Seven Rules for Healthy Relationship Conflict and Engagement:
A healthy relationship requires the ability to tolerate and deal with conflict in a respectful way that maintains personal dignity and avoids hurt and wounding. Conflict is normal and teaches us about our differences. The skills of friendly conflict require a couple to agree to rules of engagement that allow them to work out differences without triggering their deepest fears of criticism or rejection. It means engaging without hurting or blaming one another.
Here are some tips to ensure that conflicts will strengthen your relationship instead of harming it.
In my Denver couples counseling practice, I offer counseling that recommends --Seven Rules for Healthy Relationship Conflict and Engagement:
Active listening. Everyone needs to be heard. When people are defending their own position they are not open to listen to another’s point of view. Active listening means silencing the internal desire to interrupt and be right. Listening with respect means letting the other person speak and, when they are done, to reflect back what you’ve heard so they know you understand.
Don’t dredge up the past. Using ammunition from the past will only escalate conflict and lead to hopelessness. Stay in the present and stick to the issue at hand.
3. No name calling. The impact of contempt lasts forever. Name-calling is a wounding of the person and their self concept leading to degradation of love and good-will.
Own your own feelings. Everyone has the right to feel intensely. Your reactions are a result of your own wound history, use your emotional response to educate your partner about who you are and how you feel, rather than blaming them for your reactions.
No yelling. Everyone has a different threshold for loudness, depending on their family background. Yelling is a power play, which only leads to more distance and fear. If you are agitated enough to yell, ask for a time out.
Stay with the need. Underneath every hurt or frustration is an unmet need. Your partner is more likely to support you in distress if they knew your need and how to support you getting it met.
Request a solution. Help your partner find a solution by suggesting possible options for resolving your conflict.
Don't wait for your challenges to become overwhelming or destructive. Seek and get help NOW!
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Trained in marriage and family counseling, I see pre-marital, married, co-habitating, and gay and lesbian (LGBT) partners for couples counseling, in my Denver, Colorado mental health practice. As a certified sex therapist, I help couples deal with sexual and mental health issues such as low sexual desire, painful sex, sexual dysfunction, or sex/porn addiction. Click here to see more on couples therapy.
GLOW (Gays and Lesbians Out and Well) is psychotherapy and counseling with a gay-affirming focus for the Denver, Colorado, LGBT community. GLOW specializes in helping Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, and Transgender (LGBT) persons come out and grow emotionally, psychologically and spiritually. GLOW’s gay counseling is based on the premise that sexuality, creativity, and spirituality are intertwined and dependent on the affirmation of an authentic self-identity. Our work is informed by a philosophy that seeks equality and mental health and wholeness for all people. Click here to learn more about my approach to LGBT issues.
Silence about sexual issues is the great killer of relationships. It is common for people to encounter sexual problems, at any age. Women may experience arousal and orgasm difficulties, low sex drive, or pain during intercourse, while men may struggle with erectile dysfunction, premature ejaculation, and low libido. What is uncommon is for people to speak and do something about those problems before they irreparably damage their self-esteem and relationships. To learn more about Sex Therapy options, click here.
We can talk about options for a healthier, more satisfying, and productive life. Sexual addictions or compulsive behaviors can take over your life, whether it be internet pornography and cybersex, phone sex lines,strip clubs, bath houses, bookstores, cruising spots, or any other form of anonymous sex. It leaves you feeling empty and alone. Click here to learn more.
The causes of your distress may be immediate or rooted in your history. It may be difficult to tell the difference between the source of your stress, anxiety, grief, or discomfort, and your current struggles. You may even try to correct the wrong problems. You may suppress, avoid, or even self-medicate trauma with compulsive behaviors or addiction. There is HELP and HOPE for current or past trauma, PTSD, and abuse! Call GLOW Now or click here to learn more!
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Moshe Rozdzial, LPC