Interpersonal Relationship
Techniques with Adults
Michele Aluoch
River of Life Professional Counseling LC
c. 2013
Who am I?
Rosenberger, E. W. (2011)
What do I want out of life?
 Where am I going?
 How will I know when I get there?
 What resources do I need to feel fulfilled?
Goal of therapy: seeking to recreate what
is considered “good” in relationships,
seeking to foster what is “healthy”- use
camera check method
Who am I?:
Developing Self Awareness
Personality qualities, hobbies and interests
 Experiences in life
 Beliefs and values
Put each on a sheet and pick out of
shoebox. Can you guess. Then build on
these to get to know each other more.
Meeting Someone: Introductions
Stand up
 Look the other person in the eye
 Smile
 Say- Hi. I am ________
 Make some comments about activity
A Help Wanted Ad
Friend Wanted!
 Type of relationship:
 Qualities:
 Behaviors:
Exercises: Introducing Yourself
You see a new colleague starting at your
department in work and want to welcome
You find out from one of your neighbors
that a new couple moved in three houses
down from you.
There are some new students in your
college class. You are told you will have to
do a group project next quarter. Better
start getting to know who’s who now.
Five Key Questions: Couples Therapy
Madden, M. (2005)
“How did you get the courage to talk to a stranger
about your relationship?”
 “Do you think the problems In the relationship are
more to do with things inside or things outside the
 “What do you notice about other relationships that
is like or unlike your own?”
 “If your relationship does improve, which of you will
be more likely to have changed?”
 “Did you learn anything in your own family that has
helped or hindered you in this relationship?”
Healthy Marriages- Qualities
(Carlson, & Dinkmeyer, 1991,
Dinkmeyer & Carson, 1984)
1. Making the relationship a priority
 2. Communicating regularly
 3 Practicing encouragement
 4. Having marriage meetings and choices
 5. Setting up negotiations, rules, and
conflict resolution
 6. Having regular fun
 7. Emotional and psychological intimacy
Dealing With Outside People
Family of Origin
Cook, J.M., & Poulsen, S.S. (2011)
Photographs with genogram
 Patterns
 Visuals
 Goals:
Improve insight
Decrease emotional reactivity
Reduce dysfunction
Address various angles of the narrative
Family of Origin
Cook, J.M., & Poulsen, S.S. (2011)
From planned cognitions to here and now
 Experiencing the photographs again
Exercise: Set Your Marriage Table
(Smith, R. L., 2006, p.81-82)
1. Sit down together and list all the people who are seated at
your marriage table, those who play a role in your life.
2. When you have created your joint list, take some time
individually to place the names around your table. On
separate sheets of paper, draw a big rectangular shape,
representing your table. Place you and your partner at the
center. Then, spreading out from each side, write the names
from your list, as if you were making place cards for your
3. Share your results. How do your seating plans at the
marriage table differ? Talk about your reasons for seating
people where you did. Are there people who don’t belong at
your marriage table at all? Be honest about describing the
roles others will play in your lives.
Exercise: Set Your Marriage
Table (Continued)
4. Take a third sheet of a paper, and draw a new
rectangular shape. This will be the tale you set
together. Take plenty of time naming your final
seating arrangements at the marriage table. You may
want to work on it over the course of a week or two,
until you’re both satisfied. Keep in mind that your
Marriage Table seating plan isn’t permanent. You canand should-reset it as your lives evolve and change.
(Births, deaths, new friends, job changes, etc.)
5. Establish a date once a year (not your anniversary,
New Year’s Day, or other significant dates) when you
will review the place cards and rest your Marriage
Table. Choose a time when you are both not charged
or depleted from other events.
Cognitive Behavioral Methods
Cognitive- Behavioral Therapies
Identifying/challenging toxic thought
* Individually
* Relationally
Identifying behavioral goals
Challenging Thought Patterns
 “Why?”
 “if only ____, then _____”
 Have tos
 _____ “enough”
 Absolutes: always/never
 Right/wrong
 Good/bad _____
Thinking Error Types
1) Awfulizing/Catastrophizing- Predicting only negative
outcomes for the future: “ ____ is awful, terrible, catastrophic
or as bad as it could possibly be”, “If ___ happens my life is
2) Disqualifying/Discounting- Overlooking the positive and only
seeing the negative, believing that good things don’t count: “I
am sure even when my family complimented me they had to
because they are my relatives. They had to be nice.”
