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Aug 9, 2021

#254, Ask Matt, Rhonda, and David
(with the famed Dr. Rutherford Knows)

Today we are again joined by the fantastic Dr. Matthew May for an Ask David. Rhonda and I are thrilled that Matt will be joining us every month. His input will give you a broader range of insights and answers to your many excellent questions!

Here are the questions we will address on today’s podcast.

Karine asks: How can I help my daughter with anorexia?

Shirley asks: How can you deal with people who are emotionally abusive, using the Five Secrets of Effective Communication?

Guy asks: Are there any Five Secrets practice groups I could join?

* * *

Karine asks: How do I help my daughter with anorexia?

Hello Dr. Burns,

I am trying to help my daughter who is starting to have anorexia with your book as the consultations are not working and we are waiting on a list for a specialist which can take months or even year here in Quebec.

I have read both of your last books and i am getting good to use it for social anxiety. However. i can’t see exactly how to apply it for eating disorder.

I asked her to list the benefits she gained from not eating and i am trying to help her see the cognitive disorder in it but it is much harder (ex: i loose weight quickly...which will do ... ) i may help her see the cognitive disorder in the « which will do ... » but not in the « i will lose weight » statement ).

Could you help me see the pattern i should follow please as i really think your technique can help her faster and better than the traditional psychologist conversation.



* * *

Shirley asks: How can you deal with people who are emotionally abusive, using the Five Secrets of Effective Communication.

Hello David and others,

I have been convinced how important using the Five Secrets of Effective Communication are. I do have a question about living with a person who is emotionally abusive. He uses his criticisms of others to manipulate and control them. How do you accept the criticism of such a person who is taking advantage of you accepting the criticism. My soul wants to rebel against these criticisms and against the person who is trying to manipulate me.

How do you navigate such a relationship when the abuser will never acknowledge that they are abusing others. He lives in a fantasy world of excuse making and blaming others. Also, how do I acknowledge my weakness and allow the “death” of my ego to happen?

Thanks for your consideration and help.


We reviewed this problem and describe how we treat relationship conflicts using TEAM-CBT. This involves giving up blame and examining your own role in the problem. You will discover--and this might be disturbing, or enlightening, or both--that you are contributing in a BIG way to the very problem you're complaining about.

You can review Shirley’s partially completed Relationship Journal if you link here.

* * *

Guy asks: Are there any Five Secrets practice groups I could join?


Please consider asking one of your skilled therapists to create a Five Secrets of Effective Communication "Practice Group." Possibly the group could be run weekly (virtually) and it would be an opportunity to repeatedly practice each of the secrets.

I practice on my own, but I know that learning is often strongest when working with others.

Guy Marshall

David’s Response

Hi Guy,

Ana Teresa Silva has a five secrets zoom practice group. Check with her! They are just getting started.

We have an exciting podcast scheduled the next time Matt visits. We will address the many controversies around exposure therapy, and will be joined by a patient Matt recently treated with the fear of leaches! We will also address some of the hundreds of questions submitted by the more than 6,000 fans who registered for my free 90-minute presentation on rapid Recovery from Anxiety which was sponsored by PESI.

All the best,

Rhonda, Matt, and David (plus Rutherford)

If you would like to contact Dr. May, you can reach him at: Matt added that people interested in treatment can schedule a free 15-minute phone call there, my schedule permitting.

Dr. Rhonda Barovsky practices in Walnut Creek, California, but due to Covid-19 restrictions is working mostly via Zoom, and can be reached at She is a Level 4 Certified TEAM-CBT therapist and trainer and specializes in the treatment of trauma, anxiety, depression, and relationship problems. Check out her new website: