The Survey Technique

The Survey Technique with host, Angela Krumm, Ph.D.

*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 Survey Technique, an exposure technique, masterminded by Dr. David Burns, serves as a remarkable tool for therapists, enabling them to address patients who tend to make assumptions about others' thoughts and engage in harmful mind reading. Dr. Angela Krumm, at Feeling Good Institute shows how many patients grapple with unwarranted feelings of inadequacy, imposter syndrome, and low self-esteem, often believing themselves to be undeserving of prestigious roles. This survey method in psychology encourages patients to stop their assumptions and seek clarity by directly asking others about their perceptions. 

In this therapy video, patients are guided to construct surveys, inquiring whether colleagues view them as imposters or if their skills meet the demands of their jobs. They probe colleagues for shared experiences and feelings. This data, harnessed through the TEAM CBT approach, effectively dismantles the harmful practice of mind reading, providing relief from the weight of assumption. This technique is a reminder of the importance of asking questions and refraining from assumptions. Beyond the therapy room, it offers valuable lessons for individuals eager to foster genuine relationships and overcome self-doubt. Dr. Angela shows how open communication can liberate individuals from the confines of their own limiting beliefs, paving the way for personal growth and authentic connection.


Angela Krumm:

Do you notice that your patients often make assumptions about what others are thinking?

Many of my patients engage in mind reading about how others view them. For example, a number of my clients work for prestigious companies known to hire very talented folks. Many of them end up feeling like Impostors like maybe they didn't deserve the job and at any moment they could be discovered as unworthy. Often they assume they're the only one that feels this way.

The survey technique invites our patients to stop assuming and start asking what others think. In this example, the patient would do a survey and ask some colleagues whether they view him as an impostor or if his skills are good enough for the job. They might also ask whether their colleagues have ever felt similarly. In many cases, the data gathered puts a lie to the mind reading and eases the suffering of assuming we know what others think.

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