3) All or nothing- Viewing the situation on one end of
extremes: “If my boss corrects me I must be the worst
employee”, “If my child does something wrong I failed as a
parent”, “If I didn’t pass one exam I am an unsuccessful
4 Low Frustration Tolerance- Belief that things should not be
inconvenient: “I can’t stand _____” ; “_____ is too much and is
intolerable or unbearable.”
Thinking Error Types
5) Self Downing- Self deprecating thoughts: “I am no
good, worthless, useless, and utter failure, beyond hope
or help, devoid of value.”
6) Other downing- Derogatory beliefs about others:
“You are no good, worthless, useless, an utter failure,
beyond hope, of no value
7) Emotional reasoning- Letting emotions totally
overrule facts to the contrary: “I feel as if everyone is
talking about me.”
8) Labeling- Giving a label or stereotype without
testing beliefs out:” All of them are like that.”
9) Mind reading- Trying to predict things based on
limited aspects of a situation: “ I know they will think
I’m poor because I can’t afford the latest clothes.”
Thinking Error Types
10) Overgeneralization- Making broad
conclusions about an event based on limited
information: “My husband doesn’t love me
because he is always busy when I am
 11) Personalization- Assuming that others
behaviors are all about you: “My wife is quiet.
Something must be on her mind.”
 12) Shoulds/musts- Having an absolute
concrete standard about how things ought
to be: “ Successful people in life only get As
in school.”
Exercise: 10 Commandments
of Healthy Relationships
Beliefs regarding values in healthy
 Beliefs regarding communication
 Beliefs regarding conflict and problem
 Beliefs regarding decision ,making
 Beliefs regarding his/hers roles
Warning Signs of Toxic Thinking
(Bernstein, J.- 2004, p. 31)
1. Often end up arguing about something other than the
original problem or issue
2. Can’t remember why the argument started
3. Label the other partner negatively (critical adjectives,
negative personality descriptions)
4. Feel like you can’t make the other partner understand how
you feel
5. Say things you later regret
6. Apologize for saying something mean to your partner even
though you still believe it is true
7. Use words like “always”, “never,” and “should” when
referring to your partner
Warning Signs of Toxic Thinking
(Bernstein, J.- 2004, p. 31)
8. Bring up past issues or arguments- even ones you thought
were resolved- in a hostile way during current arguments
9. Have declared certain topics “off limits” to your partner
during disagreements and won’t let your partner talk about
what he or she needs to resolve- it’s all about your comfort
10. Exaggerate or accuse others of exaggerating problems
11. Use bad argument behavior: scream, yell, threaten, blame,
name call,
 go in the other room and lock your spouse out
13. Misperceptions: thinking it is always your spouse who
“pushes your buttons when you really start the arguments
14. Don’t have the skills to discuss and communicate well or
problem solve so you avoid talking about problems - this
actually escalates things and makes the other feel he/she is
not valuable and what they need does not matter
Thought Stopping
Tell self to slow
 “Stop, (name),
 Make it a habit to
pause- living in
maybe/wait rather
than just yes and
no immediately.
Video Clips: Identifying The
Thought Patterns
Watch the videos and note in each person the
irrational or distorted thoughts or areas in which
thoughts have thinking errors in them that ma be
contributing to relationship problems.
Insert videos
Challenging Attributions
1) Am I ascribing something like “This
situation happened because ______?”
2) Am I making a judgment about another
person’s personality because of this
event? What am I telling myself about
what this means? (Because this
happened, it means--- e.g he/she doesn’t
love me/we are getting a divorce/we
should have never gotten married)
Challenging Attributions
3) Am I using adjectives to describe the other person’s
personality, intentions rather than simply describing the
behavior? (e.g. “You are always so lazy. You never care about
our house.” versus “I am concerned about the amount of
cleaning we still have to do. I realize we have busy tiring jobs
but I am wondering how we plan to get the dishes done and
get our things set up for tomorrow plus help the kids to
finish their homework. How do we plan to get to divide
these things up- any ideas?”)
4) Is the way I’m thinking about this definitely 100% a fact?
5) Is there any other way of looking at the situation? Come
up with at least three exceptions.
6) Have I assumed that because something is (perceive by me
to be) such and such way that I am powerless over it?
