Two Common Five Secrets Errors: Don’t Sound like a Parrot! When to Help and When to Listen.

Two Common Five Secrets Errors: Don’t Sound like a Parrot! When to Help and When to Listen.

 

Dear colleague,

I recently received two emails from a podcast listener named Angela who had excellent questions about the Five Secrets of Effective Communication. Feel free to send me your emails with questions as well!

If you are having trouble using the Five Secrets, the most powerful way to get great feedback is to think of a specific interaction that did not go well. Then if you will send me an example of exactly what the other person said to you, and exactly what you said next, Fabrice and I can give you some hopefully good feedback on what went wrong and how to correct it!

Anyway, let’s see what’s on Angela’s mind . . . .

David

* * *

Hi Dr. Burns,

I have two questions based on your recent podcasts on the Five Secrets of Effective Communication.

1. I’m having trouble with “I Feel” Statements. In fact, I really dislike it when someone says to me, “I can see how you must feel ____”. It sounds so clinical to me! How can I use this technique in a more casual way that reflects empathy without sounding artificial.

2. I Just finished listening to podcast 067 on empathy. You mentioned that one of the errors is trying to correct someone’s cognitive distortions when they are upset. I understand that would interfere with the empathy and listening, but at what point in the conversation is it OK to bring solutions to the conversation?

For example, I was teaching a group of youth and they were talking about all the problems in the church. I let them talk for a bit, but then I directed them by asking what they thought they could do to create solutions. I am second guessing myself now, because I wonder if I may have not had the right empathy for that situation.

Angela

* * * 

Hi Angela,

Thank you for both excellent questions. It really enhances our podcasts when you ask questions. Brings things to life, and allows us to go into more depth.

Fabrice is out on a much needed break, and won’t return for about six weeks or so. The podcasts will continue each week, however, since we have pre-recorded enough ahead of time. I will address your questions here, so you won’t have to wait.

How can I avoid sounding phony or “clinical”?

Let’s look at your first question. The statement, “I can see how you must feel ____” is one of the many errors people make with Thought and Feeling Empathy. You are right in finding that annoying! If you sound “clinical” or “canned” when you use any of the Five Secrets, it probably won’t be very effective, as you know, and will probably backfire. Thought and Feeling Empathy have to be genuine and come from the heart. Sadly, many people are looking for simple gimmicks or formulas, and they don’t get really great responses from others.

If you give a specific example of something the other person said to you, and what you said next, I would gladly make suggestions for how to improve your response! This type of exchange is exactly what is need to make this a better learning experience.

However, just in general, I can make a few suggestions:

  1. First, what you refer to as an “I Feel” Statement is actually Feeling Empathy. An “I Feel” Statement is where you express your own feelings. Feeling Empathy is where you acknowledge how the other person may be feeling.
  2. When you are acknowledging someone else’s feelings, it is rarely or never wise to say, “You must be feeling X, Y, and Z,” because the person may NOT feel that way. In addition, a statement like this has the danger of sounding like you are some kind of expert, and the other person may even feel judged and then respond defensively. So your annoyance, in my opinion, is entirely justified!

I prefer to say something like this:

“Given what you just said, I wouldn’t be surprised if you might be feeling A, B and C, and for good reason. Can you tell me more about how you are feeling?” (A, B, and C would be words for the Feeling Words chart.)

This response combines Feeling Empathy with Inquiry, and sounds a bit more humble and respectful, at least to my ear.

  1. In addition, I almost always try to include an “I Feel” Statement when I’m using Thought and Feeling Empathy, so I will sound human, and not like a robot or a parrot, simply repeating the other person’s words. Here’s an example:

“It’s painful for me to hear that you’ve been having such a hard time lately because I like you and have a lot of respect for you. (Stroking; “I Feel” Statement) You say you’ve been feeling panicky, depressed and angry about the pressure and lack of support at work. (Feeling Empathy) I’d like to hear more about what’s been going on, and what it’s been like for you. (Inquiry)”

When Should I Help? When Should I Listen?

Now I’ll address your second question about helping vs. listening, and when to do what. When I’m working with patients who feel depressed, anxious, or angry, I do pure empathy until they give me an “A” on empathy. Then I ask if they want help with anything they’ve been talking about, and if this a good time to roll up our sleeves and get to work.

