Therapy for Communication Problems on the Main Line

Nearly all couples who come to Main Line Relationship Center report that they have “communication problems.”  They are right!  Nearly all couples -- and all people -- do have communication problems.  The root of the issue is merely lack of knowledge and skill. After all, it is the rare exception that one has been taught how to communicate effectively.  But ending the cycle of conversations that go nowhere and arguments that last all night truly is possible.

Here are common contributors to communication issues:

Misunderstandings: Sometimes we don’t say what we mean.  Sometimes the other person doesn’t hear what we say.  

Moods: Our moods impact our affect (i.e., tone of voice) and our content (i.e., the words we say). 

Attributions: Our belief about another person shapes what we hear them say.  If you believe your partner is kind, you will hear kindness.  If you believe your partner is insensitive, he/she could say the exact same words, but you will hear insensitivity.

Meaning-making: So much of communicating has little to do with the content.  After someone says “x” to you, you then “decide” what they mean by “x”.  Sometimes you will get it wrong.   

Hard-wired reactions: When we perceive we have been attacked (verbally), our hard-wired reactions are predictable: counter-attack, defend, or shut-down. These reactions are normal, but they are not useful. 

Escalation: You’ve been there.  What starts as a tiny disagreement quickly escalates to yelling, name calling, anger, hurt, and tears. 

In therapy for communication, you will learn how to:

  • Say what you mean
  • Bypass arguments when you’re in a bad mood
  • Understand attributions
  • Check out your meaning-making
  • Respond with counter-instinctual behaviors
  • End escalation  

You may also be interested in reading the following related articles:

Couples Therapy
Getting the Most from Couples Therapy
Affairs and Infidelity