Attributions Checking Exercise:
1) “Every time I need something done around
here it seems my spouse has something better to
do. He/she would just rather do anything but
spend time with me.”
2) “My spouse and I had planned to have a
romantic evening together. Now he/she is 45
minutes late getting here and I have not gotten a
phone call yet. I am sure he/she is up to no good.
I knew I was not the priority anyway.”
3) “My spouse can’t stand to be around me. As
soon as he/she gets home it is time to hop on the
computer. Video games and internet are all
he/she cares about.”
Attributions Checking Exercise:
4) “My husband sees the laundry on the
stairs and walks right over it. I know he
think it is all my job. He doesn‘t want to
help me with anything.”
5) “My wife knows I had that big meeting
today and when I got home the food
wasn’t even ready and the kids were
frantic. She doesn’t respect me at all and
all my hard work.”
Video Clips: Attributions
What words or behaviors suggest that each
person is applying some attributions which
may foster relational struggles?
Insert videos here
Exercise: Your Marital ATM
(Smith, R.L, 2006, p.128)
Think about the past week. List five credits you put into your
marital ATM. (For example, you coked dinner three times
and took your mother-in-law shopping without complaining).
List five debits you took out of your marital ATM. (For example,
you talked about your work problems for an hour, or you
slept in while your partner fixed breakfast).
How do you decide the “worth” or
“value” of tasks?
 How do you decide who does which
 Is there any meaning you have assigned to
doing or not doing a task?
Communication Concerns
Orathinal, J. & Vansteenswegen, A., 2006
Attention/Listening (“being the most
important person in your partner’s life”)
Versus Privacy (withdrawing, staying in
own world by self, distancing for individual
hobbies ad interests)
 Personal space Versus Intrusion
 Discrepancies regarding what physical
appearance looks good
 Differences of opinions about roles
Territorial Method of Counseling
Orathinal, J. & Vansteenswegen, A., 2006
 Who owns the task?
 What executes the task?
 What can I do to get you to assist me or
to change your task on ___ day?
 Who loses what if the other usurps the
 What does each consider his or her
needs in the task?
 What weapons does each use to try and
make the other do/avoid certain tasks?
Expressing Feelings
Both children and adults who express feelings:
 More likeable
 More intelligent
 Personable and friendly
 Better social development
 Involves how to express, when to express,
and expressing in balanced ways
 Expression with dignity and restraint (e.g.
anger mgmt.)
Understanding All My Feelings
How My Body Feels
Thoughts and
Tense, drained, tired,
exhausted, bored,
Frown, muscles paining,
tears in eyes, isolate
myself, “I don’t care
about anything.”
I Messages
I feel ______________ when/because
___________________ and in the
future I want ________________ .
Using Your Words
Focus on the Past
Use Absolute terms
No blame
each person’s
point of view
Focus on Solutions
Each person takes
for his/her part
I feel _________
when /because ______
and in the future I’d like __________ to
Changing You Messages to
I Messages
You Message
“You never let me share my
opinions. You always do things
your way. That’s all that matters.”
“I am sure you think I just
wasted my day sitting on my
hind end doing nothing.”
“You need to control your
emotions. You are too out of
I Message
Changing You Messages to I
“We will never be able to get this
done now after what you did.”
“I thought we were supposed to
be a team but apparently not
according to you.”
“I’ll never be your priority. All
your buddies will always be more
important to you than I will be.”
Exercises: I Messages
What went well? What do you hope to
1) You are usually hesitant to share your own
feelings on things but this time you approached
your family and you felt acknowledged.
2) You saved up money for one year to be able to
put a down payment on a car. People never
thought you could do it because you are usually
an impulsive spender.
Exercises: I Messages
3) You have kept so busy that you generally have
not eaten healthy in the past. Now with the
partnership of a close friend you have both
gotten on a healthy eating and exercise regimen
and feel better about yourself.
4) You never really learned healthy interactions
between adults in your family of origin because
dad was an alcoholic and mom was codependent.
After some of your own counseling you have
been able to develop prosocial skills to the point
that now after some years single you are happily
married with good open communication.
Listening to the Speaker
(Perspective Taking)
1. Experiences- what is happening
2. Behaviors- what he or she is doing
or not doing
3. Feelings/Emotions- expressed or
4. Thoughts and Beliefs- internal
cognitions and
Exercise: The Wise Men and
the Elephant
Read the story.
