097: Live Session with Lee: The Death of the Ego

097: Live Session with Lee: The Death of the Ego

Part 2 of 3 podcasts illustrating the TEAM treatment model for a relationship conflict

With Drs. David Burns and Fabrice Nye, and special guest Dr. Jill Levitt,
Director of Training at the Feeling Good Institute in Mtn. View, California

Lee suddenly discovers the answer to his question:
Why is my wife so critical and controlling

David and Jill do A = (Paradoxical) Agenda Setting with Lee, starting with the Invitation: Jill asks Lee if he wants help with the relationship conflict, and if this would be a good time to roll up our sleeves and get to work. Lee indicates that he does want help.

They review the first two steps of his Relationship Journal, where Lee had recorded one specific thing his wife said to him, and exactly what he said next. Here’s what he wrote down:

Step 1 – She said: Write down exactly what the other person said. Be brief:

I was trying to convince my 18-month-old daughter to put her pajamas on. I was calm. Eventually, I raised my voice an octave or two and in a stern voice I told my daughter to put her pajamas on.

Afterwards, Liza said, “I don’t think you need to use that tone with a small child.”

Step 2 – I said: Write down exactly what you said next. Be brief:

I said, “I don’t think there was anything wrong with what I did. You can be stern without losing your shit*. There are times when she needs to know I am serious and not messing about anymore.”

It then devolved into a debate over a clash of values on how to raise our daughter.

* Transcribed as-is from Lee’s Relationship Journal.

Lee also circled all the emotions he thought she was having, along with all of the emotions he was having. He thought she was feeling:

  • Sad and unhappy
  • Anxious and worried
  • Rejected and alone
  • Discouraged, pessimistic, and despairing
  • Frustrated and stuck
  • Angry, annoyed, irritated and upset
  • Other feelings: troubled, defensive, dismayed, downhearted, and disconnected

Here’s how he was feeling:

  • Unhappy
  • Anxious and worried
  • Guilty, remorseful, bad and ashamed
  • Inferior, inadequate, defective and incompetent
  • Embarrassed, foolish and self-conscious
  • Hopeless, discouraged and despairing
  • Frustrated
  • Angry, mad, resentful, annoyed, irritated, upset and furious
  • Other feelings: hostile, loud, critical, agitated, defensive, stubborn, exasperated, sarcastic, powerless, diminished, low, resistant, confused, judgmental, vulnerable, inept

Step 3. Good vs. Bad Communication. When David and Jill ask Lee to examine his response to his wife, he had to admit that his response in Step 2 had all the characteristics of bad communication—he did not acknowledge any of her feelings, he did not share his own, and he did not convey love and respect. This was disturbing and surprising to Lee.

Step 4. Consequences. When David and Jill asked Lee to examine the impact of what he said to his wife, they suddenly ran into a wall of resistance, which is almost universal in relationship work. The Relationship Journal is an incredibly powerful tool, and it can be extremely painful because you have to stop blaming the other person and examine your own role in the relationship.

Lee suddenly and painfully discovered the answer to his question of why his wife was so controlling and critical of him—it was NOT because of the influence of her mother, but rather because he was forcing her to treat him like that almost every time he interacted with her.

This insight cannot be denied when you do the Relationship Journal, and it’s potentially incredibly empowering, but it can be incredibly painful at the same time.

You will also hear a masterful and paradoxical response by Dr. Levitt when Lee resists—and as a result, his resistance suddenly disappears, and he jumps on board! 

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Lee Davy is the creator and founder of “The Truth about Alcohol.” He offers free weekly webinars for people who need help and support with their drinking. Check it out!

Attend my 2018 Summer Intensive in San Francisco!

This year, I am again offering my annual SF summer intensive in August at the South San Francisco Conference Center. This four-day intensive is almost always my most exciting and rewarding workshop of the year.

Here are the details:

David’s TEAM-CBT Summer Intensive

August 6 – 9, 2018, South San Francisco Conference Center, California

For more information, click here, or call IAHB.org at 800-258-8411

Here are just a few of the really cool things about this intensive:

