The Five Secrets and Legal Stuff: Shouldn’t I Defend Myself?

Hi visitors and FeelingGood.com members,

I will be featuring the Disarming Technique on an upcoming Feeling Good Podcast shortly, along with the other four Secrets of Effective Communication. Most people resist using the Five Secrets, especially the Disarming Technique, fearing they’ll look “weak” or that something bad will happen if they empathize and find the truth in what the critic is saying. So they continue to argue and defend themselves, and of course the conflicts will simply escalate.

Is this concern realistic?

I just got an amazing email from an Ob-Gyn colleague who had to participate in a legal deposition, and he decided to use the Five Secrets. See what you think! He kindly gave me permission to publish it in a blog.

Hi David,

This may be silly but I thought to share!

I have just come from a deposition as a plaintiff’s expert. I have given several expert testimonies before. As you know, depositions can be brutal, particularly in obstetric alleged mismanagement and newborn injury.

In my last two depositions, based on Katie’s (my wife’s) suggestion, I implemented empathy (the Five Secrets of Effective Communication) with the opposing attorney, even though I thought empathy with a lawyer would be more doltish than negotiating with a shark! I had previously thought of the situation as a dichotomy, in terms of me vs. you.

However, the Five Secrets of Effective Communication turned the last two depositions on its ear. I avoided all confrontation and came out feeling confident that my word was a fair representation of the patient’s interest. During the deposition and after, my anxiety was at a 10–15% level as opposed to 95% during previous depositions, and my anger was 0% as opposed to 80% previously.

Hope to see you in 2018, happy holidays!

Mark Taslimi, MD
Obstetrics & Gynecology, MFM

Thanks, Mark, your email was music to my ears!

Of course, Mark has been working really hard to master the Five Secrets, and it’s paying off.

I recently had the wonderful opportunity to treat one of America’s top and most feared attorneys. He was a very powerful, but vulnerable and real, individual. He was intrigued with the Five Secrets of Effective Communication. One of the most important techniques is the Disarming Technique, which means finding truth in a criticism, rather than arguing and defending yourself.

Many of my colleagues have asked, “But if I agree with an angry patient, won’t that just open me up to a lawsuit? Shouldn’t I defend myself?” You may have had similar concerns when you felt wrongfully attacked or criticized by a love one, a colleague, or a friend.

So I asked my patient what he thought. Should therapists and physicians use the Five Secrets of Effective Communication and agree with patients who criticize them? Or should we defend ourselves when criticized by angry patients or their families?

He said he’d answer my question if I agreed NOT to tell my colleagues. He said that if physicians and mental health professionals learned to use the Five Secrets of Effective Communication, he’d be out of business! He said that patients rarely sue for simple malpractice–they typically sue for one BIG reason: the doctor wouldn’t listen.

He said he had a way of making doctors listen, and emphasized that if therapists and physician used the Five Secrets with skill, compassion, and humility, they’d rarely, if ever, get sued.

He also said that if you were sued, and you were on the witness stand, being cross-examined by an aggressive attorney who was suing you, and you used the Five Secrets skillfully, the jury would rarely or NEVER find you guilty!

So there you have it. Stay tuned for the upcoming series on the Five Secrets of Effective Communication. Those podcasts may change your life!

David

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