Discuss how limiting things to our own
perspective can hinder us from seeing what
we need to se in a situation.
Explore how incorporating many perspectives
may help give a fuller picture of things?
Generalize: how can this be used with
situations in the client’s life?
1) So are you feel _________ ?
 2) Are you feeling ________ because
___________ ?
 3) In the future you would like ________
to happen?
Get three “yes”es before moving on.
The Communication Game
Helps to correct false assumptions.
 Demonstrates to that the other is worthy
of being respected and heard.
 Immediate
 Honest
 Supportive
 Specific
Empathy: Putting Yourself In
Someone’s Shoes
When someone tells you of an event
listen to their experience, feels, thoughts,
and what they wish happened.
 What did they hope for? What actually
 What do they want from here?
Exercise: Putting Yourself In
Someone Else’s Shoes
Your good friend has told you about her
aunt dying. She can’t imagine life without
her since she raised her when her own
bio. Parents abandoned her.
Your buddy from work has been through
so much. His house caught on fire, his
money was stolen, and the company you
both worked for shut down so he is
without a job.
Empathy: Putting Yourself In
Someone’s Shoes
Your friend had been dating someone for
nearly ten years. She was sure he “was
the one.” Then he suddenly broke up with
her and she does not know what to do.
One of the other mothers who has a
child in your son’s class had another child
you just passed away from cancer.
Variation of Communication
Parr, P., Boyle, R. A., & Tejada, E.L.(2008).
Sitting back to back without distraction of
 With each having a notepad listening for
what words are important and
emotionally laden to other.
 Ability to draw what the other is saying
Mixed Feelings
Usually feelings are not just pleasant or
 It is realistic in life to have co-occurring
differing types of feelings.
Examples: Mixed Feelings
You just gave birth to a new baby after
waiting for so long to get pregnant but
the baby has developmental delays.
You have finally found someone who you
would consider your very best friend.
She told you that in one month she and
her husband will be moving overseas for
his job.
Empathy with Behavior Change
Start with I message about the perceived event
and your feelings
 Share your goals.
 Ask a request. Find out what the other would be
willing to do.
Example: I feel confused when you started sharing
a story about your work day and then you
changed topics. I’d like to understand what
happened at work today. Would you be willing to
repeat yourself? Could we talk about the next
topic after we finish talking about school?
Empathy with Behavior Change
I do not agree with your perception of that event but I ma willing
to hear how you came to that conclusion. Can we review the
incident please?
I am worried about you drinking alone with the neighbor woman
and telling her about our problems. I think that can create a
situation which makes it more likely for an affair to happen again.
I am concerned when time passes and I do not get a phone call
about where you are. I don’t know what is happening then.
Attending, Focusing & Listening
Skill Development
Self evaluation (ongoing self awareness
and management)
Awareness of nonverbals (sitting in seat,
direction of body, movement)
Reminding self “what am I supposed to be
When helpful use a concrete cue to
signify who is the speaker (e.g. object)
Listening Assessment
1. Do you ignore people when they say something you do
not want to hear?
2.Do you concentrate more on the speaker’s appearance,
mannerisms, or accent rather than the content of what they
are saying?
3. Do you assume you already know what they are going to
say before they say it?
4. Do you shut off listening when you disagree with
5. Do you only listen for facts instead of getting the big
picture and the whole idea?
6. Do you look around and pay attention to many things
around you when someone is talking?
Listening Assessment
7. Do you just listen and not take notes or find later that you
don’t have much written down about what was said?
8. Do you hear outside noises that distract you from the
9. Do you take each situation as something new rather than
trying to connect things to what you already know?
10. Do you only do homework only when it is assigned
instead of reviewing something and keeping up each day?
11.Do you close your mind off to any new ideas that differ
from your own?
12. Do you slouch, fidget, or find it hard to look at and pay
attention to the speaker?
Listening Assessment
13. Do you sit in the back or sides where
it is easier to get distracted instead of
choosing a front or center seat to pay
14. Do you have trouble knowing how
and when to ask questions?
15. Do you sometimes just stay quiet and
not ask anything even when you really
need help?
Ways To Improve Listening
Practice listening and attending skills even when
you think you can guess ahead what is going to be
Focus on the message, not details like the
person’s looks, voice, and accent.
