Communication where no one needs to be defensive or to be made wrong. Learn the skills for a healthy relationship. […]
By Sevin Philips, MFT
1. Respect is more important than love
2. Checking in about the Relationship
3. Not taking each other for granted
4. Protecting quality time
5. Letting go of the small stuff
6. Making amends, owning your behavior
7. Working on your sex life
8. Actively create a future together
Hello, my name is Sevin Philips. I’m a licensed marriage and family therapist and I’ve been working with couples for many years. During this time, I have found 8 key principles that really help in creating a healthy, long-lasting relationship.
If you’re dating or you’re new in a relationship, these principles are excellent for developing a foundation for the relationship you want.
And if you’ve been in a relationship for a while, even if you’re having challenges in that relationship, these are the principles to practice together to make it better.
The first principle is respect is more important than love. We all know that love is one of the most powerful forces in the universe. It’s the thing that drew us together in the beginning. But what happens over time is if we’re disrespectful – we’re bickering, we’re defensive, we cut each other off, we start name calling, whatever the disrespect is – we erode our love over time.
East Bay, Berkeley Relationship Counseling Center (Couples Counseling Therapy)
Do you keep ending up with people who are not good for you? Yes, it’s true the person you are picking is behaving poorly. Since we cannot change someone else’s behavior, we must examine our own patterns in picking the wrong person. In doing this, we can begin to conceptualize healthy relationships and hold that as our new standard.
- We mistake love for physical attraction, neediness and the need to rescue or be rescued. (Examine how your desperation effects your perception)
- We choose emotionally and physically unavailable people in relationships. (Examine your fear of intimacy)
- We pick people who treat us poorly by being punishing, critical, controlling or demeaning. (Examine your low self-esteem.)
- We lose interest in our own personal interests and activities and become enmeshed with the one person and their interests. (Examine your boundaries.)
- We stay in and return to unhealthy relationships. (Examine your fear of loneliness.)
- We begin sexual relationships or become emotionally attached without really knowing someone. (Examine your boundaries.)
- We fantasize about who we think someone is and then are crushed when they fall short of that fantasy. (Examine what is reality vs. fantasy)
- When something is wrong we can talk about it.
- We encourage each other to be better people.
- Having separate interests and friends isn’t a threat.
- We can be vulnerable about feelings with some degree of safety.
- We can handle difficult situations as a team.
- We both are dedicated to spending quality time with each other.
- Trust builds through our growing capacity to be honest with one another.
Remember unhealthy patterns are necessary to learn and grow!
Sevin Philips MFT offers communication tools that will give you a new approach to sharing and listening in a relationship.
1. Check your assumptions
2. Be curious about experience
3. Ask before giving advice
4. Sharing formula: Describe behavior then feelings
5. Ask before you launch into sharing something important
Communication Skills in a Relationship – New Approach (video transcript)
Hello, my name is Sevin Philips, licensed marriage family therapist. I have some communication skills that are absolutely going to help your relationship. These are tried and true.
The first topic is that many of us get in trouble when we make assumptions about other people’s experience. We have strong feelings. And it’s okay to have strong feelings about what’s going on or some assumptions or intuition. You might even be right, but to make the assumption that you’re right will get you in more trouble than it’s worth.
Advice for Couples Who Are Stuck in Reactionary Fighting
Sevin Philips, MFT, offers tools to create emotional safety, the first step toward being able to have meaningful conversations that lead to true healing.
The ability to communicate difficult feelings is an art. Hard feelings lead people to blame others and to defend or explain their intentions, leaving the one hurt not feeling understood. Sevin Philips, MFT, walks you through communication skills to help you better understand and ultimately work out your issues.
Communication Tool: Listening Exercise
Communication Skills in a Relationship – Vulnerability (transcript)
Hello, this is Sevin Philips, licensed marriage and family therapist. I’m here to talk about another communication skill that will help you become vulnerable with your partner at the root level of healing, especially the big topics in our lives. We need to be able to talk about the hard subjects in a way that is really effective.
One thing that happens is at the root level of almost all fighting – even some of the mundane, small fights that we have – are often linked to deeper issues. Somehow our needs are not being met – whether it’s our need to be loved, our need to be respected, our need to feel connected. Something’s not happening. If we are able to identify it and talk about it with our partners, we’re not going to be able to work it out.
What people usually do is act it out. They act it out by being mean or ornery. Perhaps you shut down and you don’t do anything at all. We all learned a lot of skills when we were growing up that don’t always help us. But this skill today I’m going to teach you is really going to help you as a first step to be able to talk.
Advice for couples who are stuck in reactionary fighting. Sevin Philips, MFT offers skills to help create emotional safety, which is the first steps to being able to have meaningful conversations that lead to true healing.
Communication Tool: Time Outs
Communication Skills in a Relationship – Emotional Safety (video transcript)
Hello, my name is Sevin Philips. I’m a licensed marriage and family therapist and I’m here to talk about emotional safety in a relationship. