Therapy for Effective Communication in Georgetown, ON
Arguments are not uncommon in most relationships and even have the potential to strengthen the relationship if resolved properly. However, most couples find themselves caught in a negative cycle where their conflict includes criticism, defensiveness, silent treatments, or worse. If you are feeling trapped in these conflict patterns, you are likely feeling alone, angry, frustrated and hurt. A probable cause for these arguments is lack of effective communication.
Many arguments often have their seeds in not feeling truly heard by our partners. Most often, partners begin to make assumptions about how the other is feeling or how they view the relationship. These assumptions can further break down the relationship.
In your relationship, you may feel like your needs are not being met. You are feeling helpless and worried that you will never be able to resolve your problems. You may have even given up trying, and completely burnt out.
Couples therapy can help teach you how to communicate effectively again in a safe and nonthreatening way. We can help you learn how to express your wants, needs and concerns with your partner clearly and effectively. You will be able to have constructive conversations with each other and feel truly heard and understood. You will be able to manage and solve your relationship problems together as a team.
What is Effective Communication?
Effective communication in relationships occurs when both partners can share thoughts, ideas, information, feelings, and needs and it is received and understood with purpose and clarity. When partners communicate effectively, they both feel heard, seen and understood.
What Causes Lack of Communication in a Marriage?
For many people, it’s automatic to want to avoid negative or painful emotions or conflict in their relationships. We know that this type of reaction is common as most of us want to avoid anything that has the potential to hurt us, our partner or the relationship. This avoidance can be helpful and necessary sometimes. We also know that it is human nature to want close connections. However, the very trait that makes that connection possible, OUR VULNERABILITY, is often avoided.
There are so many reasons why being vulnerable with our partners is not happening. Something inside tells us that we should not be this open, that it is too risky. Many believe that exposing their vulnerability is a sign of weakness. Some fear it will open them up to humiliation, rejection, or pain. Some learned not to be vulnerable growing up, or were not exposed to it in their families. They were never shown how to do it. This is so common, and so unfortunate. If partners cannot expose their softer side, the vulnerabilities that are so often hidden behind their defensives, the relationship is not flexible enough to cope during times of conflict and stress. The consequence is that partners are unwilling to truly be themselves, and their partner will never truly know them, hear them, or understand them. Partners inevitably get stuck in negative communication cycles full of criticism, defensiveness, stonewalling and contempt.
The bottom line is that being unwilling to be vulnerable hurts our connection to our partners. In truth, we’re not allowing our partners to fully know us.
How do you Fix Lack of Communication in a Relationship?
Why do some couples communicate well and others do not? The essential ingredient is a felt sense of trust and security in their relationship. Couples need to ask themselves; Can we express ourselves vulnerably to one another? Do I have confidence that my partner will be there for me, stay engaged and respond when I communicate with them? If the answer to these questions is yes, there is a very high likelihood that the couple is able to communicate effectively.
How can a Couples Therapist help build Effective Communication?
The therapist will work on helping the couple not interrupt, lower their defensiveness or criticism, prevent stonewalling, and remove blame or contemptuous behaviours. Softening defenses is key, and this requires partners to stop judging one another. Couples are taught to acknowledge and accept the feelings of their partner, while inhibiting their own feelings and judgements. This makes space for vulnerable sharing of feelings, fears, and longings.
A couples therapist will not solve the couple’s problems. Problem solving is reliant on the couple’s ability to collaborate. Most of the time, the couple's distress has nothing to do with an inability to solve problems but more to do with a lack of emotional engagement with one another. The therapist aims to help the couple become emotionally engaged and build a sense of security in their relationship.
How can Couples Therapy help us Communicate Effectively?
At Couples Therapy Centre, we aim to help our couples:
Learn what is blocking good communication
Become more attuned with your partner and listen with less defensiveness
Learn to express yourself so that your partner is better able to know you
Better understand our reactions and how they are influences by our previous life experiences
Know your triggers and why they are getting provoked when you communicate with your partner
Raise issues constructively
Learn how to repair after conflict
Learn how to compromise
Provide feedback to your partner in ways that bring you closer together rather than further apart
Learn strategies to calm and soothe yourself so you can communicate more effectively
Have insight and empathy into your partner’s point of view, while receiving the same from them
Overcome communication difficulties