A Tip For Better Communication With Your Partner, from Ilissa Banhazl, MFT

Learn how to communicate with your partnerWhen I observe couples discussing an important issue I notice behaviors that make it difficult to resolve issues.

First I notice that when the discussion becomes somewhat emotional because partners are passionate about their points, couples will interrupt the other mid sentence. Let your partner finish their thought before you respond.

I also notice that the one partner who is listening looks as if he or she is waiting for their turn to speak rather than focusing on what the other person is saying. When their partner finishes their comment the other is ready with their response either in their own defense or with their opinion.

Listening is a skill you can practice and learn to be better at. When your partner is talking listen really carefully. Don’t think about what you’re going to say next! You can try the reflection technique. All that means is that after one person speaks the other person repeats back what they said in their own words, it doesn’t have to be exact. This way the person speaking knows that you heard them and heard them correctly. If you missed some important points the person speaking can gently tell you what you missed. Keep your sentences short when using this technique. After one partner has reflected back what they heard they can now respond to it.

First respond by finding something your partner said that you can agree with or understand. This lowers the other person’s guard because he or she will feel that they are being heard and that you agree with some things. Your partner will be more open to what you say when it’s your turn. When it’s your turn to talk have your partner reflect back to you what you say.  Keep doing this until you find that your listening and communication has improved. It’s a skill that needs to be practiced.

If all else fails and the techniques do not work for you yet, learn how to take a time-out when you find the conversation is counter-productive.

Would you like to learn how to use these techniques to improve your communication and your relationship right now? 626-335-0903

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About Ilissa Banhazl

Ilissa Banhazl is a licensed marriage and family psychotherapist, former grade school teacher and holds a masters degree in reading. She has a private practice in Glendora, CA and lives in the Los Angeles area with her husband and three children. She specializes in adult, adolescent, individual, couple, and family relationship counseling as well as eating disorder treatment and recovery. She facilitates a Women’s Support Group in Glendora as well as a Women’s Disordered Eating & Body Image Group. Ilissa authors 3 therapy blogs, Marriage and Family, Eating Disorders and Group Therapy. You can follow her at FB and Twitter. http://www.ilissabanhazlmft.com or http://www.eatingdisordersgroup.com
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