2

Expectancy Theory

That Which You Focus on Expands

When I was going through graduate school, part of my training was in relationship counseling. In any relationship counseling program in the country, the textbooks are still teaching the technique called the “ABCs of communication”: A = “I feel,” B = “when you,” and C = “in this situation.”

Shortly after I finished graduate school, my first couple came to see me in my office. They were two physicians living in St. Louis. They’d been married for 30 years, but living in separate bedrooms for the past 10 years. When I learned that fact, I thought to myself, “That’s all right. I’ve got the ABCs of communication, and I’m going to have them back on track in no time.”

In the first session I laid the ...

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