If the patient says he or she DOES want help and IS ready to get to work, I ask what he or she wants help with. That’s because patients may discuss a variety of problems during the Empathy phase of the session (or conversation if it is with a friend or family member.)

Once he or she states what problem he or she wants to work on, I go through the five steps of Paradoxical Agenda Setting so as to melt away the patient’s resistance prior to using any methods to help the patient.

The difficulty, potentially, with the approach you took is the high likelihood that the kids you were working with will fell you represent “authority” and that you are trying to sell them on your own thinking and values, rather than honoring their complaints about the church, which were likely valid! They didn’t really ask you to help them find solutions to these problems–that was YOUR agenda. Whenever I impose my own agenda on a group or individual, it tends not to work very well.

Paradoxical Agenda Setting is challenging to learn, but extremely powerful. Here are some suggestions if you want to learn more:

  1. My psychotherapy eBook (entitled Tools, Not Schools, of Therapy) might be helpful to you. You can click here for the order form if you are interested.
  2. An online TEAM-CBT course could help. I listed two yesterday.
  3. If you are in the Bay Area, I offer unlimited weekly free psychotherapy training at Stanford. Click here for more information on times, locations, and individuals to contact for free or paid, in person or online, TEAM-CBT training groups.
  4. I offer workshops on TEAM-CBT around the US and Canada. One of the very best is my summer intensive at the South San Francisco Training Center. Watch my website workshop page for updates of topics and locations.
  5. You could find a mentor for supervision and consultation at the Feeling Good Institute in Mt. View, California. They also have a TEAM-CBT Certification program which is excellent!

David

 

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Training Opportunities with Dr. Jill Levitt!

Training Opportunities with Dr. Jill Levitt!

Hi all!

See below for two announcements about two upcoming training opportunities from the Feeling Good Institute. Both presentations will focus on David’s amazing Paradoxical Agenda Setting methods. Hope to see some of you there!

Warmly, Jill Levitt, PhD

Happy Holidays!

Give yourself the gift of renewed energy and excitement in your therapy practice with new motivational and resistance-busting tools. At Feeling Good Institute we have years of experience practicing and teaching Dr. David Burns’ techniques to reduce resistance and boost motivation. These techniques help us avoid power struggles with our patients, increase patient motivation, and energize the work we do. We are excited to share what we have learned with our fellow therapists! Please join me and my colleagues for one or both options:

1. Melting Away Resistance in CBT with Jill Levitt, Ph.D. LIVE ONLINE. Four Mondays. Starts Monday January 22nd, 11am-12:45pm PST (2-3:45pm EST). $245 for four weekly 1 hr 45 min. classes. 7 CEs. Space is limited to 25 participants to maximize individual attention and learning.

Online using group video conferencing

Instruction includes didactic teaching, large group demonstrations and small group role play to reinforce skills learned.

2. Step by Step Methods to Reduce Resistance and Boost Motivation with Challenging Patients: A Daylong Workshop for Therapists with Maor Katz MD, Jill Levitt Ph.D., and Angela Krumm Ph.D. Sunday January 21st 9am-4pm PST (12-7pm EST) $135. 6 CEs. ON SITE OR LIVE ONLINE from Palo Alto, CA.

Step by Step CBT Methods to Reduce Resistance and Boost Motivation with Challenging Patients. A Daylong Workshop for Therapists.

Sunday 1/21/18, 9am-4pm PST (12-7pm EST)

Online using group video conferencing or On-site in Palo Alto, CA.

Both courses can be used towards TEAM-CBT certification.

Click on each link below to learn more

Learn More

Learn More

Click on my Facebook tab on https://feelinggood.com/ if you’d like to watch me each week on my Live Facebook broadcast each Sunday afternoon around 3 p.m. PST. Make sure to “like” my Public Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/DavidBurnsMD/ so you can watch it on my page or yours.How to Find My FB Broadcasts

Join me as I answer mental health questions from viewers — therapists and non-therapists alike — from all over the world. Type your question in the Facebook feed and I’ll do my best to answer it.

If you miss the broadcast you can watch the saved videos on my Facebook page! Also, viewers can watch these Live Facebook broadcasts as well as other interesting TEAM-CBT videos on the Feeling Good Institute’s YouTube channel!