  • You will have the chance to practice techniques in small groups after I demonstrate each technique with a live demonstration in the front of the room.
  • You will get immediate feedback and personal grooming from me and from many of my colleagues from my weekly TEAM-CBT training group at Stanford. They’ll be there to help you, and I’ll be there to help you, too!
  • There will be a live demonstration on the evening of day 1. The amazing Dr. Jill Levitt will be my co-therapist. Last year’s live demonstration, and in fact all of them in recent years, have been jaw-dropping and incredibly inspirational!
  • You’ll get a chance to practice TEAM-CBT in real time the evening of day 3. This will be an incredibly challenging but rewarding “solo flight.”
  • You will be able to do your own personal work on the last day of the workshop using the Externalization of Voices and Acceptance Paradox. In previous workshops, at least 60% of the participants indicated they experienced jubilant enlightenment during this exercise. Their fears and insecurities suddenly vanished!
  • You’ll learn how to do Relapse Prevention Training (RPT).
  • You’ll learn how to improve your empathy skills.
  • You’ll learn tons of powerful cognitive, behavioral, and motivational treatment techniques for depression and all of the anxiety disorders.
  • You will have the abundant opportunities to schmooze with colleagues, network, and have fun.
  • You will have two fabulous free luncheon banquets featuring talks by Sunny Choi, LCSW, who is using TEAM-CBT successfully with an underserved population in primary care with limited resources and language skills (“I must apologize for my success.”), and the wonderful Vandana Aspen, PhD, who will speak on “New Treatment Strategies for Eating Disorders.”)
  • And much more.

If you can only attend one of my workshops this year, the South San Francisco August intensive is the one to attend!

 

How to Develop Stronger, Deeper Relationships with Clients, Colleagues, and Loved Ones*

How to Develop Stronger, Deeper Relationships with Clients, Colleagues, and Loved Ones*

Hi everybody!

I have a really great new workshop coming up on

June 15th, 2018 in Mt. View, California

9:00 AM – 4:00 PM
Michael’s at Shoreline
2960 N. Shoreline Blvd.
Mountain View, CA 94043

Sponsored by the Santa Clara Valley of CAMFT
(California Association of marriage and Family Therapists)

Unlike my usual workshops, which include quite a bit of didactic material and live demonstrations, plus some small group practice, you’ll get a great deal of practice so you can master new skills that can transform you clinical work and your personal life as well. You’ll learn to use the Five Secrets of Effective Communication to transform failed, frustrating relationships into satisfying, trusting ones, and you’ll get plenty of helpful feedback while you learn. You’ll learn how to develop more meaningful and rewarding relationships with your clients as well as the people you care about the most.

I’ll be joined by the brilliant and totally wonderful Kyle Jones, a 3rd year PhD student at Palo Alto University with outstanding clinical skills. Although I’ll be doing the main teaching, Kyle will back me up and help provide helpful feedback to all of you during the small group exercises.

In the morning, we’ll focus on dealing with challenging, difficult clients, and in the afternoon we will take on a far greater challenge: how to deal with challenging, difficult loved ones!

All of that plus:

  • Free breakfast
  • Free lunch
  • 6 CE credits
  • Lots of fun while learning!

Click here for registration and further details

Learning Objectives
At the end of this workshop you will be able to:

  • Use the Five Secrets of Effective Communication
  • Enhance your communication skills with the Intimacy Exercise
  • Transform hostile relationships into trusting, loving ones
  • Resolve therapeutic logjams and boost your therapeutic effectiveness
  • Communicate with individuals who refuse to talk or open up
  • Track therapeutic progress and assess the quality of the therapeutic alliance
  • Fail joyfully
  • Transform therapeutic failure into success

You will also learn how to deal with clients and others who are:

  • Complaining but ignore your efforts to help
  • Challenging or provocative
  • Unfairly critical of you
  • Narcissistic, controlling, or self-centered
  • Angry, threatening or violent
  • Resistant and oppositional
  • Overwhelmingly depressed, panicky, or hopeless

Hope to see you there!

Thanks!

David

Also coming in Canada in June!

One of my best two-day workshops ever!

“Scared Stiff–
Fast, Effective, Drug-Free Treatment for Anxiety Disorders”

A two-day workshop Sponsored by Jack Hirose & Associates

It’s just around the corner–Register Now!

June 4 -5, 2018 Calgary, Canada

June 6 – 7, 2018 Winnipeg, Canada

Mike Christensen and several others will be joining me at both locations to help out with supervision of the small group exercises. You’ll LOVE this workshop and you’ll learn TONS of powerful techniques to treat every type of anxiety.

On the evening of day 1 of each workshop, I will do a live demonstration with someone from the audience who’s been struggling with some type of anxiety, such as social anxiety or public speaking anxiety. Mike Christensen will be my to-therapist. The live work is nearly always the highlight of this workshop.

You’ll learn how to heal your clients and your own feelings of insecurity and self-doubt as well. In fact, on the afternoon of day 2, I will catapult at least two-thirds of the audience into a state of euphoric enlightenment. You can’t beat that!

I greatly appreciate your support, and hope you will continue to spread the word about TEAM-CBT and www.feelinggood.com. i am trying hard to reach as many people as possible with my free programming and blogs designed to help individuals struggling with depression, anxiety, relationship conflicts, and habits and addictions, as well as the therapists who treat them!

David

* Copyright © 2018 by David D. Burns, MD.

