266: Ask Matt, Rhonda, and David: Can we solve the pain in the world?
How can we deal with someone who might weaponize our vulnerability?
What can I do about my emotional eating? And more!
Today’s podcast features awesome questions from viewers like you, with answers from Rhonda, David, and our brilliant guest expert, Dr. Matthew May. Here’s the list of questions, followed by partial answers (prepared prior to the podcast) from David.
- Ezgi Asks: Is there any way to solve pain in the world? Some people are committing suicide because they don’t wanna suffer anymore. Is there any way to “finish” the suffering while we are still living in this world?
- Megan asks: Hi David, I was wondering what your thoughts are about using the five secrets when in communication with someone who may not be coming from a place of love or respect, or someone who might weaponize your vulnerability, such as someone with narcissistic tendencies?
- Telia asks: Could you please do another episode on compulsive emotional eating? I have suffered with this my whole life.
- Daniele asks: What “upsetting event” should I put at the top of my Daily Mood Log? Does it have to be the event that triggered your depression?
- Anca asks: Should I work on a different upsetting event every day and do a Daily Mood Log? What about the days when I don’t have any distorted negative thoughts?
- Oliver asks: Dear Dr. Burns, How much time do you require your patients to spend on their daily psychotherapy homework (Daily Mood Journal)? What is overkill when doing Positive Reframing?
- Sarah asks: Hi Doctor Burns! Your podcasts have been so helpful! I want to know what you would have said to the husband, in this episode, if he were the one that came to you, first, about the marriage.(By way of explanation, Sarah is referring to an episode on the Five Secrets where the wife was blaming her husband for saying, “You never listen” for 25 years, and was shocked to discover that she was causing the very problem she was complaining about.)
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Ezgi Asks: Is there any way to solve pain in the world? Some people are committing suicide because they don’t wanna suffer anymore. Is there any way to “finish” the suffering while we are still living in this world?
I will read and answer this on an upcoming Ask David. I have committed my life to helping people who ask for help with
depression, anxiety, and other problems.
I do not evangelize or reach out, trying to convert people to some new way of thinking and feeling. Also, I only work with people one to one, (or in groups), and I think healing must begin with yourself.
There are tons of free resources on my website, plus my books, like
Feeling Good, and others, can be invaluable, including on the topic of
You can get used copies inexpensively on Amazon, too!
All the best, david
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After Hearing Podcast 14 on the Five Secrets
Megan asks: Hi David, I was wondering what your thoughts are about using the five secrets when in communication with someone who may not be coming from a place of love or respect, or someone who might weaponize your vulnerability, such as someone with narcissistic tendencies?
Thank you, I appreciate you and all you do to make the world a kinder and gentler place.
Please provide a specific example. What did the other person say, and what, exactly, did you say next. One exchange is enough. Then we can do something amazing, and not just BS on an abstract level that will be useless. You see yourself, based on your note, as the sweet innocent victim of the other person’s “badness.” Once we have a specific example of an interaction that did not go well, and you focus on your own role, things will suddenly fall into a shockingly different perspective. david Will include this in an Ask David.
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Telia asks: Hi David, Thank you so much for your free information and podcast #155 on emotional eating. Could you please do another episode on compulsive emotional eating?
I have suffered with this my whole life. I listened to episode 155 but I need more help like actual questions to ask myself or tools to use in the moment.
I have suffered with this my entire life, and I know with your help I can be free from it.
Telia from Australia
Check out the free chapter(s) offer on bottom of my website home page. Full instructions are right there.
Feel free to contact me if any questions after following the guidelines there, and doing the exercises on paper.
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Daniele asks: What “upsetting event” should I put at the top of my Daily Mood Log? Does it have to be the event that triggered your depression?
Hello Dr. Burns,
i am reading your second book, Feeling Great. The first one, the new mood couldn’t help me or i couldn’t get it done right. And now i am trying Feeling Great. I like the book and your thoughts.
I have struggled with anxiety and depression since 2014 – on and off. Lately more on….
My biggest problem with the exercise is that you have to put an event that make you depressed. I don’t know exactly why it started and i so it’s difficult to find an event.
What can I do? I feel depressed and don’t know why. These days the fact that i couldn’t get rid of the depression for so long is the main reason why i am depressed.
Thanks for your help,
Daniele from Italy
You just have to focus on one specific moment when you were upset and want help. It can even be the moment when you are working with the Daily Mood Log.
Thank you, Dr. Burns!
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Anca asks: Do I have to complete a Daily Mood Log every day?
