The T.E.A.M. approach to therapy –

Think of T.E.A.M. as “CBT and more.” T.E.A.M. Therapy incorporates CBT (Cognitive behavioral therapy) with other psychotherapy (talk therapy) methods to help patients get better.


What is T.E.A.M.?

Adjunct Clinical Professor of Psychiatry Emeritus at Stanford University Dr. David Burns developed T.E.A.M. Therapy.

T.E.A.M. Therapy builds on Cognitive behavioral therapy’s strengths. Instead of using CBT alone, T.E.A.M. incorporates a number of approaches that work together to get to the root of clients’ problems and, with therapist and patient working together, fixing them.

According to Dr. Burns, T.E.A.M. Therapy generally works faster than talk therapy.

T.E.A.M. is an acronym for: Testing, Empathy, (Paradoxical) Agenda Setting, and Methods.

T = Testing

E = Empathy

A = (Paradoxical) agenda setting

M = Methods

How T.E.A.M. works

T = Testing

Patients are tested before and after therapy sessions to track improvement.

Clients measure their symptoms using scales that assess if they are meeting their goals. They also rate their therapists’ warmth, understanding, and helpfulness. This feedback allows therapists to assess their approach and look for ways to improve patient outcomes.

E = Empathy

Empathy is important for therapists to be effective. One of the therapist’s roles is to view things from the patient’s perspective. Empathy alone usually doesn’t cure patients, but it is an important aspect of effective treatment. Most people benefit from having a space to talk where they are understood and accepted.

T.E.A.M. Therapy emphasizes therapists’ empathy.

A = (Paradoxical) Agenda Setting

When we suffer, we want to get better. However, failure is often due to our resistance to change. Some clients discover their symptoms are advantageous. You will likely feel conflicted about recovery. In T.E.A.M. Therapy the client sets an agenda for every therapy session. The therapist and client focus on:

  • Problems the client wants to change
  • Problems most upsetting to the client

Agenda setting helps sort out your motivation to change and helps you decide if you think it’s worth it. The therapist and client will discuss pros and cons of change as well as an action plan.

M = Methods

Dr. Burns has developed techniques to help with depression, anxiety, relationship problems, and addictions. A few of these include:

  • Daily Mood Log
  • Identify the Distortions
  • Externalization of Voices
  • Acceptance Paradox
  • Paradoxical Double Standard Technique
  • Hidden Emotion Technique
  • Cognitive Flooding
  • Feared Fantasy,
  • Relationship Journal
  • Interpersonal Downward Arrow
  • Intimacy Exercise (one minute drill)
  • Addiction / Habit Log
  • Devil’s Advocate Technique
  • and more

T.E.A.M. Therapy helps defeat negative thoughts, beliefs, and behavior patterns that reduce joy, self-esteem, productivity, and intimacy.

Who benefits from TEAM?

People who can utilize T.E.A.M. include individuals with:

  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Relationship problems
  • Addictions
  • And more
T.E.A.M. Therapy outcomes:

  • Develop intimacy, confidence, and self-esteem
  • Understand why you struggle with these problems
  • Acquire relapse prevention techniques
  • Gain the ability to move out of a depression to feeling better quicker
Contact Garry Waterman

Garry Waterman (LMSW, ACSW) graduated from the University of Michigan in 1990 and has been helping clients improve their mental health ever since.

Waterman is a licensed clinical social worker and therapist – and a provider of T.E.A.M. Therapy – who can help address the root causes of your mental health issues and devise an effective treatment plan to help you improve your mental health. Garry Waterman works with children, teens, and adults, and specializes in working with Army Veterans.

If you think you could benefit from Garry’s expertise in helping people with mental health issues, contact our office to set up an appointment today.