Mental Health Association in Ulster, Inc

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Relationship Effectiveness

Effectively communicating to someone we care about in a conflict situation can sometimes be a daunting task, especially when the intensity of emotions are high. Pulling from a Dialectical behavioral therapy (DBT) approach, these are some tips on how to be effective communicating in a relationship that you want to keep.

1. Be Gentle- Be respectful, courteous and even-tempered. Imagine how you would want someone to approach you during/after a conflict. Remember that this is a person you care about and you want to improve the relationship with.

  • Approach the person when you are calm and able to be temperate in your approach.
  • Do not attack the person verbally, physically or use hostile body language, ie; clenching fists, furrowed eyebrows, dominating space.
  • Do not use manipulative or threatening statements such ; "You cant see your son if you dont..." or "I'll kill myself if you..."
  • Do not Judge. Do not says things like "if you were a good person, you would..." or use "you should..", "you shouldn't..."
  • If it gets to heated take a break and come back when calm.
2. Be Attentive- 
  • Try to actively listen to what the other person is saying. Try to understand their point of view or opinion. If you don't understand it, acknowledge you don't understand and ask them to re-explain it or just accept that that is their own perception and that is okay.
  • Do not interrupt or talk over the other person.
  • Validate or acknowledge the other person's feelings, thought's and difficulties. Validate them out loud by saying statements such as; "I can see that you are feeling....", "I realize this is hard for you...", "I know that you tried your best to..."
3. Use a balance of emotion and rational- Also known as the "wise mind," take in your emotions as well as use your reasonable thoughts. Try to keep a balance between both so that you don't go deep into one or the other. Too much emotion can make it difficult to overcome the conflict and not enough emotion can make it feel cold.

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