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Talking to Crazy by Mark Goulston

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chapter 9

The A-E-U Technique

Highly Effective—But Scary

A-E-U Stands for Apologize, Empathize, Uncover. It’s an edgy (and slightly scary) way to cut crazy down to size.

This is not an approach I recommend if you’re emotionally fragile, or if you’re dealing with people who actively hate you and wish you harm. Even in the right circumstances, you need to use A-E-U with great caution. Think of it as the emotional equivalent of C4: highly explosive but brilliant for blowing up barriers.

One person who used A-E-U successfully was a middle-aged woman named Barbara. She’d contacted me because her family was in crisis and her marriage to her husband, Jeff, was breaking apart.

Barbara and Jeff’s daughter, a divorced and highly unreliable parent, had ...

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