The David and Fabrice Feeling Good Podcasts

Fabrice and I hope you also enjoy our Feeling Good Podcasts, and also hope you can leave some positive comments for us and some five star ratings if you like what we’re doing! We are already enjoying 25,000 downloads per month from listeners like you. Thank you so much for your support of our podcasts!

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Do Depression and Anxiety Result from a Chemical Imbalance in the Brain?

Do Depression and Anxiety Result from a Chemical Imbalance in the Brain?

Another Great Question from Rob, an Enthusiastic and Thoughtful Fan

Hi David,

I’m listening to your old face book video.  You are describing bi-polar disorder which you mention is a biological disorder.

I’m curious, what is the difference between a biological disorder (which obviously exists) and a “chemical imbalance”? If I understood some of your previous talks, there is no evidence of any “chemical imbalances” in the brain?  Perhaps that is something you can address in a future podcast if you see fit?

As always, I appreciate all the wisdom you share!

Rob

Hi Rob,

Sure, I can address this in a podcast, but here’s a quick answer so you won’t have to wait.

The concept of “imbalances” was used for hundreds of years, unsuccessfully, to explain how nature works. For example, balances and imbalances in these four elements—earth, air, fire, and water—were thought to explain nature, but the theory just didn’t work. Nature cannot be explain by a hydraulic system of “balances” or “imbalances” of earth, air, fire, and water.

For example, the massive fires in Northern and Southern California right now are likely the result of global warming, and the lack of rain, and not by some kind of “imbalance” of earth, air, fire, and water. Well, I guess you COULD say the fires are due to too much fire and not enough water! But that’s not much of an explanation–because it’s just a tautology! It’s like saying “fire is the cause of fire.” Duh!

Global warming appears to be caused by burning fossil fuels and dumping millions of tons of hydrocarbons into the atmosphere, causing the “greenhouse effect.”

For two thousand years, medicine tried unsuccessfully to use the “balances” and “imbalances” model to explain medical illnesses, which were seen as due to an imbalance of four “humors”—black bile, yellow bile, blood, and phlegm. So when George Washington had a severe throat infection, his doctors thought it was the result of an “imbalance,” namely, too much blood, so they bled him. This so-called “treatment” contributed to his death. Again, the balance and imbalance theory did not explain anything in a valid way, and did nothing to advance medicine. It was not a sound or useful theory.

Very few medical illnesses are due to “chemical imbalances.” For example, a broken leg is not usually due to a “chemical imbalance” in the bones, but rather from a fall and the physical forces that cause the fracture. Similarly, a heart attack has a biological but it is not caused by a “chemical imbalance” in most cases, but rather from the narrowing or closure of one or more arteries that supply blood and oxygen to the heart, as well as other causes, such as electrical conduction disorders. A heart attack is not the result of a chemical imbalance, and cardiologists rarely talk about “chemical imbalances,” although in some cases electrolyte abnormalities can cause cardiac problems.

Hydraulic imbalances of basic elements or humors, as you can see, is a primitive way of thinking that goes back at least two thousand years, to the time of Hippocrates, an early physician. And hydraulic imbalances in brain chemicals do not explain most brain disorders, emotional upsets, or behavioral problems, either.

Still, psychiatrists have tried to use the “chemical imbalance” theory to explain psychiatric disturbances for the past 60 years or so; but this effort has not been helpful, in my opinion, because the brain is not a hydraulic system of balances and imbalances. The brain is some kind of super computer, an massively complex electronic system that we are just beginning to understand.

There are many biological abnormalities in the brain, but are rarely “chemical imbalances.” For example, Alzheimer’s Disease is a true biological brain disorder, but it is not due the result of a chemical imbalance. The same is true of brain tumors, as well as encephalitis (an infection of brain tissue) or meningitis. These are true biological problems, but they do not result from “chemical imbalances.”

Schizophrenia is a tragic and severe psychiatric disorder–it is not a variant of normal thinking or behavior, and it has a yet-unknown biological cause, which partially involves genetic causes. We will likely know the cause of schizophrenia fairly soon–but it likely will NOT be a “chemical imbalance.”

The brain can have all kinds of biological abnormalities that are not “chemical imbalances”—hemorrhages, strokes, malformations from genetic abnormalities, traumatic injuries from concussions, infections, and so forth, but these do not usually involve “chemical imbalances.” Neuropathology was one of the few courses I excelled in as a medical student at Stanford, and received one of the highest scores ever on the final exam, but I cannot recall using the term “chemical imbalance” in that class.