Learn how to hear differing points of view and to
take perspectives.
Use techniques to aid memory like note taking,
peg words, visualization, drawings, and linking
things together.
Frequently ask yourself, “what am I supposed to
be doing?”
Ways To Improve Listening
Be prepared to listen by reviewing ahead/daily.
Choose seating and positioning that will minimize
Have a way to record your thoughts and
emotions on paper as the other is speaking so
you do not interrupt.
Don’t assume you know anything. Use empathy
and paraphrasing skills to “check in.”
Practice listening It does not come naturally.
Nonverbal Listening
93 % or more of the message
 Body language
 Eye contact- attentive without staring
 Gestures
 Posture
 Facial expressions
 Tone of voice
Videos: Identifying the Unhealthy
Communication And Changing To I
Notice how the words each person uses
either serves to intensify the
defensiveness and put the couple on
guard or helps foster healthy
communication and understanding.
Insert videos
Suggestions for
communication with men:
1. Start with the end result.
2. State the role expectation:
 Support
 Listening
 Encouragement
 Understanding
 Agreement
 Problem solving
3. Fill in the details.
Insert Video Examples
Notice how her responses each time help
or hinder his understanding.
Ten Commandments of Clean
Avoid judgmental words.
Avoid global labels.
Avoid “you” messages of blame and
 Avoid old history.
 Avoid negative comparisons.
 Avoid threats.
 Describe your feelings rather than attack
with them.
 Keep body language open and receptive.
Love Languages
Chapman, G., 1992
Words of Affirmation
 the more you receive, the easier it is to give
 even if “most of the time” it feels like things are not gong well, find something to compliment
 remember that tone and nonverbals either give support and affirmation for or against the
Quality Time- undivided attention
 turning off all distractions including TV, cell phones, etc.
 define “togetherness”
 without interruption and with attendance to feelings
Words of Affirmation
 the more you receive, the easier it is to give
 even if “most of the time” it feels like things are not gong well, find something to compliment
 remember that tone and nonverbals either give support and affirmation for or against the
Quality Time- undivided attention
 turning off all distractions including TV, cell phones, etc.
 define “togetherness”
 without interruption
 with attendance to feelings
Love Languages
Chapman, G., 1992
3. Gift Giving
4. Acts of Service
 doing things your spouse would like you
to do
 being eager to help
 requesting, not demanding
 phrased as options
5. Physical Touch
 shows “I need you” and “I want you.”
Love Languages
Insert video examples.
Cognitive Reframing
Instead of “if he/she would…….”
 “If I could just get a grip on _____ then
we’d finally be happy.”
 Watch where you put your BUTs:
 __________ BUT __________.
Cultivating A Sense of Oneness
Dream together:
“I have always wanted ______.”
“When I was a child I thought of _____.”
“If we had the time or money I would love
for us to _____.”
 Helps practice empathy on the part of the
 Helps refocus on development of united
 Redefines things in concrete, behavioral
 Can be used well with solution focused
Cultivating A Sense of Oneness
 1. Person #1 shares about a dream while the other listens
and empathizes.
 2. Person #2 shows interest in the dream by asking questions
such a the following. (do NOT get into the feasibility of the
(see Gottman, p.145):
What is important to your about this dream?
What is the most important part?
Is there a story behind this for you? Tell me that story.
Is there something from your life history that relates to that
 Tell me all the feelings that you have about that dream.
 Are there any feelings you left out? What do you wish for
Cultivating A Sense of Oneness
What would be your ideal dream here?
How do you imagine things would be if you got
what you wanted?
Is there a deeper purpose or goal in this for you?
Does this relate to some belief or value for you?
Do you have some fear about not having this
dream honored? Do you imagine some disaster?
3. The couple plan some small step or goal
toward the dream.
Video Clip: Cultivating Oneness
Notice ways the counselor helps the
client dream with each other again.
Setting Behavioral Goals
 Specific
 Manageable
 Achievable
 With
accountability for
follow through
Making Behavior Requests
Talk only from own point of view.
 Describe desired behavior.
 Ask if spouse is willing to do request.
 Define: timeframe, how measured,
frequency, etc.
Exercise: Behavioral Requests
How can you improve the following to be
more effective?
1) “The dishes and household chores are
never done around here. This apartment
looks like pig sty!!!”
