Filtering by Tag: Communication

Healthy relationships

@journey_to_wellness_ uses this lovely image to describe what a healthy relationship should look like. Learning about and valuing what is important to each other is paramount. Knowing and being able to express how you feel, your desires and thoughts facilitates openness which in turn leads to a deeper connection. Healthy relationships bring out the best in BOTH of yo

Listening skills

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Listening.
REALLY listening. 
We all want to be heard. REALLY heard. We often prioritise that over listening.  My favourite quote is; "Most people do not listen with the intent to understand; they listen with the intent to reply". How often have you found yourself doing just that? Sitting and listening to what someone is saying, but really thinking about your; emotions or rebuttle - getting geared up to respond. I know I have! That's why with couples that I see, I focus on getting them to listen, REALLY listen. The best exercise I find for this (Couple Therapists if you have good ones too please let me know!) is simple paraphrasing! This exercise is so easy to use and translates to most issues or topics you may be struggling with.

 All you need to do is; one person be the speaker and the other the listener.
Speaker: Discusses how they are feeling or thinking. Listener:Use your own words to communicate what you understand the Speaker to be saying (paraphrase). Don’t just repeat what the Speaker has said. Listener:: Verify, clarify, or modify the Speaker’s paraphrased response. Speaker: Paraphrases what the Listener has said again.
This is intended to help the listener to know that the Speaker is aware of the Listener's perspective and has heard what they have said. Paraphrasing and restating also allows the Speaker to correct any misunderstanding on the part of the Listener.
Side note; when I was 19 I remember seeing a big poster, and it's always stuck with me. It said; We have two ears, two hands and one mouth-to talk less listen more and do most.

Sexual Expression.

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New research finds that comfort with sexual communication is directly linked to sexual satisfaction. Alongside this: People who are more comfortable talking about sex are also more likely to do so while having sex, the researchers found. Expressing yourself sexually tends to be easier during sexual activity as guards and barriers tend to be lowered. After all, people who are uncomfortable asking their partners to wear a condom may be at higher risk of having unprotected sex and exposing themselves to sexually transmitted infections. Which would reduce the fear of pregnancy or STI's and increase an individual feeling relaxed....not to mention the all important intimacy! So try to communicate and express yourself honestly. This will lead to a happier sex life.

Differentiation

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So, what is differentiation? It's the opposite of symbiosis (connection as one - where codependency can arise...we will leave that to another day!)
Differentiation, the way we hold on to ourselves while staying connected to our partner. Differentiation requires the individual to be honest with themselves and partner, open to personal growth and the ability to express how they feel/think/desire while tolerating their partner doing the same. 
Differentiation facilitates authenticity and vulnerability, and resolving conflicts and accepting that you might not like each other at times!
Differentiation is something I talk to couples about from the beginning. It is interesting how often people become fearful of that change - within their partner or themselves- that holding integrity can create so much anxiety. In actual fact it can do quite the opposite! It can keep the passion alive, stop relationships becoming stale, break any repetitive cycle that's occurring with conflict (hostile/avoidance) and most importantly, ease re-traumatisation.

Here are some tips to get you started with differentiation:
1. During a conflict or difficulty, try doing something that is 180 degrees different than what you have tried. 
2. Question yourself: How are the current relationship issues made worse by you, your attitude, your way of looking at issues.
3. Confront yourself, not your partner. See how it feels and how you contribute to issues. 
4. Ask yourself: Do I feel comfortable with my partner expressing their views, emotions or thoughts? •
See how it feels asking yourself these questions. If your differenation is strong in the relationship, you should be comfortable handing these over to your partner!  

Supporting Someone with Mental Illness

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1 in 4 people in the UK will experience a mental health issue this year. 
If you are worried about someone it can be difficult to know what to do. When you are aware there is an issue, it is important not to wait. Waiting and hoping they will come to you for help might lose valuable time in getting them support. I have spoken to people previously who have been too afraid to address mental health with the person they are worried about. Well I say stick on the kettle and use some of these tips:
1. Set time aside with no distractions
It is important to provide an open and non-judgemental space where the person feel safe and secure.
2. Let them share as much or as little as they want to
Let them lead the discussion at their own pace. Don’t put pressure on them to tell you anything they aren’t ready to talk about. Sometimes it's just giving people time. 
3. Don't try to diagnose or second guess their feelings
You probably aren’t a medical expert and, while you may be happy to talk and offer support, you aren’t a trained therapist. Try not to make assumptions about what is wrong or jump in too quickly with your own diagnosis or solutions
4. Listen. Really listen.
Listening is actually quite a difficult skill to master. Most people listen to respond. Try to stop your mind wandering and focus on what they are trying to tell you. 
5. Offer them support with services.
It maybe important that they see a GP in the first instance. Encourage them to do so with the support of yourself so they don't feel alone.

The Function of Relationships

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If we use relationships to make us wiser, kinder and more compassionate, we can actually change how they function. We can have the relationships and lives we've always dreamed of. Look after each others soul and personal growth. Committing to helping, supporting and loving each other. It is only when you are living through love and kindness with each other that your relationship will truly flourish. 

Sex and Communication 1

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New research finds that comfort with sexual communication is directly linked to sexual satisfaction. Alongside this: People who are more comfortable talking about sex are also more likely to do so while having sex, the researchers found. Expressing yourself sexually tends to be easier during sexual activity as guards and barriers tend to be lowered. After all, people who are uncomfortable asking their partners to wear a condom may be at higher risk of having unprotected sex and exposing themselves to sexually transmitted infections. Which would reduce the fear of pregnancy or STI's and increase an individual feeling relaxed....not to mention the all important intimacy! So try to communicate and express yourself honestly. This will lead to a happier sex life 💗.

Sex and Communication 2

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Sex and communication: If you feeling awkward or exposed talking during sex, a good way to commence communicating is to try it before being in the act. You could start the conversation about something you've my have had a dream about, day dreaming about or a fantasy you've been thinking about trying. You could start by leaving a note or even a text. Putting yourself gently out there is a good way to start. It's dipping your toes rather than diving straight in! 

Sex and Communication

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Sex and communication: If your partner struggles with communicating with you during sex, some positive reinforcement might help. Telling your partner how amazing they are, good they look and how much you enjoy being with them. Comment on certain aspects that you do get genuine pleasure from. This also can be said after sex when your partner may even be caught off guard. Knowing that you think of them can really help boost confidence levels.

Listening Skills

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Listening is a skill. As a therapist you are taught to do it. Listening well means not just understanding the words or the information being communicated, but also understanding the emotions the speaker is trying to communicate.
Truely listening means trying to understand what the individual is trying to say in many forms, not just the content but what they say but how they say it; their tone, rate of speech and body language. Not to mention why they chose the specific words. Then the next level is how is this making them feel. Can you understand their emotional components?
Then finally what does this evoke for you? This maybe something that the individual is experiencing (if it is not and belongs to you, that's a whole new ball game!). Remember listening is a skill. So you can learn it! 

Sex and Communication

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Sex and communication: The ability to talk honestly and openly is vital in order to have a fulfilling sex life. The skills to do so can be learned which will greatly improve your sexual satisfaction and your relationship. Its not an easy thing to do, some people fear being embarrassed or embarrassing their partners. Not to mention the fear of being rejected or the possibility of ruining their relationships. Finally that many people are nervous about starting the conversation in the first instance so they just keep to themselves. Let's be honest; talking about sex is a very sensitive and uncomfortable topic for most people. All of these worries are completely understandable. Continuing on this week I'll be giving you ways that you can ease these fears and start having a better sex life.