The Feeling Good Therapist - Blame CBA (Cost-Benefit Analysis) Technique

Blame CBA (Cost-Benefit Analysis) Technique with host, Richard Lam, LMFT, featuring My Tu, LMFT 

*This Technique was developed by Dr. David Burns, American Psychiatrist and Adjunct Clinical Professor Emeritus of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences at the Stanford University School of Medicine.

The powerful Blame CBA (cost-benefit analysis) Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) Technique, created by Dr. David Burns, is designed to help individuals navigate complex relationship dynamics, particularly when blame is a recurring issue. Through a role-play scenario, you'll witness how therapist My guides the client, Richard, through a structured process of examining the advantages and disadvantages of blame (cost-benefit analysis). By systematically analyzing the reasons for continuing to blame their partner and exploring the detrimental consequences of this behavior, Richard gains clarity on the impact of blame game on their relationship and themselves. As he realizes the heavy toll that blame takes on their self-esteem and the relationship, he begins to actively look for solutions on how to avoid blaming in relationship. This helps him shift his perspective towards letting go of blame as a means to improve emotional well-being and enhance connection with his partner. 

This video serves as a valuable resource to learn about 'accountability vs blame in relationships' - helping therapists and individuals seeking to overcome blame shifting and foster healthier relationships. Don't miss the opportunity to learn from this engaging therapy technique and its potential for effective change.


Richard: Welcome everyone to the Feeling Good Therapist where we learn different skills and tools to help therapists in their practice or even help everyday people in their everyday lives. And, today we have My Tu, who will be teaching us a really awesome skill to call the Cost Benefit Analysis of Blame, a tool created by Dr. David Burns.

My Tu: Hi everyone, thanks for having me. My name is My and today, Richard will be playing as one of my clients, who's having relationship issues with his girlfriend and we’re gonna practising using the Cost Benefit Analysis a tool of blame and see if he's ready to let go of some of that blank, feel closer to his girlfriend. Hi Richard, are you ready?

Richard: Yeah, let's do it.

My Tu: Alright! Hey Richard, I know you've been having some trouble with your girlfriend and you want to work on feeling closer to her. And today, we'll be using a method called the Cost Benefit Analysis of Blame to see, if you're feeling ready to let go of some of that blame to feel closer to your girlfriend.

Richard: That sounds good! How does that work?

My Tu: So, how it works is first, we're gonna look at this one part at a time. We're gonna look at the advantages of continuing to blame and then, we're going to look at the disadvantages of continuing to blame your girlfriend.

Richard: Yeah!

My Tu: So, can you share what are some good reasons to keep blaming your girlfriend?

Richard: Well, she kind of deserves it I mean, she does all these horrible things to me so it's good to kind of blame her and tell her because she deserves it.

My Tu: Yeah, okay. So, one of the reasons to keep blaming her is because she deserves it. What are other good reasons to keep blaming her?

Richard: I guess, if I just you know, tell her like it's her fault and she needs to change it, she's more likely to change and I don't have to.

My Tu: So, we keep telling her that she'll need to change. Then maybe, she will and then you wouldn't have to change. I think that's actually like another point there is that, can you blame her then you won't have to change.

Richard: Yeah, I guess those are two separate ones. I'll make sure I get that down.

My Tu: Can you think of any other good reasons to keep blaming her?

Richard: I don't know, I don't think so.

My Tu: Let's think about this together. Maybe, it's just easier to blame.

Richard: Yeah, it's definitely a lot easier to blame rather than just kind of accepting responsibility and working out myself. So, definitely easier.

My Tu: And another popular reason to continue blaming is that, feels good to be right. Doesn't it?

Richard: Yeah, it definitely feels good to be right and I mean a big part of it is, she needs to know that she's wrong and that I'm right. So, definitely a good one.

My Tu: Okay and you know as I'm saying these, can you think of any other good reasons for yourself?

Richard: Well, I guess a part of this is I don't have to, I'm gonna do some self-reflection on my part, which sometimes could be a little painful.

My Tu: Could be painful to have to actually look at yourself.

Okay and you know, we can think of more than we can always add it to the list but it sounds like we have a good handful of really good reasons to continue blaming her. So, let's look on the other side, are there any disadvantages to keep blaming your girlfriend?