2) We juts don’t do things together. It is
like we are from two different worlds
Exercise: Behavioral Requests
3) “At least John and Mary make time for
dates between their schedules. What do
we have for us anymore?”
4) (Looking at pictures) “I remember
when we used to be able to talk about
5) “Cathy is over here all the time. She
just doesn’t have a life of her own1”
Video Clips: Behavior Requests
Notice how the communication improves
if behavior requests are made reasonably,
specifically, and with willingness to adapt if
need be.
Exercise: Making Pleasers List
What Pleases Your Partner- Observe
 Considerate acts
 Communication exchanges
 Child care
 Financial decisions
 Intimacy, touching
 Leisure activities
 Helping with household chores
 Employment
 Hugs
 Compliments
 Listening to Opinions: Rather than giving
What Pleases Your PartnerObserve
Considerate acts
Communication exchanges
Child care
Financial decisions
Intimacy, touching
Leisure activities
Helping with household chores
Listening to Opinions: Rather than giving
What Pleases Your PartnerObserve
Rate each: 1-3 of importance and give to
your spouse.
 Spouse: don’t include anything on the list
you are not willing to do.
 Focus on behaviors instead of attitudes.
 Develop a contract about what each is
willing to do.
 Make statements of verbal commitment
to your spouse.
Nonverbal Communication Builder
Goal: getting used to “being” with each other
Face each other, star into each other’s eyes
Use graduated steps (30 secs., 1 minute, etc).
Learn to become comfortable around your
Learn to look deep into the other rather
than getting distracted by issues that may be
superficial or distract from the heart of
Building Emotional Closeness
Act like you are “having an affair” with your
Plan the getaway.
Be creative.
Pretend you are on a first special date.
Pretend you are making love for the first time.
Make cute, loving, seductive, faces at each other,
Develop your own romantic language.
Write loving or even spicy letters to your spouse.
Be aware of what clothing, hairstyles, mannerisms
attract your spouse and do more of that.
Conflict Management &
Problem Solving
Assertiveness versus aggression or passivity
Confronting behaviors
Aggressive response:Your meetings are
always more important than me! You’ll
never care about me or make me a priority!
Passive response: okay dear. Have a good day.
Assertive response: I’m sure I’ll cope but in
the future I’d like for you to arrange to give
me at least one week advance notice if
Learning Healthy Assertiveness
I have a meeting tonight so don’t have one of
your stupid attitudes and mess things up.
Aggressive response:Your meetings are always
more important than me! You’ll never care about
me or make me a priority!
 Passive response: okay dear. Have a good day.
 Assertive response: I’m sure I’ll cope but in the
future I’d like for you to arrange to give me at
least one week advance notice if possible.
Learning Healthy Assertiveness
Your mother just interferes with everything and messes
it up. She better not be here when I get back!
Aggressive response: At least she talks to me more
than you ever do!
 Passive response: Well you know how she is.
 Assertive response: I know it is annoying to you when
she is here, especially when we lose track of time.
Perhaps you could give me some signals to let me
know when you are about to come home so I can
wind up.
Learning Healthy Assertiveness
You don’t do anything around the house!
Aggressive response: If you can’t appreciate
what I do then just leave. Someone lese will
appreciate me.
Passive response: Well I’ll get to it soon.
Assertive response: It may be frustration
seeing things more messy her than we’d like.
I’ve had such a busy day. If you don’t mind
we can talk later and decide how we can get
things accomplished.
Alternative Self Statements
I can take a deep breath.
I have a choice here. I will do
I am not responsible for other people’s behavior.
I can remain mature even when the other person
keeps it up by doing ____________________.
Instead of staying in the situation I can go
I don’t have to keep quiet about what they have
done to me. I can talk to _________ about it.
I can choose alternative activities. There are
many things I like to do. I am not stuck . Now I
will do _______________.
Eight Aversive Strategies
In Terms Of Anger Reactions
Discounting- shaming people into agreeing with you
Withdrawal/abandonment- “Do what I want or I’m leaving.”,
giving the emotional deep freeze
Threats- a partner actively hurts the other to control them
Blaming- stating that all problems are the other person’s
Belittling/denigrating- using fear or shame to manipulate the
other into doing something
Guilt tripping- blaming other for the responsibility of
contributing to problems
Derailing- switching the conversational focus as a means of
controlling things
Taking away- withdrawing pleasure, time, attention,
environment, affection, etc.
