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Oct 18, 2021


How to Get Laid! (With a Little Help from the Five Secrets of Effective Communication)

One of our top TEAM-CBT teachers and therapists, Thai-An Truong, LPC, LADC from Oklahoma City, is featured in today’s podcast. Thai-An is the owner of Lasting Change Therapy, LLC, a TEAM-CBT group practice in Oklahoma that focuses on using TEAM-CBT to help women overcome depression, anxiety, and relationship problems, so they can live happier lives and have more satisfying relationships. She is passionate about working with postpartum women after overcoming her own personal struggles with postpartum depression and anxiety. She is also passionate about spreading TEAM-CBT and training therapists in this awesome treatment approach.

Thai-An suggested a podcast on how one could use the Five Secrets of Effective Communication to deal with critical comments from your spouse or partner during marital conflicts. She submitted specific examples from several troubled couples she has worked with, and Rhonda submitted an example as well.

  1. Wife continues to bring up things that needs to be addressed, e.g., baby's medical needs, how he needs to set boundaries with his mom, precautions to take because of the pandemic.

Husband says: "All you do is talk about stressful things. You don't even care about being romantic anymore."

Wife’s typical response: "How can I be romantic with you when you aren't doing what you need to for our family?"

  1. Sex often comes up with every couple, and the criticism is typically from the husband, as in the first couple and this second couple as well.

Husband says: "You never want to have sex. It's like we're roommates instead of husband and wife."

Wife’s typical response: "I'm tired, and I can't just get in the mood when you haven't been nice to me all day."

  1. This couple had been trying unsuccessfully to have a baby.

The wife was very critical of her husband and said: “If it wasn’t for you, I’d have a baby. I should have married someone else."

Husband’s response: He said nothing and walked away.

  1. Infidelity: In this couple, the wife had an affair three years ago and the husband continues to bring it up when they get into arguments.

Husband says: "Oh, you say I'm so bad because I did x. How about you cheating on me? You're the one who did the worst possible thing, and I can never trust you again."

Her typical response: "It's been 3 years, why can't you just let it go so we can move on with our lives? I'm tired of you throwing this shit in my face all the time."

During the podcast, we critiqued the responses to the criticisms in these four cases, using the EAR algorithm. It was easy to point out that the responses of the partner who was criticized typically failed in all three categories:

  • No effective E = Empathy.
  • No effective A = Assertiveness.
  • No effective R = Respect.

We also spelled out the consequences of these responses to criticism, and showed how the respondents were actually forcing their spouses to treat them in exactly the way they were complaining about.

Then we used the “Intimacy Exercise” to practice more effective responses, based on the Five Secrets. This is, by far, the best way to learn the Five Secrets.

Your Turn to Practice

Now, here’s another example that Thai-An provided, and you, the listener, can practice with it. This wife was talking about how her friend had hurt her feelings. The husband typically goes into the advice-giving and problem-solving mode.

Her criticism: "You suck at listening. I don't need you to fix it."

His typical response: "I'm just trying to help."

First, see if you can explain why the husband’s response was ineffective, using the EAR acronym.

Ask yourself:

  1. Did he use E = Empathy and acknowledge how she was thinking and feeling?
  2. Did he use A = Assertiveness and express how he was feeling at that moment?
  3. Did he use R = Respect to convey some warmth, respect, or love during the heat of battle?

Next, ask yourself about the consequences of his response. What will his wife think? What will she conclude? How will she feel? How will she likely respond to his defensiveness?

Finally, put yourself in his shoes and see if you can write out a more effective response, using the Five Secrets of Effective Communication


Rhonda, Thai-An, and David