 

 

 

Intimacy Training, Part 1, on Mother’s Day!

Intimacy Training, Part 1, on Mother’s Day!

Happy Mother’s Day!

Watch the FB Live Broadcast
on Sunday, May 13th, 2018, at 3 PM (Pacific Time)–

Intimacy Training, Part 1: How to Handle Criticism

Hi all!

First, Happy Mother’s Day to all of our wonderful mothers! We love you and appreciate all that you do, both for your families, and also in your professional work as well! I hope you are pampered and loved on this Mother’s Day, and every day!

On this Mother’s Day, Jill, Mike and I will launch the first of several Facebook Sunday broadcasts on Intimacy Training. You will learn how to improve your relationships with family, friends, patients, colleagues and strangers, and also how to attract a mate if you are single and lonely.

How to Enhance Intimacy

The first show, on Mother’s Day, will focus on how to deal with criticism, using the Five Secrets of Effective Communication, especially the totally amazing Disarming Technique. We will demonstrate how to respond skillfully to the most extreme criticisms therapists might hear from angry, dissatisfied patients. We will also show you how you can respond skillfully to criticisms you might hear from friends or family members.

If you plan to attend live, you can type in a criticism you have had trouble responding to effectively, and we will demonstrate how to respond, using role-playing. But please limit the criticisms to one sentence, such as:

  • You never listen!
  • You don’t really care about me!
  • Why do you have to be SO controlling?
  • You always have to be right!
  • You’re a jerk!
  • You’re not helping me!
  • This is all your fault!

Future FB Broadcasts will focus on other common relationship problems, such as how to GIVE criticisms and express angry feelings constructively.

Your textbook for the broadcasts on enhancing intimacy will be my book, Feeling Good Together, which you can purchase at Amazon.com. Make sure you do the written exercises while you read!

How to Find Love

There’s another important aspect of Intimacy Training: How can you find someone to love in the first place? When I was in private practice, more than 50% of my patients were not involved in a loving relationship. Some had been divorced, and did not know how to get back into the dating scene, and others had never been comfortable or successful with the dating scene, and had never found someone to love.

We’ll cover the ins and outs of dating, with a focus on hustling, flirting and making connections, including topics such as:

  • how to deal with people who give you the run-around
  • how to avoid chasing and getting dumped
  • how to make people chase you
  • how to make the first “move” with someone you’re attracted to
  • how to flirt
  • how to handle rejection.

I will be joined by a number of guest experts on these broadcasts on how to play the dating game to win. They will include the incredible Kyle Jones, a doctoral student at Palo Alto University, and the amazing Angela Krumm, PhD, the director of the TEAM-CBT certification program at the Feeling Good Institute in Mt. View, California, as well as others.

Your textbook for these shows will be my book, Intimate Connections, which you can order at Amazon.com. Many people have approached me at workshops to say, “Dr. Burns, because of your book, Intimate Connections, I’m now married!” If you’re feeling lonely, this might just be the book for you!

So whether you are alone and looking for someone to date, or troubled by a conflict with someone you care about, we will have TONS of cool methods to share with you!

Hope to see you this Sunday!

PS There will be NO FB SHOW on May 20th, since that will be my full day workshop with Jill Levitt, PhD! See below!

David

Some Cool Upcoming Workshops

Coming next Sunday, May 20th! Act fast if you want to register!

May 20th, 2018  Advanced, High-Speed CBT for the Treatment of Depression and Anxiety A one day workshop by Drs. David Burns and Jill Levitt. 6 CE Credits, $135
You can join in person or online from wherever you live! Click here for registration information.

There are no spots left for the live workshop in Palo Alto, but we still have room for you to join us online. Mike Christensen and others will be available to help those who join online with the small group exercises in “virtual” rooms. In this workshop, you’ll have the chance to personal work, so you can boost your own feelings of confidence and self-esteem while at the same time learning tons of new tools that will greatly boost your clinical effectiveness!

Coming in June! One of my best two-day workshops ever!

“Scared Stiff: Fast, Effective Treatment for Anxiety Disorders”
a two-day workshop Sponsored by Jack Hirose & Associates
June 4 -5, 2018 Calgary, Canada
June 6 – 7, 2018 Winnipeg, Canada

Mike Christensen and several others will be joining me at both locations to help out with supervision of the small group exercises. You’ll LOVE this workshop and you’ll learn TONS of powerful techniques to treat every type of anxiety. You’ll learn how to heal your clients and your own feelings of insecurity and self-doubt as well! And I’ll do a live demonstration at each location, to add some drama, illumination, and inspiration. Should be exciting! Hope you can join us!