1. Take a break when communication goes beyond a certain amount of
time without empathy and progression toward understanding and support.
2. During the break each person should write “I Messages” describing how
he or she feelings, his. Or her perception of the incident, and verbalizing
expectations for the future.
3. In the meantime while waiting for the time frame to elapse spend time
focusing on something relaxing and incongruent with building resentment.
4. Learn to start up your conversation in a soft way or pause until you are
able to use the I Messages in a calm tone of voice.
5. Accept your partners responses as well.
6. Make a behavior request for what you need. Phrase these as questions
and options. Be willing to negotiate for an in between step if necessary.
7. Express appreciation throughout to your spouse for hearing attending
and listening to (even if not agreeing with) you.
Rules For Time Outs
No final words.
Leave immediately.
Set a time to come back together.
Don’t use drugs or alcohol.
Don’t rehearse what to say next. Do an
alternative behavior instead.
Check in with each other when you get
Plan ahead for problem times.
Video Clips: Timing
Try to predict what will happen next
based on how sensitive people are to
timing issues and cues.
Fighting Fair
Consider your relationship along - term
commitment not to be discarded because of
one disagreement, no matter how serious it
may be.
Agree always to listen to each others feelings,
even if you consider those feeling inappropriate
Commit your selves to both honesty and
Determine to attempt to care for each other
unconditionally with partner assuming 100
percent of the responsibility for resolving
conflict(a50/50 concept seldom works)
Consider all the factors in a conflict before
bringing up the conflict to your partner
Fighting Fair
Limit the conflict to the here and now never bring up
past failures since all past failures should already have
been forgiven
Eliminate the following phrases from your vocabulary:
“You never” or “you always”
“I can’t” (always substitute “Won’t”)
“I’ll try” (usually this means I’ll make a half hearted effort but
won’t quite succeed)
“You should” or “you shouldn’t” (these are parent to child
Limit the discussion to one issue that is the center of
Focus on that issue rather than attacking each
Fighting Fair
Offer your partner some time to think about the
conflict before discussing it(but never put it off
Each partner should use ‘I feel……… messages”
expressing a response to whatever words or
behavior aroused the conflict. For example, “I feel
angry towards you for coming home late without
calling me first” is an adult message that is
appropriate between spouses whereas “you should
always call me when you’re going to be late for
supper” is apparent to child message. Such an order
causes the mate to be come defensive.
Never say anything derogatory about your partner’s
personality. Proverbs 11:12 tells us, “to quarrel with
a neighbour is foolish; a man with good sense holds
his tongue.”
Even though your partner wont always be right
consider him or her an instrument of God working
in your life.
Fighting Fair
Never counter attack, even if your partner does not follow these
Don’t tell your partner why you think he or she does whatever it
is(unless you are asked). Rather, stick to how you feel about what is
Don’t try to read your partners mind. If you are not sure what was
meant by something said ask for clarification
Be honest about your true emotions but keep them under control.
Proverbs 15:18 reminds us, “ a quick tempered man starts fights a cool
tempered man tries to stop them.”
Remember that the resolution of the conflict is what important, not
who wins or loses is. If the conflict is resolved, you both win. You’re on
the same team, not opposing, competing teams.
Agree with each other on what topics are out of bounds because they
are too hurtful or have already been discussed (bad habits, continued
obesity, time consuming hobbies and so on).
Pray about each conflict before discussing it with your partner.
Solution-Focused Relationships
Ideas of How To Be Positive In The Midst of
Compliment what has gone well.
 Speak about what has made a positive
difference for you.
 Talk about specifically what behaviors,
attitudes, actions are effective
 Make regular time for reminiscing about
what goes right.
Solution Focused Approaches
Have part of your regular discussion focus
on what is going well.
 Create plans for how to keep those
things going well.
Solution Focused Approaches
My husband/wife is stubborn and selfish.
My spouse is a lazy bum who just wants to
fly by the seat of his/her pants. He/she never
prepares for anything.
My friend is boring and dull and never lets us
have fun because the are so frugal.
My coworker is so planned and uptight about
My classmate just has unrealistic expectations.
They think things will turn out right if you “just
wait and trust.”
