066: Five Secrets Training–The Disarming Technique

066: Five Secrets Training–The Disarming Technique

With Guest Expert, Helen Yeni-Komshian, MD

In this podcast, David, Helen and Fabrice focus on the Disarming Technique, which is the first of the Five Secrets of Effective Communication. The definition of the Disarming Technique is finding truth in what the other person is saying, even if it seems blatantly wrong, or illogical, or exaggerated. And it’s based on David’s Law of Opposites.

David brings the Law of Opposites to life with an example of what was perhaps the most devastating criticism he ever received from a patient. He was angry and defensive, and didn’t want to agree with his patient because he was absolutely convinced she was “wrong.” But on the weekend, while he was jogging, he suddenly saw the truth in her cutting remarks, and when he shared his insight with her the following session, the impact was immediate and dramatic.

The use of the Disarming Technique required the death of David’s ego–and that wasn’t easy, because he felt angry and ashamed. David points out that sometimes our patients (as well as family members or people in general) are trying to lash out at us, and want to hurt us, because they feel so frustrated, alone, and abandoned–and asks if we have the courage to let our egos die for them. Are we willing to listen and to see the world through their eyes? This can be exceedingly challenging, and you may not be able to use this, or the other Five Secrets, effectively unless you have a powerful desire to produce some healing and to get close to the people you’re at odds with.

Helen gives a striking example of the power of the Disarming Technique in a case of family member who was complaining about bad drivers. This annoyed her because she was telling herself, “He shouldn’t complain.  He should keep a pleasant atmosphere in the car and ignore bad drivers!” But acting on this impulse only made the problem worse. She explains how hard it can be to use the Disarming Technique when you’re feeling annoyed, but illustrates the transformative power of a skillful disarming statement.

David says that the Disarming Technique is by far the most important and difficult of the Five Communication techniques, and explains how he worked for thirty minutes a day, for two months, to learn how to do it after he created this technique!

The homework assignment for this week will be to use the Disarming Technique on at least one occasion every day in your interactions with others. You can start out by saying something like “You’re right . . . ” or “I agree with you that . . . .”

He gives an example of how he once did this when riding home from work to on the commuter train when he lived in Philadelphia. He sat next to an exceedingly hostile man who bristling and angry, and complaining bitterly about just about everything.

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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065: Five Secrets Training–Enjoy Greater Intimacy!

065: Five Secrets Training–Enjoy Greater Intimacy!

With Guest Expert, Helen Yeni-Komshian, MD

Is there someone in your life who just

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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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!

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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.