I greatly appreciate your support, and hope you will continue to spread the word about TEAM-CBT and www.feelinggood.com. i am trying hard to reach as many people as possible with my free programming and blogs designed to help individuals struggling with depression, anxiety, relationship conflicts, and habits and addictions, as well as the therapists who treat them!

David

Intimacy Training–David, Jill & Mike Start Exciting FB Live Series on Sunday!

Intimacy Training–David, Jill & Mike Start Exciting FB Live Series on Sunday!

Watch Jill, Mike and David on the FB Live Broadcast
on Sunday, May 13th, 2018, at 3 PM (Pacific Time) as they discuss–
Intimacy Training, Part 1: How to Handle Criticism

Hi all!

This Sunday, Mother’s Day, Jill, Mike and I will launch a new live Facebook series on Intimacy Training. This exciting series will include a number of topics on how to deepen loving relationships with family, friends, and colleagues. And the very first show will focus on how to transform criticism in closeness, using the Five Secrets of Effective Communication. If you have been criticized recently, attend live and you will be able to ask us to model how to respond more effectively!

But that’s not all! We will also have one or more FB Broadcasts on hustling, flirting and dating. I will have a number of guest experts, including (hopefully) the incredible Kyle Jones, a doctoral student at Palo Alto University, the amazing Angela Krumm, PhD, the director of the TEAM-CBT certification program at the Feeling Good Institute in Mt. View, California, and more experts in the dating game.

So whether you are lonely and looking for someone to date, or whether you are troubled by an existing but frustrating interaction with someone you care about, we will have TONS of cool things to share with you!

Hope to see you this Sunday!

PS There will be NO FB SHOW on May 20th, since that will be my full day workshop with Jill! See below!

David

Some Cool Upcoming Workshops

Coming in May! Act fast if you want to join us!

May 20th, 2018  Advanced, High-Speed CBT for the Treatment of Depression and Anxiety A one day workshop by Drs. David Burns and Jill Levitt. 6 CE Credits, $135
You can join in person or online from wherever you live! Click here for registration information.

There are no spots left for the live workshop in Palo Alto, but we still have room for you to join us online. Mike Christensen and others will be available to help those who join online with the small group exercises in “virtual” rooms. In this workshop, you’ll have the chance to personal work, so you can boost your own feelings of confidence and self-esteem while at the same time learning tons of new tools that will greatly boost your clinical effectiveness!

Coming in June! One of my best two-day workshops ever!

“Scared Stiff: Fast, Effective Treatment for Anxiety Disorders”
a two-day workshop Sponsored by Jack Hirose & Associates
June 4 -5, 2018 Calgary, Canada
June 6 – 7, 2018 Winnipeg, Canada

Mike Christensen and several others will be joining me at both locations to help out with supervision of the small group exercises. You’ll LOVE this workshop and you’ll learn TONS of powerful techniques to treat every type of anxiety. You’ll learn how to heal your clients and your own feelings of insecurity and self-doubt as well! And I’ll do a live demonstration at each location, to add some drama, illumination, and inspiration. Should be exciting! Hope you can join us!

I greatly appreciate your support, and hope you will continue to spread the word about TEAM-CBT and www.feelinggood.com. i am trying hard to reach as many people as possible with my free programming and blogs designed to help individuals struggling with depression, anxiety, relationship conflicts, and habits and addictions, as well as the therapists who treat them!

David

The Solution to Tuesday Tip (#1)*

The Solution to Tuesday Tip (#1)*

This was my “puzzle” (the paradoxical Tuesday tip) for yesterday:

The attempt to solve a relationship / marital problem is the cause of nearly all relationship problems. The refusal to solve the problem is nearly always the solution.

 

Many of you commented, and all had good things to say, which cheered me up and gave me some optimism that this new feature, suggested by Lisa Kelley, might be fun or useful for some of you! That’s great!

Two or three folks were really close to the target, and I would have to say, got it right.

Here is my explanation. Often two people in a relationship get frustrated because they cannot solve some problem they are kind of arguing about. For example, I once treated two divorced individuals fell in love and got married. They adored each other. But the woman, in her 30’s, really wanted to have a baby, since her first husband, who dumped her, was against having children.

However, her new husband was a super handsome and loving man who was 15 years her senior, and he already had five children from his first marriage, and he did not want any more. So they kept debating about the so-called “correct” solution to this problem. And, of course, they just kept running around in circles.

In a situation like this, there are really two different levels that one can think about when you view the interaction between the two people. On one level, you have the so-called “real” problem, which is: should we, or should we not, have a child? So you argue about what is “fair,” what is “just” and what will work out the “best.” etc. That is level one, the “content” of the argument, the intellectual side, you might say.

And the attempt to solve this “problem” IS the problem. Because, on some level, it CANNOT be “solved.”