We do not yet know the cause of most (or arguably any) psychiatric / psychological “disorders.” I used to do full time research on the “chemical imbalance” theory of depression, but left biological psychiatry to focus on new forms of psychotherapy when I realized that the chemical imbalance theory was not a productive or valid.

The theory holds that depression is due to a deficiency of serotonin, one of the many neurotransmitter substances in the brain, and that mania is due to an excess of serotonin. But I am not aware of any consistent or convincing evidence for this theory.

The research my colleagues and I did on this theory, which we published in the top psychiatry journal, Archives of General Psychiatry, did not support this theory.

This is the article:

Mendels, J., Stinnett, J. L., Burns, D. D. & Frazer, A. (1975). Amine precursors and depression. Archives of General Psychiatry, 32: 22 – 30.

Essentially, we flooded the brains of depressed veterans with massive increases in serotonin–but there was no effect on their moods. The depression levels did not improve from the increases in serotonin. This was, to my way of thinking, a simple and direct test of the “chemical imbalance” theory, and the result were crystal clear.

That was a clinical study. I was also involved in basic brain research on the chemical imbalance theory. I won the A. E. Bennett Award from the Society for Biological Psychiatry for the next article:

Burns, D. D., London, J., Brunswick, D., Pring, M., Mendels, J., Garfinkel, D. & Rabinowitz, J. L. (1976). A kinetic analysis of 5 – hydroxyindoleacetic acid excretion from rat brain and CSF. Biological Psychiatry, 11(2): 125 – 147.

I mention this not to brag, but to emphasize that I was not an “outsider,” but someone working very successfully within the system of biological psychiatry. I also wrote chapters on the chemical imbalance theory for textbooks, such as this one, which was based on a review of the entire world literature on the chemical imbalance theory:

Burns, D. D., & Mendels, J. (1979). Serotonin and affective disorders. Chapter 3 in Current Developments in Psychopharmacology, Vol. 5 (Essman, W. B. and Valzelli, L., eds. ), New York: Spectrum Publications, Inc., pp. 293 – 360.

Much recent suggests that antidepressants–which boost brain serotonin systems, have very few true antidepressant effects above and beyond their placebo effects. Of course, a placebo effect can itself be fairly strong. That’s why some people do appear to improve when treated with antidepressants. In many cases, they attribute their improvement to the medication, when the improvement may actually be due to changes in their won behavior and thinking.

Everything about being human results from biological (genetic) and environmental influences—such as IQ, personality, height, hair color, and the proclivity to being naturally more negative in outlook (depression, anxiety, shyness, anger) or more naturally positive (happy, confident, outgoing). However, we do not yet have much understanding of the brain systems that are involved. To what extent is depression the result of problems with our hardware (tissue level brain abnormalities or damage) vs. software (learning, neural circuitry, etc.)? We just don’t know.

Here’s one final analogy that may work. The brain is an incredibly complex super computer, involving billions and billions of neurons. I suspect you’ve had many problems with your computer over the years. We all encounter this. The computer freezes up, crashes, won’t connect to the internet, or whatever. Were any of these problems ever due to a “chemical imbalance” in the chip?

I don’t think so! So, it is true that humans are biological, and that biological factors contribute to our emotions, positive or negative. But this does not mean that psychiatric problems are due to “chemical imbalances.”

Let me know if I’ve made this clear.

Finally, because I am sometimes misquoted by individuals who may not understand what I’m saying, I am NOT saying that medications should never be used for individuals with psychiatric problems. Far from, sometimes medications can be helpful, even lifesaving.

And I’m NOT saying that people who take any kind of psychiatric drugs should suddenly stop taking them. That can be dangerous or even a disaster in some cases. All drug decisions must be made on a personal basis, based on a dialogue with your physician.

Some people may feel that a wrong theory is better than no theory at all. This is not my thinking. I am an agnostic on the causes of depression and anxiety. Some day we will know much more about causes. For this day, I am simply grateful and excited that we have so many new and powerful treatments for depression and anxiety, including TEAM-CBT and other new treatment methods, and that so many people can now be treated quickly and effectively without any medication at all. And to me, that’s good news!

