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Your Inbox Intensive

By Couples Therapy Inc.

Module 5 – Defensive Protest

Keep your momentum going at home after the intensive with this exclusive program for Couples Therapy Inc’s retreat couples. Start with a self-assessment, review an important lesson for relationship health and finally, determine what your next steps should be.


The Inbox Intensive relapse check-in

This Relapse Check-in can help couples assess and prevent relapse and understand how to seek additional intervention if relapse occurs. Please give your frank evaluation of the following items by selecting either “doing fine” or “a problem now” for each item.

Start The Check-In

Start the check-in

Please give your frank evaluation by selecting either “doing fine” or “it’s a problem now” for each statement below.

Communicating regularly


Defensive protest

Defensive protest

Learning to make effective complaints is part one. Having your partner respond appropriately to those complaints is part two.

An effective response takes your feelings into account. “I hear you and understand why you are reacting to this issue this way.” We call this reaction “non defensive.”

In contrast, a defensive response includes issues like:

  • Ignoring: “Hey, what do you want for dinner tonight?!”
  • Whining: “Why are you always picking on me? Why is everything I do wrong?”
  • Denying: “I didn’t do that! You must have!”
  • Counterattack: “I might have done that, but look at what you’ve done!”

The problem with not accepting any responsibility for the complaint is that it causes escalation. You are meeting a complaint with defensiveness, and this often is met with further escalation. If your partner made an effective complaint, they may respond to defensiveness with criticism or worse.

Lesson at a glance:

  • Accept some responsibility
  • Accept some responsibility for the problem.
  • Don’t escalate the conflict by ignoring, whining, denying, or counterattacking.
  • Understand that you aren’t being attacked. You are being asked to change your behavior in very specific ways.

Downloadable Resource

Print version

An overview of defensiveness, all on one sheet.


Is it time to schedule a follow up session?

If you haven’t already scheduled follow up sessions, our staff can help you to plan your next appointment.

Don’t forget:

Schedule some quality time

Do you and your partner have some time on the calendar for each other? Make sure you have a date night planned.


Defensive protest

If defensiveness is a problem in your relationship, take some time to explore the topic on our blog.


We’re here to help

Have a question about this exercise? Looking for more information about follow up sessions? Send us a message, we’d be happy to help.

The next module – 
Turning Towards

Our next module will look at the practice of turning towards. We will send the link to your email on your next scheduled check-in or if you want to get started now, you can click the button below.

Previous modules