But at the other level, you have a “river of emotion” flowing underneath the surface. She has many strong feelings, of sadness, of love for her new husband, of strong desires to be a mother, of frustration, of abandonment, of anxiety about growing old and childless, and so forth. He also has many strong feelings, of love for her, frustration, oppression, sadness, and anxiety about being overwhelmed just at the time of life he was looking forward to some freedom, to name just a few.

So the “solution” is to STOP trying to solve the problem, and instead to use the Five Secrets of Effective Communication to listen to the other person’s perspective, to acknowledge the truth in it, and especially to acknowledge how he or she is feeling, and to share, respectfully, your own feelings. The goal becomes the sharing of feelings, and listening to feelings, in an attitude of openness and respect, rather than compulsively arguing about the “best solution.”

This means letting go of feelings of entitlement, and focusing on how your partner is thinking and feeling. Getting back to a loving relationship. When two people feel loved, in most cases you won’t have to solve the so-called “real problem.” A solution will generally emerge.

So I coached them in how to do this, and we practiced in the office. I gave them the “assignment” to practice communicating, but both must refuse to try to “solve the problem.”

They were motivated because of their love for each other, and did their “homework.”

The wife called me in a state of excitement three weeks later to report that her husband woke up that morning and announced he’d had a sudden change of heart and wanted a baby. Their daughter was born less than a year later.

To learn to use the Five Secrets of Effective Communication, I would strongly recommend my book, Feeling Good Together, which you can order through Amazon.com and other booksellers. This book will be helpful to therapists, your patients, and the general public alike. You can also listen to my Feeling Good Podcast series on the Five Secrets as well as the series on Healing Troubled Relationships.

So now you have lots of new tools to use if you want to develop more loving and satisfying relationships with the people you care about!

Hope you enjoyed the first riddle and its solution. Next Tuesday, look for “Tip #2!”

David

* Copyright © 2018 by David D. Burns, MD.

Coming Soon! Live Session Sold Out! Still space online. Register now!

High-Speed TEAM-CBT for Depression and Anxiety Disorders 

I warmly invite you to attend this fabulous, one-day workshop by Drs. David Burns and Jill Levitt on Sunday, May 20th, 2018. Click on the link above for registration information.

  • 6 CE Credits
  • The cost is $135
  • You can join in person or online from wherever you live!

You will enjoy learning from David and Jill, working together to bring powerful, healing techniques to life in a clear, step-by-step way. Their teaching style is entertaining, funny, lucid, and inspiring. This is a day you will remember fondly!

In the afternoon, you will have the chance to do some personal healing so you can overcome your own feelings of insecurity and self-doubt. David and Jill promise to bring at least 60% of the audience into a state of spiritual and psychological enlightenment, WITHOUT years of meditation. That’s not a bad deal!

You will leave this workshop with renewed confidence as well as specific, powerful tools that you can use right away to improve your clinical outcomes!

You will LOVE this workshop. Seating for those who attend live in Palo Alto will be strictly limited, and seats are filling up fast, so move rapidly if you are interested. Online slots are also limited.

Jill and I hope you can join us!

 

 

077: Five Simple Ways to Boost Your Happiness–#4: Resolve a Conflict with a Friend or Family Member

This topic may SEEM simple, and the rewards can be tremendous–but it requires courage, lots of practice, and the death of the ego!

Most of us, and perhaps all human beings, run into conflicts with family members, friends, and colleagues from time to time. And as we all know, these conflicts can weigh us down and rob us of happiness. In this podcast, you will learn how to transform anger and bickering into intimacy and joy.

I’ll bet you know someone who

  • complains endlessly, but ignores your good advice and just keeps complaining
  • argues defensively and always has to be right
  • won’t listen
  • criticizes you unfairly
  • only cares about himself or herself
  • refuses to talk or express his or her feelings

Does any of that sound familiar?

And if you’re a therapist, I wouldn’t be a bit surprised if you run into conflicts with angry, critical patients from time to time as well. Sometimes that happens to me, and it can feel intensely demoralizing.  But when I resolve the conflict, and develop a deeper and more rewarding relationship with the person I was at odds with, it is exhilarating.

Here are some fairly common complaints therapists sometimes hear from patients:

  • You don’t “get me.”
  • You don’t really care about me. . . You’re just in it for the buck.
  • You’re not listening.
  • You haven’t helped me. . . in fact, you’re making me worse!
  • Aren’t you just a student? Do you think I need a real therapist?
  • This therapy sucks!

In today’s Feeling Good Podcast, you will learn about a powerful “Intimacy Exercise” which David has developed. This exercise is designed for therapists and for the general public alike. It’s designed to help you fine-tune your communication skills, so you can develop more rewarding relationships with the people you care about. You may have listened to some of the five previous podcasts on the Five Secrets of Effective Communication, but this is the first time this training technique has been illustrated.

