GUIDELINES FOR COUPLES' COMMUNICATION

Bill O'Hanlon, M.S., PossiBill@aol.com; http://brieftherapy.com


1. Action Complaints

Don't give the person your theory/explanation (why they did what

they did) along with your complaint.

Tell the person what they did that didn't work for you.

Use videotalk. If the person can't picture/hear it, you aren't being

specific enough to ensure your message will be heard.

Avoid blame, diagnosis and generalizations.

 

2. Action Requests

Use videotalk.

Ask the person to do something different in the future.

Don't tell them what is wrong with them when you make the request.

Don't assume they won't do it. Give them a chance to show you.

Get specific about when or how often you would like them to do what

you've asked.

 

3. Acknowledgment

Listening/acknowledging the other person's feelings and points of

view.

No rebutting. Just listen. See if you can understand what the other

person is trying to communicate to you.

You don't have to agree that what they are saying is correct, but don't

give them the message they are crazy for seeing things that

way. Don't dismiss or minimize.

 

4. Breaking Patterns

Change your part of any pattern that you notice isn't working.

Do anything that is not cruel or unethical that would be different

from what you usually do in the situation.

If it's working, don't fix it. If not, do something different.

Remember: "Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again

and expecting different results." -Rita Mae Brown



This page is designed by Gary Schultheis. Yours could be too. gar@brieftherapy.com
Revised: November 11, 2023
Copyright © 1997 Bill O'Hanlon