The Feeling Good Therapist - Double Standard Technique

Double Standard Technique with host, Richard Lam, LMFT, featuring Shiveta Gandotra, PhD, LMFT, APCC


Richard: Hi, everyone. Welcome to the Feeling Good Therapist, where we learn skills to help you in your own personal journey or for your own private practice. And today, we have Shiveta Gandotra, who will be helping us with learning the Double Standard Technique, a skill developed by Dr. David Burns.

Shiveta: Thank you so much for having me here, Richard. My name is Shiveta Gandotra, and I'm a therapist at Feeling Good Institute. And today, I'm going to teach a method known as Double Standard Technique.

So, Richard, you will play a role of my client who is upset about not getting the promotion in his job. And the negative thought you are having right now is I'm a failure and the moods that's kind of associated like the emotions that's associated with this thought is like you are upset you are discouraged and you are kind of ashamed and unhappy. Would you like to try this with me?

Richard: Yeah, that sounds like a lovely technique to try with you. Let's get going with it.

Shiveta: Wonderful. So, uh, Let me briefly explain this approach. So double standard technique is a valuable tool in CBT, which promotes self-compassion. And it is basically a role play technique. And here, Richard, you get an easy role.

You will play yourself and I am going to play a dear friend of yours. A dear friend, someone you care about and have lots of compassion towards. Actually, a clone of you with all the same life experiences and negative thoughts. And your job is to talk back to your friend in a kind and compassionate manner. Does that make sense to you?

Richard: Yeah, that makes a lot of sense to me.

Shiveta: So would you like to try this with me?

Richard: Yeah, happy to.

Shiveta: So Richard, before we begin, could you kindly remind me of your role in the play?

Richard: I think I'm playing the role of myself, Richard. Is that right?

Shiveta: Absolutely. That's right. And who I am portraying?

Richard: You're a close friend of mine who is essentially kind of like a carbon copy of me. So we're very similar, exactly the same, essentially.

Shiveta: Yeah, that's right. So Richard, you have always been such a supportive friend and I wanted to share something with you.

Like last week, I was really hoping for a promotion at work, but unfortunately it did not happen and they choose another team member. I can't help but feel like I have let myself and others down. It left me feeling incredibly disheartened and defeated. So do you think I have failed and I'm a failure?

Richard: Oh gosh, I'm so sad that happened to you. I don't think you're a failure at all. You're really brilliant. You know so much and part of this is I think highly of your skills and it sucks that you didn't get a promotion.

And at the same time, I don't know, maybe the promotion is just going to be right around the corner for you. There's a lot that can happen, a lot of things that influence why people don't get promotions. And I'm sure you'll be able to improve more and do more because knowing you, I know you're one to study and try to become better and to really learn more skills and tools that will help you become a better version of yourself.

So I'm really proud of you to continue to stick with it And I'm just really encouraging you just to apply for the next promotion that's coming up.

Shiveta: Yeah, yeah. Hearing this, it feels great. But I can't stop wondering if you're saying all that just to be nice to me because I'm a dear friend of yours, or do you genuinely mean it?

Richard: Well, on one hand, I am being nice because you're my friend. But at the same time, I do genuinely mean it.

Everything that I said is 100% true. And it's true that you're a very skilled engineer. And at the same time, I know you can get the next promotion if you wanted to. You just got to continue to keep up with it and just stay the resilient self that you are.

Shiveta: Yeah, yeah. So Richard, if everything you said is true for me, does that mean it's true for you too?

Richard: I mean it only makes sense because we're essentially the same person. So if it's true for you, of course it's true for me.

Shiveta: Yeah. Let's step out of the role play and tell me, do you believe in everything you said?

Richard: Yeah, absolutely. That makes so much sense. It also feels so much better just kind of think about it in that way.

Shiveta: Yeah. So considering the thought, “I'm a failure”. How much do you believe in the thought that says, uh, I'm a failure for not being promoted?

Richard: It's not really true at all. I mean, it doesn't really mean that I'm a failure. It just means that I just have more opportunities to grow and just continue to push myself because I know at the end of the day, I will get the promotion in the future. It's just a matter of time.

Shiveta: That sounds awesome. Yeah. So have you noticed any changes in how you perceive yourself now that you have challenged and overcome that belief?

Richard: Yeah, I'm just kind of feeling a little bit lighter. It just doesn't feel as heavy anymore. And I am really pretty optimistic.

And I'm actually more encouraged to kind of study more and do more work and maybe get some more skill sets under my belt.

Shiveta: Wonderful. I see the thought, the emotion changing from pessimistic to optimistic. Yeah. That's perfect. That's the double standard technique.

Richard: Wonderful. Let's pause right there. Thank you so much, Shweta, for such a wonderful demonstration of the double standard technique. For those of you who want to learn more about Shweta, feel free to look at her descriptions below. And if you're wanting to learn more about skills and tools that will help you in your own personal journey or in your private practice, feel free to subscribe. Thank you, everyone. We'll see you next time.

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