Hello Dr Burns,
Thank you so much for the podcast and all the wonderful resources you are gifting to the world!
I’ve been listening for the last 3 months, and I can say that your discussions with your colleagues and patients have improved my mindset and my perspective on life. They helped me to identify feelings of self-blame and other-blame that I didn’t even know I had. I also didn’t realize how toxic they were.
I’ve bought the Feeling Great Book and completed 2 Daily Mood Journals. I am still in the beginning and try to improve my skills for challenging the negative thoughts. I am just wondering if I am approaching this correctly – sorry if I missed this from the book – Do I need to complete the Daily Mood Log every day?
I am asking this because on the days I do feel down and do have a negative event and thoughts, it takes me a lot of time to complete the log, around 2 hours. On other days I feel ok, and don’t have upsetting distorted thoughts. Should I record one negative event every day, with all the negative emotions and thoughts that come with it, or work on the same upsetting event every day, taking on one or 2 thoughts at a time?
Thank you for your support and your generosity.
Will make this an Ask David. The short question is that you can work on the DML a little bit every day. I would aim for 15 to 20 minutes a day, like meditation. On some days, you will want to put in more time, which is fine, but you get 100% credit after 15 – 20 minutes. You can work on a DML over several days.
This is just one idea, and ultimately you are in charge! Congrats on the fantastic work you are doing! david
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Oliver asks: Dear Dr. Burns,
How much time do you require your patients to spend on their daily psychotherapy homework (Daily Mood Journal)? And how much time did they actually spend on a mood journal?
From my experience, I seldom complete them in 2 hours, the time you set up for one session. A daily mood journal with 5 negative thoughts would often cost me 4 to 6 hours. I am wondering how much time your patients usually spend on one daily mood journal? Besides, when I was filling out one daily mood log, more upsetting events would float in my head. To avoid being distracted, I recorded the second upsetting event on another Daily Mood Journal. But I found I never had the chance to work on it because I seldom completed the first event.
I am now unemployed, so I have enough time to work on an upsetting event, even if it cost me far more than 2 hours. However, I doubt if full-time employed people have enough time to do this homework, without sacrificing the time to be spent on families, sleeping, sports, and other activities. That is somewhat upsetting.
Do you require your patients to finish a Daily Mood Journal in one day?
I believe the guidance on this topic is not only important for me, but also for all of your readers and patients.
And another question that confuses me is that what is overkill when doing Positive Reframing? And when to decide it will be overkill or not?
Thanks, Oliver. You can do a DML over several days, no need to complete it all at once. 15 to 30 minutes per day would be excellent.
ON Positive Reframing, I wait until we “get a feel for it,” and we generally have listed a dozen or even 20 or so positives.
I have an app I’m working on that will help with these questions. Will read your question on an Ask David, perhaps. Thanks!
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Sarah asks: Hi Doctor Burns!
Your podcasts have been so helpful! I want to know what you would have said to the husband, in this episode, if he were the one that came to you, first, about the marriage.
If we all cause the very relationship problems that we are complaining about, what is it that the husband is doing to cause Sarah not to listen to him and explode in anger? I see that Sarah is not able to listen and empathize, however, It seems like the husband is able to listen and empathize. What would his next step be?
Thanks, Sara. This is an interesting but abstract question, and I never find that answering them is productive, as 100% of the learning is in the specific example.
If he were asking for help, I would ask him to write down one thing that his wife said, as well as what, exactly, he said next, thinking of an exchange that didn’t go well, and an example he wanted help with. Then we’d use the EAR technique to analyze his communication errors and show how he’s causing the exact problem he’s complaining about, followed by a revised response using the Five Secrets.
You could do that for yourself, and we’ll see what YOU might be able to learn! For example, what is something someone said to you, and what, exactly did you say next?
Or, you could make up an example for me to comment on.
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That’s it for today!
Rhonda, Matt, and David
Rhonda, and I are convinced that Dr. May is one of the greatest therapists on the planet earth. If you have a question or would like to contact Dr. May, please check out his website at: (www.matthewmaymd.com)
Dr. Rhonda Barovsky practices in Walnut Creek, California, but due to Covid-19 restrictions is working via Zoom, and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. She is a Level 4 Certified TEAM-CBT therapist and trainer and specializes in the treatment of trauma, anxiety, depression, and relationship problems. Check out her new website: www.feelinggreattherapycenter.com.
You can reach Dr. Burns at email@example.com.
This is the cover of my new book, Feeling Great.
It’s on sale right now on Amazon, and it’s ridiculously cheap!
The kindle and audio versions are available now too! Check it out!