057: Interpersonal Model (Part 4) — “And It’s All Your Fault!” The Relationship Journal


Podcast 57, “And It’s All Your Fault!” Interpersonal Therapy, Part 4

In the previous three podcasts, David and Fabrice have reviewed the “TEA” of TEAM (Testing, Empathy, and Agenda Setting) for troubled relationships. In this podcast, they describe the “M” = Methods of TEAM Therapy, which involves the Relationship Journal (RJ).

David emphasizes that the goal of the RJ is not simply to learn how to transform troubled, adversarial relationships into loving ones, but also how to achieve Interpersonal Enlightenment, which is the empowering but shocking realization that we are creating our own interpersonal reality—for better or worse—at every moment of every day! And although the reward of the RJ is greater love and joy in your daily living, the price is steep—it requires the death of the ego, which the Buddhists have called “the Great Death!”

Together, David and Fabrice walk you through the five steps in the RJ, using real examples of individuals David has worked with in his workshops for the general public or for mental health professionals. One vignette involves a woman who complained bitterly that her husband had been relentlessly critical of her for 25 years. She said she came to the workshop because she wanted to know why men are like that. She found out why her husband was so critical, but the answer was not the one she expected!

You can view her completed RJ if you click here.

The other vignette involved a minister’s wife who complained that her husband was overly “nice” and unable to deal with negative feelings. As a result, she said their marriage was superficial and lacking in intimacy. She discovered precisely why their relationship was superficial—but it wasn’t exactly the answer she was looking for!


If you are reading this blog on social media, I appreciate it! I would like to invite you to visit my website, http://www.FeelingGood.com, as well. There you will find a wealth of free goodies, including my Feeling Good blogs, my Feeling Good Podcasts with host, Dr. Fabrice Nye, and the Ask Dr. David blogs as well, along with announcements of upcoming workshops, and tons of resources for mental health professionals as well as patients!

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Thanks! David


12 thoughts on “057: Interpersonal Model (Part 4) — “And It’s All Your Fault!” The Relationship Journal

  1. This is a very empowering podcast David. I found myself saying, “Yeah but this person did this to me.” I have to work through that, but you are right. You refer to the ego dying which is a challenging concept for me, and probably a lot of Westerners. I don’t know if it is the same thing as the ego dying, but as you were speaking, I was thinking you are providing the tools to empower us to be the hero in our relationships instead of the victim.

    • Hi Rob, that is really nicely stated, Rob. And yes, it is the same concept, and we do have the chance to be a hero as opposed to a victim. I have a hunch this is difficult in all cultures. Also, I wonder in the death of the ego can be compared, hopefully in a respectful way, with the Christian concept of death and resurrection. When you let your ego die, in the context of a conflict with someone you are blaming, and you humbly acknowledge your role in the problem, and find truth in what the other person is saying (the Disarming Technique), the other person will generally “die” also, you will go to heaven together. This means that you will connect at a deeper level and be freed of the weight of the conflict and hatred and blame and righteousness you’ve been carrying around.

      My approach is practical, but is heavily based in spiritual concepts. Your knowledge of religious concepts is way better than my own, so I’d love to hear you thoughts if you the time and inclination.

      Your pal, David

  2. There’s the story of the samurai who asked a monk to describe heaven and hell. The monk said, “Why should I waste my time with you? You are probably too stupid to understand the difference.” The samurai became enraged and full of hatred and bitterness. He raised his sword to kill the monk.” The monk responded, “That is hell.” When the samurai realized that the monk had risked his life to teach him this lesson, he became filled with forgiveness and love. He cried tears of joy. The monk responded, “That is heaven.”

    You’re the best David. Keep leading people towards heaven!

    • Hi Rob, That’s a really cool story! Had not heard that one. Thanks!

      But so interesting, how we often cling to hell. A perverse addiction of humans, I think. We want to be “right,” we want our revenge, we want to feel morally superior, we don’t want our “self” (ego, pride) to have to die.