One last thing. I get tons of positive emails, which I deeply appreciate, but I occasionally get hostile emails from people who don’t like what I say or write about. They scold me! A therapist recently emailed me to let me know she would never again recommend any of my books to her patients because of my position that we have perhaps been oversold by drug companies on the safety and efficacy of the antidepressants.

Remember to take what I say with a grain of salt. Sometimes, in fact often, I am wrong. But I always try to convey my honest take on things, thinking “the truth shall make you free.” For years I suppressed my thinking, fearing it would hurt or anger some people. Now I’m being more open. If you ever want more scientific references, I’d be happy to send you tons of them.

I still struggle with this issue of how open to be with all of you, and I still don’t know the “correct” answer. I don’t want to hurt anyone’s feelings, and I think the prognosis for fast, effective treatment of depression and all of the anxiety disorders has never been brighter.

Let me know what YOU think!

david

 

How to Find My FB Broadcasts

Click on my Facebook tab on https://feelinggood.com/ if you’d like to watch me each week on my Live Facebook broadcast each Sunday afternoon around 3 p.m. PST. Make sure to “like” my Public Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/DavidBurnsMD/ so you can watch it on my page or yours.

Join me as I answer mental health questions from viewers — therapists and non-therapists alike — from all over the world. Type your question in the Facebook feed and I’ll do my best to answer it.

If you miss the broadcast you can watch the saved videos on my Facebook page! Also, viewers can watch these Live Facebook broadcasts as well as other interesting TEAM-CBT videos on the Feeling Good Institute’s YouTube channel!

The David and Fabrice Feeling Good Podcasts

Fabrice and I hope you also enjoy our Feeling Good Podcasts, and also hope you can leave some positive comments for us and some five star ratings if you like what we’re doing! We are already enjoying 25,000 downloads per month from listeners like you. Thank you so much for your support of our podcasts!

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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.

 

Does Self-Help Really Help? Or Is It Just Hype? A One-Two Self-Help Punch!

Does Self-Help Really Help? Or Is It Just Hype? A One-Two Self-Help Punch!

 

Does Self-Help Really Help? A One-Two Punch!

Some people don’t believe that a self-help book, like Feeling Good, or the Feeling Good Podcast could really help someone. They think that professional treatment is needed, especially if the symptoms are severe.

I’ve struggled with this question myself. When I pick up a self-help book at the bookstore, I usually get instantly turned off. However, the email below may provide a partial answer to this question.

Hi David,

I hope you’re rested up after your grueling series of workshops. I wanted to tell you about a client who called last week. He was desperate for treatment and described feelings of hopelessness and despair.

Due to a medical issue, I did not immediately schedule him, but recommended he listen to your podcasts from beginning to end and to get and begin working through “The feeling Good Handbook.

I called today to schedule an appointment with him. He said he had listened to 30 podcasts, and was up to chapter 3 in your book. His affect was bright and optimistic. In fact, he indicated he might only need one or two sessions!

Thanks again for your generosity and hard work. They are truly making a positive difference in people’s lives, including mine.

Sincerely,

Dan w Prine

I really appreciated this email! Thanks, Danny!

There have been lots of outcome studies that have reported that approximately two thirds of moderately or severely depressed individuals who are given a copy of my book, Feeling Good: The New Mood Therapy, or The Feeling Good Handbook, will improve significantly or recover within four weeks, without any other treatment. That’s why Feeling Good has sold more than five million copies, and why it is the book most often “prescribed” for depressed individuals by Canadian and American mental health professionals.

If you are a therapist treating individuals who are depressed or anxious (or both), there are three potential benefits from “assigning” one my books, along with the Feeling Good Podcasts, as psychotherapy “homework.” If you are not a therapist, but have family members or friends who are struggling with depression and anxiety, you might follow the same advice, because:

  1. There is a high likelihood that your patient (or family member, etc.) will improve significantly in a short period of time if he or she reads Feeling Good and listens to the Podcasts.
  2. If you are a therapist, the reading and listening your patients do between sessions will accelerate their learning, making your job that much easier. You won’t have to explain everything, and can use the therapy time individualizing the treatment for your patient’s specific needs.
  3. The assignments will provide you with a vital test of your patient’s motivation. I have published studies indicating that nearly all of the patients who do at least some reasonably consistent psychotherapy homework between sessions will improve or recover fairly quickly; in contrast, most of the patients who refuse to do the homework fail to improve significantly. In fact, many get worse, or simply drop out of therapy with no gains at all.

