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Jan 17, 2022

Rejection Practice: A Love Story, Featuring Dr. Cai Chen

Jan 17, 2022

Rhonda starts today’s podcast by reading two wonderful recent endorsements from listeners. A therapist from San Jose, Ca was moved and inspired by the two podcasts (Episodes 268 & 269, published 11-15-2021 and 11-22-2021) with Dr. Carly on the tragic loss of her baby via ectopic pregnancy, and another listener described TEAM-CBT as “revolutionary” due to the emphasis on reducing resistance. She compared the approach to the indirect hypnotic approach developed by the late Milton Erikson. 

Dr. Cai Chen recently completed his psychiatric residency in Texas, and then moved to California to join the TEAM-CBT community and unite with the love of his life, who happens to be a member of our Tuesday group. 

Cai attributes much of his dating success to one of the techniques he read about in my book, Intimate Connections, called “Rejection Practice,” because he practiced that technique to successfully defeat his negative thoughts about all the awful things that might happen if he tried to talk or flirt with an attractive woman. 

He would tell himself things like:

  1. She’ll think I’m being too forward.
  2. She’ll be offended and might call the police.
  3. People who see me trying to flirt will be offended.
  4. I’ll be rejected. 

He described what happened when he forced himself to get 20 rejections in a mall in order to overcome his fears. His stories about what happened are both funny and inspiring. 

Cai also describes his initial intense resistance to using this technique, giving himself messages like, “I shouldn’t have to learn to flirt because it’s beneath me!” I heard excuses like that all the time when I was in clinical practice, working with shy, lonely men! 

Rejection Practice is a powerful and potentially super-effective technique you might want to try if you’re also struggling with social anxiety or if you treat patients with this problem. 

We also illustrated the hilarious Feared Fantasy Technique on the podcast, where Cai enters an Alice-in-Wonderland Nightmare World, and meets the “woman from hell” who represents all of his worst fears, and verbalizes things like this to him:

  1. You’re assaulting me and I’m going to call the police. 
  2. You’re the last person I’d ever date! You’re forgettable! you
  3. You’re too forward.
  4. I can see that you’re very insecure!

In addition, he meets the “observer from hell” who verbalizes things like this to Cai: 

  1. I’m terribly offended that you tried to talk to that woman. 
  2. It’s highly inappropriate to flirt like that in broad daylight. 
  3. You shouldn’t be doing that. 
  4. I condemn and reject you!

Cai was surprised to discover that the monster has no teeth and experienced some enlightenment and freedom from his fears. Rhonda, Cai, and I had a lot of fun with these techniques, and hope you enjoy them, too. Again, if you’re a therapist, you might consider including these techniques if you work with shy individuals. 

We also discuss the idea of “Physician, heal thyself,” a quotation from the New Testament (Luke 4:23). We are all convinced that doing your own personal work can vastly increase your skills and depth as a clinician, because you can tell your patients, “I know what you’re going through, because I’ve been there myself. And what a joy it’s going to be to show you how to overcome your shyness and develop greater confidence, and more loving relationships with others.”

And that’s exactly what happened to Cai. He found the love of his life. You’ll hear all about it if you listen to this heart-warming podcast! 

Dr. Cai is just starting his TEAM-CBT practice at the Feeling Good Institute in Mountain View, California. However, since he is a trained physician and psychiatrist, he can also prescribe medications if patients need them in addition to the therapy.

Dr. Cai Chen is a warm and brilliant young psychiatrist. If you would like to contact him, you can contact him at, or call him directly at 1-916-877-4749.

Thanks for joining us today! If you like what we’re doing, tell your friends about the podcasts. Your word of mouth is our main and only source of marketing, since I have refused to monetize the podcasts. So our budget is meager at best. 

Still, this year, we’ll see the five millionth download of our podcasts. Thanks so much for your support and for making it all happen! 


Rhonda, Cai and David