065: Five Secrets Training–Enjoy Greater Intimacy!

With Guest Expert, Helen Yeni-Komshian, MD

Is there someone in your life who just

  • won’t listen or open up?
  • always has to be right?
  • always has to get his or her way?
  • doesn’t seem to understand how you feel?
  • doesn’t seem to care?
  • is relentlessly critical?
  • whines and complains endlessly, but always ignores your attempts to help?

Would you like greater intimacy and respect, and more rewarding relationships with the people you care about?

If so, this podcast series on the Five Secrets of Effective Communication will be right up your alley. These podcasts will be for mental health professionals and for the general public, and will include vignettes illustrating challenging therapeutic logjams that were resolved with the skillful use of the Five Secrets, as well as examples of how you can use the Five Secretes with loved ones, friends, colleagues, customers, and even aggressive or irritating strangers. The goal is to help you develop greater love, satisfaction, and joy in your interactions with the people you care about.

Although the Five Secrets have been introduced in previous podcasts, David and Fabrice will bring them to life with clear explanations and examples, and will give you homework assignments so you can practice them, one at a time, between podcasts. The effort here will be to provide some actual training for you, rather than just understanding.

In the first two Five Secrets podcasts, David and Fabrice will be joined by Helen Yeni-Komshian, MD. Helen was David’s student during her psychiatric residency training at Stanford roughly 15 years ago. Now she teaches with David at the weekly TEAM-CBT training group at Stanford, where she is on the adjunct faculty. Helen also has a clinical practice in Palo Alto, California.

David, Helen, and Fabrice begin with an overview of the Five Secrets of Effective Communication, They are organized around the acronym EAR: E = Empathy, A = Assertiveness, and R = Respect. Helen emphasizes that these techniques must be applied in a genuine fashion if they are to be effective. If they are used simply as techniques to manipulate another person, they will not be effective.

David strongly agrees and expands of that theme. Although the Five Secrets are sophisticated and powerful communication techniques that can quickly and radically transform your relationships with others, they are, at the same time, profoundly spiritual techniques that require the death of the ego. And most of us will have to relearn our usual knee-jerk habits of arguing, blaming, and defending ourselves when we’re at odds with another person. For many people, this may not be possible, since those defensive responses probably have a powerful biological basis, and many people simply do not want to give up the feelings of moral superiority and mental excitement when we get angry and blame others.

Fabrice, David and Helen emphasize the importance of intense desire if you really want to master these techniques. Although the Five Secrets sound simple when you first learn about them, it is not easy to use them skillfully. You can think of  the Five Secrets like the notes on a musical instrument. Lots of dedication and practice will be necessary if you hope to use them skillfully and effectively in your relationships with the people you care about. If you just sit down at a piano and pound on the keys, without practice and hard work, and training, the sound will be pretty jarring.

In addition, when you practice you will initially find them difficult to learn, and you will definitely experience some failures along the way. David, Helen, and Fabrice emphasize the spirit of “joyful failure” or “learning through failure,” and urge you to check your ego at the door, since the rewards of the learning can be immense–even life-changing!

Fabrice and I hope you enjoy our Podcasts, and also hope you can leave some positive comments for us and some five star ratings if you like what we’re doing!


At least one listener has had problems leaving an iTunes review from his i-phone, so Fabrice has created some simple to follow instructions if you need help.


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