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Section 2
Track #2 - 6 Steps in Avoiding Taboo-Loaded Communication

Question 2 | Answer Booklet | Table of Contents | Couples
Social Worker CEU, Psychologist CE, Counselor CEU, MFT CEU

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On the last track we discussed how typical women view male intimacy.  We found that men suffer similarly and that men also long for intimacy.  We also discussed the ‘Take the Opposite Track’ technique.

On this track we will discuss Avoiding Taboo-Loaded Communication.  For the purposes of this track, Avoiding Taboo-Loaded Communication will consist of six steps.  The six steps are be specific, be straight, be direct, be clear, create a climate for honesty, and tell the truth.

Alan, age 32... was decimated by the ending of a two-year courtship.  Alan stated, “Everyone thinks I’m doing great.  In fact, one of my best friends, a widow, said to me, ‘What’s your problem?  You’re handsome; you’re solvent; you’re available: you’re a great catch.  What have you got to complain about?’  People just don’t understand.  I’m not—and women aren’t—just a commodity.  As ridiculous as it may sound, I want a woman I can really love, and that’s not just anyone.  I couldn’t tell my friend of course, but I’ve literally spent most of the last four weekends alone, just staring at the wall.” 

Think of your Alan.  Why might your client feel as though he cannot talk to his friends about how a desire for intimacy affects him?  Might the following technique benefit your Alan? 

To help Alan talk about his desire for intimacy, I asked him to try Avoiding Taboo-Loaded Communication.  Does your client cry internally for others to talk to him, and when the other person does, he cries again.  I felt that Alan trained others to keep it superficial by reacting emotionally through withdrawal.

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Step # 1 - Be Specific
The first step Alan implemented in Avoiding Taboo-Loaded Communication was to Be specific.  I stated, “Stay at the concrete level and avoid abstracts.  Stick to the present such as how you feel right now and avoid dragging up the abstract past or future.

Step # 2 -Be Direct
The second step in Avoiding Taboo-Loaded Communication is to Be direct.  Alan stated, “You mean to say what I mean and mean what I say?”  I responded, “Exactly.  Hinting or expecting the other person to play Twenty Questions with you diffuses and confuses what you want to say.  The more direct you are, the better. Ask for what you want.  Free yourself of your bias against asking.  People are not mind readers, and if you expect the other person to guess what you want, very likely you won’t get it.” 

Think of your Alan.  How might your male intimacy client benefit from being direct?

Step # 3 - Be Straight
In addition to being specific and being direct, a third step in Avoiding Taboo-Loaded Communication is to Be straight.  I explained to Alan, “Make your thoughts, feelings, and actions move together.  Get rid of double messages.  Also, you might want to be aware that ambivalence, such as saying “I want to do it.. . but I don’t;” may be considered as an attempt to avoid accountability.”

Step # 4 - Be Clear
For Alan, the fourth step in Avoiding Taboo-Loaded Communication was to Be clear.  If you were trying to foster clear communication in your client, how might you explain it?  I stated to Alan, “First think about what you want to tell the other person, then tell them in the straightest and simplest way you can.  Although too much planning can hamper communication, as when you rehearse what you are going to say, some planning can help you.  

"Too much planning is trying to control how the conversation will go despite what the other person may or may not say.  ‘Just enough planning’ is having your facts and knowing the ideas you want to get across.  It also involves taking the other person into account.  For example, considering if your friend is more open to discussion before or after lunch.  You usually have to create and adjust the conversation to get the result you want.”

Step # 5 - Create a Climate for Honesty
In addition to being clear, Alan’s fifth step was to Create a climate for honesty.  How might your client encourage honesty in another person.  Alan stated, “Instead of looking away and muttering when someone says something I dislike, I guess I can say something like, ‘I don’t like hearing it, but I’m glad you brought it up.’”

Step # 6 - Tell the Truth
The sixth step in Avoiding Taboo-Loaded Communication consists of telling the truth.  In step six, Alan focused on telling the truth early and appropriately.  I stated, “Even if the other person becomes angry, tell the truth.  Refuse to let the other person’s attempt at manipulation or denial take away your choice to be honest.  Don’t lie, even if you think it’s going to get you what you want.  It won’t. 

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Also, to see whether or not the truth is appropriate in a situation, ask yourself three questions:
1. Does the person need to know the truth?  
2. Am I giving them a fair representation of the whole truth?  
3. Can I tell the truth in a kind way?  
If the answer is yes to the three questions, then tell the truth.” 

Think of your Alan.  How might Avoiding Taboo-Loaded Communication foster an ability to communicate regarding a hidden desire for intimacy in your client?  Could playing this track for client education in an upcoming session benefit your client?

On this track we discussed Avoiding Taboo-Loaded Communication.  For the purposes of this track, Avoiding Taboo-Loaded Communication consisted of six steps.  The six steps are be specific, be straight, be direct, be clear, create a climate for honesty, and tell the truth.

On the next track we will discuss becoming aware of intimate discontent.  A technique for becoming aware of intimate discontent that I implement in my practice consists of three steps.  The three steps to becoming aware of intimate discontent are experiencing feelings and defining what is wanted, and rediscovering old strategies.

QUESTION 2
What are six steps involved in Avoiding Taboo-Loaded Communication? To select and enter your answer go to Answer Booklet.

 
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