So a big thanks to Dan Prine for his illuminating email!

I’m back from two grueling teaching trips, and have only nine more presentations between now and Christmas. So I’ll soon be able to return to frequent blogging, and also will have time to work on my new book!

Check my website for teaching topics and locations. Also, remember that my Feeling Good Podcasts are entirely free, as are my Sunday afternoon Facebook broadcasts, on my public FB page. Join me Sundays at 3 PM West Coast Time and ask questions on mental health topics! These programs are for therapists and general public alike!

David

My live FB broadcasts have been moved to 3 PM Pacific (California) Time every Sunday afternoon. I hope you can join us! The show is for therapists and the general public alike. If you cannot join us live, you can download the shows and listen any time that’s convenient for you!

Feel free to submit questions you’d like me to cover in these shows. Your questions drive the discussion each Sunday afternoon!

How to Find My FB Broadcasts

Click on my Facebook tab on https://feelinggood.com/ if you’d like to watch me each week on my Live Facebook broadcast each Sunday afternoon around 3 p.m. PST. Make sure to “like” my Public Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/DavidBurnsMD/ so you can watch it on my page or yours.

Join me as I answer mental health questions from viewers — therapists and non-therapists alike — from all over the world. Type your question in the Facebook feed and I’ll do my best to answer it.

If you miss the broadcast you can watch the saved videos on my Facebook page! Also, viewers can watch these Live Facebook broadcasts as well as other interesting TEAM-CBT videos on the Feeling Good Institute’s YouTube channel!

The David and Fabrice Feeling Good Podcasts

Fabrice and I hope you also enjoy our Feeling Good Podcasts, and also hope you can leave some positive comments for us and some five star ratings if you like what we’re doing! We are already enjoying 25,000 downloads per month from listeners like you. Thank you so much for your support of our podcasts!

Subscribe

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.

 

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

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

My live FB broadcasts have been moved to 3 PM Pacific (California) Time every Sunday afternoon. I hope you can join us! The show is for therapists and the general public alike. If you cannot join us live, you can download the shows and listen any time that’s convenient for you!

Feel free to submit questions you’d like me to cover in these shows. Your questions drive the discussion each Sunday afternoon!

David

How to Find My FB Broadcasts

Click on my Facebook tab on https://feelinggood.com/ if you’d like to watch me each week on my Live Facebook broadcast each Sunday afternoon around 3 p.m. PST. Make sure to “like” my Public Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/DavidBurnsMD/ so you can watch it on my page or yours.

Join me as I answer mental health questions from viewers — therapists and non-therapists alike — from all over the world. Type your question in the Facebook feed and I’ll do my best to answer it.

If you miss the broadcast you can watch the saved videos on my Facebook page! Also, viewers can watch these Live Facebook broadcasts as well as other interesting TEAM-CBT videos on the Feeling Good Institute’s YouTube channel!

The David and Fabrice Feeling Good Podcasts

Fabrice and I hope you also enjoy our Feeling Good Podcasts, and also hope you can leave some positive comments for us and some five star ratings if you like what we’re doing! We are already enjoying 25,000 downloads per month from listeners like you. Thank you so much for your support of our podcasts!

Subscribe

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.

 

Another Trivial (but Magical) Cat Photo!

Another Trivial (but Magical) Cat Photo!

Hi visitors and FeelingGood.com members,

Recently I posted my most “trivial” blog ever, an incredibly charming cat photo from my brilliant colleague, Helen Yeni-Komshian, MD. Now I cannot resist the urge to post another fantastic cat photo, this one supplied by another brilliant colleague, Jill Levitt, PhD.

image1

You may recall Jill from the live therapy with Mark. She was my co-therapist. If you didn’t catch it, it is one of the Feeling Good Podcasts, which you can find on my website, feelinggood.com.

You will soon get to meet Helen as well, as she is going to join Fabrice and me for the first two podcasts in our upcoming series on the Five Secrets of Effective Communication! That series will start in a week or so, so stay tuned to the Podcasts!

