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Jul 23, 2018

David and Jill do M = Methods, and show Lee how to respond to his wife more skillfully, using the Five Secrets of Effective Communication (link). Like everyone who is trying to learn the Five Secrets, Lee struggles with several blind spots:

  • “I Feel” Statements. Lee has tremendous difficulties sharing his feelings openly, in a respectful manner. He seems indoctrinated with the cultural idea that men should not be vulnerable and express feelings.
  • Lee makes the common error of “problem solving” instead of asking his wife to share more of her feelings.
  • Lee makes another common error of apologizing and using the trite phrase “I’m sorry” instead of encouraging his wife to open up. David discusses the different between dysfunctional and effective apologies.

David and Jill do lots of role-play practice with Lee and give him a homework assignment.

T = Testing. After the session is over, Lee completes the Brief Mood Survey again. His scores indicated that his feelings of  anxiety and anger have completely disappeared, and he also has a perfect score  Positive Feelings Survey and the Relationship Satisfaction Scale. He also gave David and Jill perfect scores on the Empathy and Helpfulness scales and wrote what he liked the best about the session:

“My epiphany came at the moment I realized I had been afraid of emasculating myself and realizing that my vision of what a “man” should be was completely inaccurate.”

At the end, Jill reads an emotional email from Lee describing how he relapsed and started arguing with his wife, and then remember to empathize use the Five Secrets instead, with an amazing result!