David and Fabrice are joined by Jacob Towery, MD, as well as Lida Sharlin, LMFT, and Eleanor Scott, a certified marriage and Family Therapist. Jacob is one of the teachers at David’s weekly Tuesday evening psychotherapy training group at Stanford, and Lida and Eleanor attend the group as students. Jacob is a psychiatrist and author of the Antidepressant Book for teenagers, recently released as an audiobook. David and Fabrice are very grateful that Jacob, Lida, and Eleanor volunteered to participate in this podcast. Hopefully, their real-life examples will make the podcast far more dynamic and interesting for you!

This is not a trivial statement, since the key to learning involves the philosophy of “joyful failure”–Lida and Eleanor will have to be willing to learn from their mistakes, which will be pointed out immediately while they are role-playing. This exercise is especially challenging, since just about everybody makes all kinds of mistakes initially. For experienced therapists, this can be a shock to the system, since they thought they’d mastered empathy skills in graduate school–but that is rarely the case. If you check your ego at the door, as Lida and Eleanor have bravely done, the learning potential can be tremendous.

As you will see, the exercise involves one person who does the criticizing, and a second person who attempts to respond effectively, using the Five Secrets of Effective Communication. Then the role-play suddenly stops, and three types of feedback are provided for the person who was trying to respond effectively:

  1. Your letter grade (A, B, C, D, or F)
  2. Here’s what worked and what didn’t work.
  3. Here’s how you might improve your response, using the Five Secrets of Effective Communication.

I think you will enjoy seeing Lida and Eleanor, struggle to respond effectively to two patient conflicts, and two personal conflicts, while Jacob and David provide feedback and tips on how to improve.

Responses to two stinging (and real) patient criticisms are illustrated first:

  1. “This session sucked! I ended up feeling worse at the end.”
  2. “You’re so invested in giving me homework assignments during our sessions that you don’t pay any attention to me, and how I’m feeling!”

After that, two angry criticisms from loved ones are illustrated:

  1. “You’re selfish and only think about yourself!” (My sibling said this.)
  2. “You’re always so self-righteous! How could I ever confide in you!” (My son said this.)

How would you have responded?

If you would like to delve deeper into this topic, pick up a copy of David’s book, Feeling Good Together, on Amazon.com. There are many exercises to help you master the Five Secrets of Effective Communication.

Coming Soon

Next week David and Fabrice will conclude the last of five podcasts on how to boost happiness. The focus will be how to change the way you think and feel when you fall into a black hole of insecurity and self-doubt and beat up on yourself with negative thoughts. Sound familiar?

And the following week we will have Podcast 079: What’s the Secret of a “Meaningful” Life? Live Therapy with Daisy.” This will be a very special podcast that Fabrice and I feel very grateful to be able to share with you. The podcast will be based on an actual therapy session with a young woman who is struggling tremendously with depression, anxiety, and self-doubt because of fertility issues, along with strong. societal messages that women should have children and should want children.

The live therapy we have published previously–with Mark, who felt like a failure as a father, and Marilyn, who was confronted by a sudden and totally unexpected horrific diagnosis of Stage 4 lung cancer–received tremendously positive feedback from our subscribers. Now we are proud to present yet another live and inspiring therapy session in just two weeks! So mark your calendars!

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

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.

 

 

073: David Answers Your Five Secrets Questions

073: David Answers Your Five Secrets Questions

Relationship Problems–We’ve all got ’em!

In today’s podcast, David and Fabrice address five questions submitted by listeners who listened to the recent series of podcasts on the Five Secrets of Effective Communication:

  • Elie: I kept disarming my wife who was criticizing me, and it didn’t work. She just got angry! What am I doing wrong?
  • Joli: Dr. Burns, all of your examples of relationship problems in involve errors the women are making. This is chauvinistic! Why are you always blaming women? I think you must have had problems with women in the past!
  • Tamara: The five podcasts on the Five Secrets were at a very introductory level. Can you do some more teaching at a more advanced level?
  • Rajesh: I was in a conflict with a very demanding friend and I said, “I understand how you feel.” My friend just got more annoyed. Why? What am I doing wrong? Also, what should you do if the person who’s criticizing you is just saying a lot of things that are distorted, things that aren’t really true?
  • Jonathan: A friend said, “You’re so damn cheap!” This was my response: “Yeah I mean sometimes I do get a little upset and annoyed when I’m judged by you like that. To be quite honest, I don’t like it when you say stuff like that.” How did I do? Does my response need to be improved?

David and Fabrice love your questions so keep them coming! At the next session, we are going to begin a new episode series on Five Secrets of Happiness.

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!

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.

