October 9, 2017

Essential Relationship Skills Part 2

About half my clients are couples in committed relationships. Some have been together for decades, some for a few years, some just engaged.  Hero’s Journey

About Dr. Clive Williams

Whatever the length of the relationship, there are certain skills all couples need.  Hero’s Journey

Couples generally run into trouble, regardless of the issue, when they simply don’t like the way that their partner is treating them. The disconnect often begins when one or both partners’ needs aren’t being met in the relationship. A partner may feel a lack of attention, a lack of communication, a lack of intimacy. Whatever the issue, when we have unmet needs, we usually then begin to criticise our partner. We tell them what they are doing wrong based on the idea that they will stop it and start doing what is right.

Unfortunately when a partner is criticized, they almost immediately become defensive. They begin to justify or explain their actions rather than listen and take on board what we are saying. We then feel unheard and so we have another go at telling them what they are doing wrong. Yet again however, this defensive shield kicks in and further explanations, justifications for the actions is all that we hear. It’s at this this point an argument begins and then escalates. And all we wanted was to be heard.

As so the cycle of criticism and defense is set in motion.

To end this cycle is not rocket science but the required skill is foreign to most people. The skill involves giving up self defensive behaviours and replacing them with behaviours that protect the relationship. This shift seems crazy to some partners when I suggest it, or simple enough to others. But doing it in the heat of the moment, when hurt or angry is another thing. Whether you realise it or not, you may have spent years engaged in self protecting behaviours. Maybe you had to do this in your own family, where there was little safety or support. Maybe you’ve learned to avoid conflict at all costs as it didn’t pay off. It’s learning to do this opposite behaviour, protecting the relationship rather than ourselves that is tricky to learn. Mastering this skill when emotional requires a lot of practice. Yet we know from research that this key skill is one that happy partners have mastered.

This workshop is an introduction to these new skills

To register your interest email me at contact@williamspsychology.com.au. Once we have sufficient people (usually 5 or 6 couples) we will contact you.

Dr Clive

About Dr. Clive Williams

Clive Williams, PhD, is a psychologist with 35 years’ experience with a particular focus on how individual change occurs.

Clive’s private practice is in Brisbane though he works with clients around the globe.

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