Richard: Yeah, it doesn't really help, I mean it doesn't make the relationship any better. In fact, I feel like because I blame her, she blames me back and we just continue butting heads so it makes things worse.

My Tu: So, it’s a vicious cycle up and blames you.

Richard: Yeah, exactly!

And, at the end of the day, I don't feel good about myself either. After I blame her because maybe she's in tears afterwards and I feel guilty and bad.

My Tu: Yes and what you're saying is that the intention is to get closer to her but then you notice that when there's blaming going on, when you see her in tears and sadness that doesn't make you feel good either.

Richard: Yeah, exactly!

My Tu: Like doing the opposite?

Richard: Yeah!

My Tu: Any other disadvantages to blame her that you can think of, that you've noticed in your patterns?

Richard: Yeah, it doesn't really change anything and we just kind of repeat the same thing over and over again and we just continue to feel horrible every time so it's just a repeat pattern and nothing improves.

My Tu: So, it’s the same pattern and nothing’s improving.

What if there are any other disadvantages you've noticed, any good reasons to let go of blame?

Richard: Well, I think it will help us kind of get closer. If I'm not blaming her anymore maybe, she'll eventually stop blaming me too but either way, I don't feel good about continuing to blame her. I don't feel good about myself.

My Tu: Yeah, it's not making you feel good about yourself either and I'm curious when you said if I don't keep blaming her will get closer. Can you say more about that piece?

Richard: Yeah, I mean every time I blame her, I think I push her further away but maybe if I stop blaming her there's a chance, we might get closer. I mean, it's more for sure to try something different because it’s kind of crazy to think that I continue blaming her and expect a different result because it's always the same result but I keep doing it.

My Tu: That is true too.

Yeah, the blaming, it is hard to imagine like when you blame someone, it makes you closer.

Okay, and now looking back on the other side of good reasons to continue blaming. I'm wondering if it or anything else has come up for you that we should add to that list or anything else to add to this list of disadvantages?

Richard: Yeah, I don't think. I think we did a good job with this. I just don't feel so great about blaming these advantages are that helpful.

My Tu: Yeah, there's definitely an equal number of reasons on both sides I'm noticing that you've come up with but I wonder if I were to give you 100 points and ask you to divide those points between these two sides to weigh them. How many points would you give the side to continue blaming me versus the side to let go of the blank?

Richard: So, you want me to give more points to the side that's more convincing?

My Tu: Yeah, like looking at all these reasons. You know, the number of reasons is about the same but I wonder if one outweighs the other now, that we're reflecting on it some more.

Richard: I think, I probably write it like 10 points to maybe the advantages and maybe 90 points to the disadvantages because there's definitely a lot more disadvantages. It weighs heavier in my brain.

My Tu: Wow that's a big difference. When you say some of them weighed a lot bigger for you, which one stood out to you because 90 to 10 that's a big difference.

Richard: Yeah, I just I think the one that stood out to me the most was the I guess I don't really like the person that I am when I'm blaming and I really wanted to do this to kind of be a better person to kind of live up to the values that I hold on to and I feel like every time I blame I don't feel like a good person and at the same time maybe the relationship will improve because I do about blaming too and that'd be a good benefit. I mean it just kind of creates more conflict at the end of the day.

My Tu: Yeah, I hear you. It sounds like it'd be two birds with one stone because you know you're gonna be able to feel better and it'll make you feel closer to your girlfriend and you know the relationship will get better as well. So, there's some kind of benefit coming from letting go of blame and I wonder after doing this method together, what did you learn about yourself and what did you learn from all of this?

Richard: Alright! I guess, what I learned is I've been kind of doing this dance with my partner where we just kind of butt heads and just kind of repeat it over and over again and in my mind I think this is helpful but it doesn't really change things and then on top of that I just feel worse and worse about myself so I'm thinking it probably goes to let this go. So, that way, I can feel better and maybe she can feel better too, not being blamed in a relationship.

My Tu: Yeah, that’s wonderful and I would want that for you as well.

Richard: Let's pause there. This was such a lovely role play with me too and if you want to learn more about me, you can reach, I'll turn the links below and if you're wanting to learn more about different tools or techniques, you can reach us at the Feeling Good Institute website or you can subscribe below. Thank you, everyone!

My Tu: Thank you, Richard.

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