 

070: Five Secrets Training — Stroking

070: Five Secrets Training — Stroking

David and Fabrice discuss Stroking, the fifth of the Five Secrets of Effective Communication. The definition of Stroking is to express some warmth or admiration for the person you’re in conflict with, as well as people you’re NOT in conflict with! Essentially, you say something positive or complimentary about the other person, even in the heat of battle. It can make a huge difference in how the other person feels, and how the situation gets resolved.

In the last four podcasts we went over the  E = Empathy and the A = Assertiveness of the EAR acronym. In this podcast, we will concentrate on R = Respect. Stroking is the technique for the R = Respect. The term is crude, but I’ve never found an alternative that worked better.

Philosophically, Stroking goes back to the work of Martin Buber, the 20th century philosopher / theologian who talked about the difference between an “I – It” relationship and an “I – thou” relationship. In an “I – It” relationship, you think of the other person as an object to be manipulated, and not as a human being. You may compete with the other person, and try to beat or defeat them, or you may try to punish, exploit, or hurt them. For many examples, you only have to turn on the evening news and see how some of our politicians talk about their “enemies.” In contrast, in an “I – thou” relationship, you treat the other person with respect and dignity, even if you’re at odds, even if you’re feeling angry.

In the last podcast, we discussed “I Feel” Statements–sharing your own feelings openly. If you have negative feelings you need to express, you can include Stroking at the same time. Sometimes, that’s the sugar that makes the medicine go down.

Here’s an example. Let’s imagine you’re ticked off at a friend named Jim, and you’ve been arguing with each other and getting frustrated. I’ll give you example of how you might use Stroking, and i’ll put the name of the technique I used in parentheses after each sentence so you’ll know exactly what I’m doing.

“Jim, I’m feeling really ticked off at you right now, and I’m having fantasies of strangling you! (“I Feel” Statement) At the same time, it bothers me when we argue like this because I’ve always admired you tremendously and felt you were one of my best friends. (Stroking)  I know there’s a lot of truth in what you’re saying. and I’m sure when work this out, we’ll be even closer. (Disarming Technique) With that in mind, you can tell me more about how you’re thinking and feeling? (Inquiry) “

Hopefully, you can see that this type of statement conveys warmth, respect and openness, while at the same time clearly expressing your anger. Of course, this is just an example, and the way you express yourself will be very different.

Expressing your negative feelings with warmth requires discipline, because most of the time we get defensive and want to lash out at the person we’re mad at. And you can do that if you want–I give in to that urge every now and then, too! But if you express yourself with warmth and caring, and if you share your feelings instead of arguing or attacking the other person, or putting him or her down, you’ll usually get a far more positive response.

David describes how he used Stroking (along with the Disarming Technique) to good effect when he was ruthlessly put down by a hostile examiner during his oral medical board examination when he returned home to California with his family in 1995.

David and Fabrice describe errors people make when trying to use Stroking, such as saying something “canned” or formulaic that does not sound genuine or specific. All of the Five Secrets have to come from the heart or they’ll backfire.

David and Fabrice also describe the intense resistance that people often put up when trying to learn the Five Secrets. For example, you may tell yourself that you “shouldn’t have to” say something nice to the other person because you’re so mad, or because you’re labeling the other person as “a loser” or “a jerk” and you see that person in an entirely (and distorted) negative light, thinking (wrongly) that there ISN’T anything good or positive about him or her.

Your homework for this week will be to practice Stroking. Say five positive things to people every day, and you can do this easily in your day-to-day interactions with anyone, even strangers. You can find something you like or admire about the other person, and say that to them. People, for the most part, will like that and respond positively! We understand that this is a simple and superficial assignment. Once you’ve practiced it over and over, it will be far easier to use it effectively in the heat of battle!

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!

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069: Five Secrets Training — “I Feel” Statements

069: Five Secrets Training — “I Feel” Statements

David, Helen and Fabrice discuss “I Feel” Statements, the fourth of the Five Secrets of Effective Communication. The essence of this technique is to share your thoughts and feelings openly and with respect, rather than hiding your feelings or acting them out aggressively.

The Five Secrets are organized around the acronym, EAR. E = Empathy, A = Assertiveness, and R = Respect. The last three podcasts were on the E = Empathy techniques. This podcast will be on A = Assertiveness.

David, Helen and Fabrice discuss how the Five Secrets differs from assertiveness training, which has been incredibly popular for the past 50 years, with many best-selling books. Assertiveness is all about expressing your own needs and feelings. Although this is incredibly important, David argues that assertiveness alone can come off as somewhat “self”-centered, since your talking about how YOU feel and what YOU need. In contrast, that the most skillful and effective communication involves a more balanced focus on your own and the other person’s feelings, in a spirit of mutual respect and “oneness.”

