapid, reliable session-by-session assessment of both symptoms and therapeutic relationship.
  • E – Empathy: Accurate, compassionate understanding of your unique problem or situation
  • A – Assessment: Pinpoint resistance, boost motivation, figure out what is getting in the way of change
  • M – Methods: In TEAM we don’t limit ourselves to one method. We use tools from over 12 modalities such as: cognitive & behavioral techniques from CBT, mindfulness techniques, interpersonal tools, psycho-dynamic, exposure techniques, and 50+ more. In fact, in TEAM any tool in psychology or life coaching can be used if deemed appropriate for a particular client. We want to find what works for YOU! (Note: not all methods are appropriate for life coaching or video sessions.)

Quick Overview of TEAM!

For getting trained in TEAM-CBT

Why is TEAM-CBT effective?

When we get bogged down with one thing it has a ripple effect. Dealing with that one thing can unravel the self-defeating beliefs that get us stuck. TEAM works because it combines the best of several disciplines and doesn’t limit itself to one modality of therapy and TEAM therapist’s and life coaches are not afraid to fail. CBT is in the news and is one of the most up and coming treatments for mental health. CBT can’t cure everything! So if those one tool fails we move on to try others until we find the one that is effective for you.

There are more reasons TEAM-CBT works well::

  • It provides structure using testing to determine what is working and what doesn’t.
  • It allows for variety while getting specific. Specificity is vital to know where you are at now and where you want to be. We dig down to the root of the issue not just put a band-aid on symptoms.
  • It is collaborative. We work together. Often we can’t see solutions until we process information by having a dialog. Clients need expert support but experts can’t read minds, nor do they have all the answers. Combined we can be a force to be reckoned with.
  • It’s all about the client. I know, all therapy is about the client. But in TEAM we embrace a philosophy called, “Sitting with Open Hands” which allows for a clients complete autonomy. We know not everyone will be a good fit and that’s not anyone fault. A good TEAM therapist will notice this and recommend a client to another therapist if there is not the needed connection or if the sessions seem to be at a stalemate.

Coaching/therapy works because it gives you the focus to make specific goals that are real and attainable, it empowers you to accomplish those goals through education and skill development, all the while helping you work through the challenges that impede the success of goal attainment.

TEAM in more Detail:

  • T – Testing: TEAM therapists do surveys before and after every session to track progress and check in how things are working. We also use other measurement tools like the Daily Mood Log, diagnostic surveys, all kinds of scales for issues & disorders, and tracking tools.
    • “The Effects of Routine Outcome Monitoring (ROM) on Therapy Outcomes from the Journal of Counseling Psychology, 2018, shows ROM results in 2.5 times improvement in symptoms and functioning and is associated with better treatment outcomes independent of clients’ initial distress levels or therapeutic approach used.”1
  • E – Empathy: Connection is important for any relationship but especially a theraputic one2. In TEAM we use the 5 Secrets of Effective Communication which propels theraputic alliance (psychology speak for feeling warmth, supported, and understood) to the next level. Rather than keeping clients at arms lenght we invite them into a healthy, appropriate connection with us. We do this by finding the truth in what the other person is saying, understanding the meaning behind the message, reflecting back to the other person EXACTLY what they said combined with how they might be feeling, share a little how you are feeling or other appropriate self-disclosure, convey respect and affirmation, and ask open ended questions. Get the book, “Feeling Good Together” by Dr. David Burns to learn more why this combination is so much more effective than traditional empathy.
    • “Research supports the benefits of both mutual and collaborative approaches. For example, one meta-analysis of 21 studies identified by the task force finds that when therapists share their feelings about the patient or the therapy relationship—a mutual approach known as “immediacy”—the patient’s mental health functioning and insight improve ( Psychotherapy , Vol. 55, No. 4, 2018). Another meta-analysis of 107 studies finds that therapy outcomes are enhanced when the therapist and patient agree and collaborate on patient goals ( Psychotherapy , Vol. 55, No. 4, 2018).” 3
    • David reports in his book, “Tools, NOT Schools” research shows therapists are not as good at empathy as they think they are, and consistenatly report much higher ratings than their clients give them. Another reason for Testing!
    • A – Assessment: We invite the client to get to work only after they feel understood and heard. Next we discuss what the client wants to work on exactly. We ask the Miracle Cure question: “If you were to get exactly what you wanted out of our work together, what would that look like?” Then we pick a moment in time and do part of a Daily Mood Log (DML) filling in the upsetting event, emotions, rate the intensity of the emotions, fill in the negative thoughts, and rate how much they believe those thoughts. Then we offer a magic button, “would you want all these feelings to go to 0?” Of course, most of us would like to feel happy not sad, calm not stressed, but there are some good reasons and some functions to these emotions so we explore those next. Finally we talk about what it will take to get better.
      • Paradoxical interventions have been shown to be more effective for certain issues.4 In fact, those who have the most resistance to change/therapy will benefit from this approach.5
    • M – Methods: Once the client is totally ready to get to work, we start going through various methods to crush their negative thoughts from the DML. There are all kinds of methods, but we start with Identifying the Distortions (if we are doing mood work), and then move on from there. Pick up one of David’s books: “When Panic Attacks” “Feeling Great” “10 Days to Self-Esteem” “Feeling Good” or “Feeling Good Handbook” or visit his website for hundreds of free resources.
      • Numerous studies could be cited here. Some tools work better than others for some issues. In TEAM we don’t get bogged down with ONE tool or another. Psychodynamic, sure. ACT, DBT, CBT, REBT, and all the other acronyms fit into TEAM!

If you are a therapist, life coach, doctor, or other mental health professional and you’d like to learn more about TEAM, I highly recommend David’s ebook for Therapists, “Tools, NOT Schools” available here.

If you are seeking help for mental health I recommend, David’s book, “Feeling Great” and/or take my course, “Positive Mental Health 4 Christians” (ignore the faith references if you are not religious).

Learn more about TEAM from Dr. Burns himself.

Visit David’s website www.feelinggood.com or itunes for his free podcast Feeling Good.

Disclaimer for Christians. While I reference works by Dr. David Burns and others, there are some occasional concepts that I personally do not ascribe to. No one is perfect and please be mindful there can and will be things we don’t all agree on. I aim to be as neutral as possible in working with clients so long as that is ethical and in the clients best interest.. If you’d like to learn more about TEAM & the Bible please read my FREE booklet, “The Truth will Set you Free”. 

Listen to what others have to say about TEAM on the Talking TEAM YouTube Channel



1. https://feelinggoodinstitute.com/blog/measurement-matters-in-effective-cognitive-behavioral-therapy-research-brief

2. https://psychology.org.au/for-members/publications/inpsych/2018/october-issue-4/the-power-of-empathy#:~:text=Empathy%20allows%20the%20therapist%20to,them%20in%20an%20appropriate%20way.

3. https://www.apa.org/monitor/2019/11/ce-corner-relationships

4. https://psycnet.apa.org/record/1987-16313-001

5. https://www.researchgate.net/publication/232593811_Resistance

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