Communication is to a relationship what breathing is to life Virginia Satir
Video on couple communication viewed at this link: Video
Talking The average amount of words spoken a day is 16,000. (Mehl, M; Vazire, S; Ramírez-Esparza, N; Slatcher, R; Pennebaker, J) But do we actually hear one another? Carl Rogers, a prominent psychology theorist and practitioner, stated that “when I take the gamble, the risk, of sharing something that is very personal with another individual and it is not received and not understood, this is a very deflating and lonely experience.”
80-90% of waking hours include communication. (Beebe, Beebe, & Redmond; 2011) This includes passive communication, such as radio or television. We spend 60% of our time listening. (Treasure, J., 2011) We retain only 25% of what we hear. (Treasure, J., 2011)
Over 86% of couples or families in counseling identify communication as one of the issues. (Beebe, Beebe, & Redmond; 2011)
Family Communication Families have spoken and, more predominately, unspoken rules about communication. The exercise can illuminate some of your family’s patterns of communication.
Family Communication Openness Maintenance of structural stability Expression of affection Emotional / instrumental support Mind reading Politeness Discipline Humor Regular routine interaction Avoidance of hurtful topics (Beebe, Beebe, & Redmond; 2011) According to John Caughlin healthy family communication consists of:
Relational Issues: Marriage John Gottman (1994) identified what he called the Four Horseman of the Apocalypse, which indicated the health of a marriage: Criticism-complaints are okay, they address behavior. Criticism addresses the person’s character. An excellent example is “What is wrong with you?”. Contempt-According to Gottman contempt is a sarcastic and cynical approach, eye rolling, belligerence, and mockery.
Relational Issues: Marriage (cont.) The Four Horseman of the Apocalypse, continued: Defensiveness-often blames the other, saying it isn’t me, it’s you. Stonewalling- the result of escalation of the other “horsemen” eventually results in one (or both) “tuning the other out”.
Relational Issues: Adolescence Many researchers believe the goal of family relations is a democratic and intimate relationship. However, the differing goals of parents and adolescent lead to “incompatible aims which make inconsistency inescapable.” (Solomon, Y; Warin, J; Lewis, C: and Langford, W)
Relational Issues: Adolescence The majority of disagreements occur because “teenagers and parents define the issues of contention differently” (Steinberg, pg. 121). Parents: right and wrong Teens: issues of choice “Adolescents whose parents attempt to regulate what they believe are personal issues are more likely to describe their parents as being overly controlling.” (Steinberg, pg. 122).
Relational Issues: Adolescence Despite the common stereotype of adolescent years being full of tumult: The stereotype is inaccurate and partly a result of books focusing on the difficulties rather than normative development. Studies indicate the more parents expect adolescence to be troublesome and that their teen will be, the worse the relationship becomes.
Relational Issues: Adolescence Adolescents appear to do best when they grow up in a family atmosphere that permits the development of individuality against a backdrop of close family ties. (Steinberg, pg. 132)
Relational Issues, (cont.) Reparation How do you handle disagreements / conflict? What are your repair attempts? Do you take breaks to deescalate? Do you joke, or apologize, or simply say I love you?
Listening “Conscious Listening creates understanding.” (Treasure, J., 2011) Julian Treasure identifies four ways to improve interpersonal listening: R-receive- pay attention to the speaker. A-appreciate- allow your speaker to realize you are listening and appreciate what he / she is saying through making noises. S-summarize- rephrase, “what I hear you saying is…” A-ask- ask questions afterward.
Conflict In a healthy, normal, romantic relationship, conflict occurs approximately 2x a week. The longer you know someone, the more likely conflict is to arise. (Beebe, Beebe, Redmond; 2011) Communicating in anger is often counterproductive.
Conflict Styles The exercise can help you determine your most common conflict management styles.
Since the focus of this seminar is family, Instead of “Same Sex Friend”, use “Sibling” or one of your children. (If neither apply, use a friend). Instead of “Opposite Sex Friend” use another child or sibling. If you prefer use “Partner” instead of “Parent”. (Redmond; 2008)
Conflict Styles David Johnson uses animals to describe how people deal with conflict. (Goud, 2009) Although multiple methods are generally used, people sometimes over rely on one, and use it at inappropriate times.
Conflict Styles The Turtle- withdrawals from conflict / Avoidant. The Teddy Bear- Soothes the conflict / Accommodation. The Shark- Wants his goals realized no matter what. Competition The Fox- Compromises, gives a little, gets a little. The Owl- problem solves. Finds a way for all to get what they want. Collaboration.
Conflict Resolution Use I statements Make sure you make eye contact Listen, demonstrate interest, don ’ t just think of defense. The power of taking personal responsibility, saying I ’ m sorry or I love you. Useful to express underlying feeling
Conflict Resolution Slow everything down. Mindfulness Be watchful of voice tone and level. What is the other individuals real message? Rather than reacting out of conditioned responses, be mindful of who you want to be in the situation
Summary Healthy communication brings benefits to relationships and to one’s sense of well- being. Conflict is a normal part of life, and there are ways to deal with it effectively. Communication patterns within families are usually well worn, and it is easy to slip into patterns which have been detrimental.
Summary Mindfulness, bringing and keeping the desired change into consciousness as much as possible, is the beginning of change. Be aware of the change you want to make, and focus on bringing that change into interactions.
Summary Change is difficult, and it is expected one will slip into old patterns. But don’t allow that to lead to giving up. Any positive change is beneficial.
References Beebe, S.A; Beebe, S.J; Redmond, M; 2011; Interpersonal Communication: Relating to Others, Sixth Ed. Goud, N; 2009; Psychology and Personal Growth. Gottman, J; 1994; Why Marriages Succeed or Fail. Headley, J; 2013; It’s not about the nail. Funny or die. Retrieved from: http://www.funnyordie.com/videos/70ca308603/it-s- not-about-the-nail http://www.funnyordie.com/videos/70ca308603/it-s- not-about-the-nail
References Mehl, M; Vazire, S; Ramírez-Esparza, N; Slatcher, R; Pennebaker, J; Are Women Really More Talkative Than Men?; Retrieved from http://homepage.psy.utexas.edu/homepage/faculty/p ennebaker/reprints/MehletalScience2007.pdf Redmond, M; 2008; Skillbuilder Workbook for Beebe Beebe and Redmond Interpersonal Communication: Relating to Others Rogers, Carl. 1969. Freedom to learn
References Solomon, Y; Warin, J; Lewis, C: and Langford, W; Intimate talk between parents and their teenage children: democratic openness or covert control; Sociology, 2002, 36:4 965–983 Steinberg, L; 2011; Adolescence, Ninth Ed. Treasure, J; 2011; 5 ways to listen better; TED Talks. Retrieved from: http://www.ted.com/talks/julian_treasure_5_ways_to _listen_better.html http://www.ted.com/talks/julian_treasure_5_ways_to _listen_better.html