David tells a funny story of what happened after he read a book on assertiveness training when he was a psychiatric resident. He dutifully and enthusiastically tried to apply the techniques he was reading about in the assertiveness book during a dispute with a gas station attendant in Philadelphia, and the gas station attendant threatened to break his kneecaps!

Although David does not like formulas, they can sometimes help you when you are learning a technique for the first time. The formula for an “I Feel” Statement would be a statement along these lines: “I feel X, Y, and Z,” where X, Y, and Z are words from the Feeling Words list.

David, Helen and Fabrice discuss the importance of this technique, and how to use it in different settings. Although sharing your feelings can be vitally important in conversations with loved ones, as well as interactions and negotiations with colleagues at work, you would use different kinds of feeling words in different settings. For example, you might say, “I feel kind of hurt and put down right now” during an interaction with your spouse or partner, but you probably wouldn’t say that when talking to your boss, because it would sound goofy!

They also discuss common errors people make when trying to use “I Feel” Statements. A common error I saying “I feel that . . . ” followed by something about the other person, such as “I feel that you’re wrong.” This is not the expression of your feelings, but a criticism of the other person.

They also discuss common sources of resistance to using this technique. For example, you may be afraid that if you share your feelings openly, and allow yourself to be vulnerable, something bad will happen, or that people will take advantage of you or use the information to hurt you.

In addition, many human beings, and perhaps most of us, tend to repress our feelings and hide them from others, thinking we “shouldn’t” feel the way we do. For example, if you feel ashamed, you may feel the urge to hide your feelings from others. David describes how he often feels this way if he makes errors during his teaching–he thinks he has to hide his shame from his students, thinking a Stanford professor should not have such feelings!

David emphasizes that even include famous people who claim to be experts in communication have the urge to hide their feelings. David describes an awkward but funny interaction he had recently with a famous communication expert at the recent Evolution of Psychotherapy Conference.

Your homework for the week is to use five “I Feel” Statements every day. They can be positive as well as negative, and it can something as simple as “I feel great because the sun is shining today,” or “I feel sad and disappointed because my talk wasn’t as successful as I’d hoped, and someone in the audience was critical of me.”

David, Helen, and Fabrice emphasize once again that using the Five Secrets one at a time is artificial, like the practice exercises on musical instrument. So the homework exercises are like that. Once you’ve master each of the Five Secrets, and you have a feel for how they work, you can integrate and weave them together masterfully in challenging real life situations that are sensitive and important to you.

And Helen emphasizes the crucial idea that the Five Secrets will only help you if you have a sincere desire to resolve conflicts and to develop more loving and successfully relationships with others.

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!

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068: Five Secrets Training–Inquiry: Helen Returns!

068: Five Secrets Training–Inquiry: Helen Returns!

Secrets of Successful Job Interviewing, Deeper Intimacy, Overcoming Shyness, and Other Interpersonal Goodies!

David, Helen and Fabrice discuss Inquiry, the third of the Five Secrets of Effective Communication. Inquiry means asking gentle, probing questions to learn more about what the other person is thinking and feeling. Although this technique sounds simple, it can be incredibly powerful and helpful.

David, Helen and Fabrice give many examples of how to use this techniques skillfully, as well as common errors to avoid. They also explain why and how this technique can sometimes be life-transforming, especially for individuals who feel shy and awkward in social situations.

Inquiry is an incredibly powerful technique to use when interviewing for a job, or for admission to a college or graduate school, especially when combined with Stroking, the fifth of the Five Secrets. David tells a hilarious story of how he got into the Stanford Medical School by using Inquiry and Stroking when he was interview by the Chairman of the Anatomy Department in the dark, spooky basement of the Stanford Museum.

David hikes for several hours every weekend with individuals from his weekly training group at Stanford, and does personal work with them along the way. He describes working with a woman who had crippling shyness since childhood, due to her belief that she was a “loser” and that people would find her boring. The use of “Inquiry” along with “I Feel” Statements (self-disclosure) during the hike was life-transforming when she disclosed her shyness to two elderly men walking with their dogs. The story is inspirational!

David also describes how another hiker could use “Inquiry” to help with a marital problem that had been bothering him for several months.

David encourages listeners (that includes you!) to try using Inquiry five times each day, even in superficial interactions with people in any setting, such as the grocery store, and gives examples of how to do this. Although this will not be the deepest application of Inquiry, the simple daily practice will give you a clear understanding of how this technique works. Practice is the key to growth and learning. You can’t get it just be listening or reading.

You can also accelerate your learning by reading Dr. Burns’ book, Feeling Good Together, and doing the written exercises while you read! You can order the book on Amazon.

Next week, our wonderful Helen joins us again for the Podcast on “I Feel” Statements.

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!

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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.