Jill and Helen are also my two co-leaders at our weekly psychotherapy group at Stanford. We meet Tuesdays from 5 to 7:30, and our group is open to Bay Area mental health professionals as well as graduate students in any type of mental health training program. The group is free of charge, and pretty wonderful! The Tuesday group is a highlight of my week, along with our Sunday hikes.

You can read about my late and most beloved cat, Obie, who become my personal friend, at this link, if you are interested. We lost him about a year ago, and I am still grieving our loss, as is my wife. Our pets give us so much. Cat and dog lovers will know exactly what I mean.

Have a great Thanksgiving everyone. I am thankful for so many of you who are now reading the blogs and listening to the Feeling Good Podcasts and blogs on my website. Each day, the messages now go out to many thousands of individuals!

David

My live FB broadcasts have been moved to 3 PM Pacific (California) Time every Sunday afternoon. I hope you can join us! The show is for therapists and the general public alike. If you cannot join us live, you can download the shows and listen any time that’s convenient for you!

Feel free to submit questions you’d like me to cover in these shows. Your questions drive the discussion each Sunday afternoon!

David

How to Find My FB Broadcasts

Click on my Facebook tab on https://feelinggood.com/ if you’d like to watch me each week on my Live Facebook broadcast each Sunday afternoon around 3 p.m. PST. Make sure to “like” my Public Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/DavidBurnsMD/ so you can watch it on my page or yours.

Join me as I answer mental health questions from viewers — therapists and non-therapists alike — from all over the world. Type your question in the Facebook feed and I’ll do my best to answer it.

If you miss the broadcast you can watch the saved videos on my Facebook page! Also, viewers can watch these Live Facebook broadcasts as well as other interesting TEAM-CBT videos on the Feeling Good Institute’s YouTube channel!

The David and Fabrice Feeling Good Podcasts

Fabrice and I hope you also enjoy our Feeling Good Podcasts, and also hope you can leave some positive comments for us and some five star ratings if you like what we’re doing! We are already enjoying 25,000 downloads per month from listeners like you. Thank you so much for your support of our podcasts!

Subscribe

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.

 

David’s Most Trivial Posting Ever!

David’s Most Trivial Posting Ever!

Hi visitors and FeelingGood.com members,

This may be my most trivial posting ever, but just wanted to share this fabulous cat photo I got from a colleague. Those of you who love cats will appreciate the photo. Those of you who aren’t so big on cats will likely find it boring.

IMG_9389

I used to love dogs and hate cats, since cats are narcissistic, and that threatened my own narcissism! But my wife taught me how to be a cat person after our beloved Salty Dog died of colon cancer, and now I am totally in love with cats, who have actually taught me some deeply meaningful lessons that have helped me in psychotherapy.

You can read about my late and most beloved cat, Obie, who become my personal friend, at this link, if you are interested.

I’m off for my Sunday morning hike in a few minutes, but will be available this afternoon at 3 PM for my weekly Facebook videocast. If you have questions you want answered, email them to me now, so I can make sure I’ve got them, or simply type them in during the broadcast.

David

My live FB broadcasts have been moved to 3 PM Pacific (California) Time every Sunday afternoon. I hope you can join us! The show is for therapists and the general public alike. If you cannot join us live, you can download the shows and listen any time that’s convenient for you!

Feel free to submit questions you’d like me to cover in these shows. Your questions drive the discussion each Sunday afternoon!

David

How to Find My FB Broadcasts

Click on my Facebook tab on https://feelinggood.com/ if you’d like to watch me each week on my Live Facebook broadcast each Sunday afternoon around 3 p.m. PST. Make sure to “like” my Public Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/DavidBurnsMD/ so you can watch it on my page or yours.

Join me as I answer mental health questions from viewers — therapists and non-therapists alike — from all over the world. Type your question in the Facebook feed and I’ll do my best to answer it.

If you miss the broadcast you can watch the saved videos on my Facebook page! Also, viewers can watch these Live Facebook broadcasts as well as other interesting TEAM-CBT videos on the Feeling Good Institute’s YouTube channel!

The David and Fabrice Feeling Good Podcasts

Fabrice and I hope you also enjoy our Feeling Good Podcasts, and also hope you can leave some positive comments for us and some five star ratings if you like what we’re doing! We are already enjoying 25,000 downloads per month from listeners like you. Thank you so much for your support of our podcasts!

Subscribe

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.