I am encouraged that I am
married to a person who
knows what he believes in.
Video Clips: Solution Focused
Notice how the adults focus on what has
gone well in spite of problem areas. They
build on strengths rather than magnify
Accepting Differences
Being tolerant of people who are not
exactly like us
 Showing respect for different ways of
doing things
 Allowing many means to an end
Exercise: Accepting Differences
1) Organization is very important to you.
You like making sure that things are “put
up and in their place” right after they are
used. But your roomate says she just
wants some days to relax and then
spends certain days really cleaning and
organizing. That is hard for you because
to you it feels like some things are always
left undone.
Exercise: Accepting Differences
2) When you talk to your spouse you like to
reveal the details of things but our spouse doesn’t
want to take much time and juts wants to
highlight the main points.
3) at your fast food job one of the supervisors is
very particular about how the burgers are placed
on the grill but the other ones are flexible about
what system you use as long as cleanliness and
professional standards of some sort are followed.
You have to work with different supervisors
different days.
Exercise: Accepting Differences
4) Your style is for someone to let you
know what they need done and then to
trust you to do it but your boss seems to
have her eyes on your every move. She
watches you like a hawk while you work.
Prioritizing Your Relationship
1.Security-the knowledge of permanence in the relationship and of
financial and material well-being
2. Companionship- having a friend who goes through the joys and
sorrows of life with you, a soul partner that has common areas of
Sex- the oneness that comes through physical intimacy in marriage,
the initiation and enjoyment of a growing physical relationship
4. Understanding and tenderness- experiencing regularly the touch,
the kiss, the wink across the room that says, “I love you,” “I care,”
“‘I’m thinking of you”
5. Encouragement-having someone verbally support and appreciate
your work and effort in your profession in your home, with the
children, and so on.
6. Intellectual closeness- discussing and growing together in common
areas of intellectual thought
7. Mutual activity-Doing things together in politics, sports, church
Hope Focused Counseling
Remembering what worked
 Building on strengths
 Causing couple to daydream again“we/us”
 Looking at areas of growth areas as a
strength rather than a weakness
 LOVE acrostic as a way of resolving
conflicts: (L = listen and reflect; O =
observe your effects;V = value your mate;
E = evaluate both partners' interests
Hope Focused Counseling
Teaching them to TANGO (communication
skills): take turns in talking, understand how
they affect each other, and listen to each
TAN: T = Tell what happened clearly and
briefly, A = describe how the situation
Affected you,
N = give a Nurturing
Then the listener responds with the GO:
G= did I Get it? Reflect back what they
heard, and O = Observe the effects of the
conversation and comment on them.
Video Examples: Hope Focused
Autobiography Work
Hoang, L. (2005).
“Some time down the track, I'm going to invite you
both to do a piece of work in sessions, which I call
'autobiography work'. It will go like this, I'll work
with one of you and, in that work, you will be
'writing' your autobiography. While we are doing
this, your partner will sit and observe, as if she is
the 'reader'.You'll write from the viewpoint of your
current age, as an adult looking back at the different
stages of your life, revisiting your childhood, and the
way you were in your family of origin.You'll observe
things, you'll wonder about things, and you'll
contrast 'you now' with 'little you' when you still
lived in your family of origin. “
Key Questions Couples Need
Johnson, S., M. (2007)
Are you there for me when I need you? Do
you care?
 Will you respond when I need it , not when
you choose to respond?
 Can I be safe, secure, myself around you?
 Can I trust you?
 Are you dependable and reliable?
 Do I believe that at the core you care about
my interest?
 What really matters?
 Are you accessible to me?
Key Questions Couples Need
Johnson, S., M. (2007)
Do I fear unpredictability?
 Do I get signals that the other may not be
there for me if I bring up certain topics or
Goal of Therapy: Create new bonding
Handling Change
Change can be prepared for
 Two categories: what I can and can’t control
What I wished
What I can’t control
What I can do
Exercises: Handling Change
What I can’t control
What I can do
Dealing With Something I Can’t
SAY “I would like to have _____ but I can’t have
it right now.”
THINK about other choices:
Ask again alter.
Find something else to do.
Ask to borrow it.
Ask to share it,
Ask to do things to earn one.
Wait your turn.
Accept that you are not allowed with a good
The Relationship Pyramid

Relationship Building Techniques for Adult Clients