      I just had a free “tune up” with a former patient in conflict with her grown son. She was very gracious in seeing her role in the conflict, although some tears came when she saw how she’d been fueling the conflict, all the while thinking she was doing a good job in responding to his criticisms of her. Seeing her rather rapid transformation during the phone session was so inspiring and rewarding!


  3. Dr. Burns, these podcasts have been a wonderful resource and I look foreword to them weekly. I have directed numerous patients to your website and books as well. I attended the workshop, “It’s all your fault” several years ago at J&K seminars. Prior to the training I have been using the five secrets of effective communication with patients and family. My wife however, was not a fan. She reflected how gimmicky I was coming across. I shared this experience at the training and you suggested that I may be engaged in an “I feel error.” You were right. I was still secretly blaming her and was purely using these tools to achieve my own agenda- patch things up and basically move away from the conflict. It wasn’t until I truly took responsibility and “felt” what I saying at the heartfelt level did things improve. Many thanks!

    • Thanks Tyler. I agree with you 200%. It is very difficult for humans to learn humility. We all want to be “right” and “superior” and resist the death of the ego, so to speak. It is hard for all of us sometimes, I’m pretty sure of that! Your wonderful note is inspiring and heart-warming. And yes, you definitely have “gotten it” now!

      I am a little skeptical, though, about the prospects for therapists to learn new things, and for the human race, to be honest. We are all pretty flawed and sadly sometimes very stuck in our self-serving (aka self-defeating) ways of thinking and communicating with the people we claim to love or care about!

      Most interpersonal therapists try to “help” people with troubled relationships by teaching this or that technique or concept. But far more than technology is required! Repairing troubled relationships is a huge motivational and spiritual challenge, in my opinion. I suspect you now can see what I mean, having had that experience that you describe in your note.

      Thanks again!


  4. I get that, training one half of the couple instead of both at the same time. My husband and I have been seeing a counselor who teaches your methods. Now we can accuse each other of not being empathetic etc. If only one of us had gone, only one would know the rules, haha! The idea of the death of the ego is a little black and white though. It seems more like the release of the ego, giving it permission to leave us in peace.

  5. Indeed a wonderful and extremely enlightening podcast… and i am finding myself hearing these last 4 podcasts on Interpersonal relationships at 3.30 am.. the sentence that is coming to my mind is… without the breakdown of Ego there is no breakthrough of the soul! I completely agree to your methods, however I have one question. As imagine myself in the situation, specially in step 5, I start feeling that I may sound a bit fake in the process, and that is building a kind of resistance in my mind, to express myself in that cheeky manner using all the five secrets of effective communication. In that moment what should I be telling myself to encourage myself to go ahead anyway…

    • Great comments, wow, thanks! I like that breakdown . . . breakthrough. Very cool. Sounding fake is a problem with misuse of Five Secrets, and nearly always results from no “I Feel” Statements, as well as other common errors. d

  6. Wow! Thank you so much for that prompt reply! I get it, I have to use more of ‘I feel’ statements” I realize that I have to practice a lot to get better at using these difficult but ammmazing techniques, I am so impressed, I think I want to register for one of your upcoming workshops very soon.. I think I might plan visiting Vancouver this year in July so I can register for your workshop in Whistler. Meanwhile kindly please let me know if you have any plans to visit to India anytime.
    I am sooo impressed listening to your podcasts every day…..its like you are my Buddha 🙂 leading me to enlightenment every day!!! I feel that have known these concepts always but I am understanding them in the real sense only NOW! You make it very very understandable.. I can not thank you enough for this..Thanks to you and to Fabrice for putting up these podcasts, I love your wit and style! As I am trying to use your methods, I have already started experiencing so much change, not only in my personal life but also in my therapy with my clients.. Thank you so much!
    Hope to personally see you soon!
    Respect and Regards

    • Thanks so much, Dipti! No, I don’t have any trips planned outside the United States except for Canadian workshops. Hope you can make it to the Whistler intensive, as it will likely be a really good one! And fun to meet you in person! All the best, david

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