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Jul 27, 2020

Today, Rhonda and David discuss three great questions submitted by podcast fans like you!  This thoughtful question is from our beloved Rhonda! . . . And the answer may surprise you!

When something terrible happens, like being raped or having your house burn down, or being a victim of racial discrimination, doesn’t the event itself upset you? Do you really have to have a negative thought before you can feel anger, fear, grief, or worthlessness?

Hi David!

For example, if our house burned down and we lost everything, or we or someone we loved was raped--doesn't the event affect you directly? Do you really have to have negative thoughts before you can feel sad, depressed, anxious or angry?

Do all of our feelings REALLY result from our thoughts?  What about people who have been treated unfairly or been discriminated against because of their race, religion, gender identity, etc.  Aren't their feelings a direct result of their experience  and not just their thoughts?


What do you do when patients fall in love with you?

Hi David and Rhonda,

My name is Ben and I live in Maryland. I started listening to the feeling good podcast about 3 years ago when I was in a period of life transition. The podcast has been incredibly helpful to me as I dealt with my childhood trauma, explored my motivations and drives for life, and reoriented my personal relationships and career, away from what I thought I should be doing, toward what I love and deeply want for my life.

In part because of the podcast's inspiration, I have decided to pursue a master’s degree in social work, and hope to become a psychotherapist. Thank you for all that you do, and the amazing help you have been to me personally.

I do have one question. In one past episode. You mentioned the possibility of using five secrets to defuse the situation when a patient falls in love with the therapist because they feel understood and cared for. This has happened to me a few times when I talk with a friend about their personal difficulties, and they begin to develop feelings for me. I would like to keep these relationships friendships, rather than romantic. I would love to have your advice on how best to both inoculate against and resolve such situations.

Thank you again.


What can you if your boss is not empathic?

Hi Dr. Burns,

You guys are always so good at empathy. I’d love to hear one day your method about how to cope when there is lack of empathy, but you still have to keep a relation.

For example: when your boss doesn’t empathize with you and his message makes you feel bad, but you still need the job. I had an experience like that and it really hurt the ego.

Cheers, David. Have a great day!


Hi Andres,

One can always learn a lot from one exchange with the boss. What did he say and what, exactly did you say next?

Waiting for empathy from others is never something I have recommended! That’s a really long wait!

But you CAN discover how you are provoking the very problem you are complaining about if you have the courage. This empowers YOU to change.


Questions on the next Ask David:

    1. Are depression and anxiety states of self-hypnosis?
    2. How do you deal with somatic symptoms in TEAM?
    3. Should we forgive Hitler and Stalin?
    4. What if a patient feels stuck and unable to identify emotions?
    5. Do you still really believe that depression and anxiety, regardless how severe, can be treated even without the use of prescription drugs?
    6. Do you have to work on your negative thoughts the moment they appear?
    7. What role, from your years of practice, does spirituality have in the psychotherapy?

Rhonda and David