Bill O'Hanlon, M.S., Possibilities,;

1. Acknowledge/validate each partner's points of view and feelings without necessarily agreeing with them. Get them to stop blaming, invalidating, closing down possibilities, and inviting, suggesting or allowing nonaccountability.


2. Get people to translate blame (attributions of bad intentions/bad character), vague, mind-reading or characterizing (attributions of unchangeable and determining personality traits) statements/questions into "videotalk."

*Action complaints

*Action requests

*Action praise

*Negotiated agreements


3. Gather video descriptions of patterns of interaction involved in or around the complaint and get both or either partner to change their part of the pattern.

*Change the location, time, nonverbals, etc.

*If it works, don't fix it; if it doesn't, do something different

*Import workable patterns from earlier in the relationship


4. Help to determine clear (videotalk) boundaries/limits for acceptable and unacceptable actions.

*Coach the person whose boundaries are violated to give consequences when boundaries are violated.

*Coach the person who has violated the boundaries to acknowledge and be accountable for the violation, reestablish trust and make amends.

*If appropriate, help the couple or individual design and carry out a healing ritual.


5. Do individual work when an individual within a couple has something they want to work on that would be relevant to achieving the goal(s) of the conjoint work.

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Revised: November 11, 2023 --- Copyright © 1997 Bill O'Hanlon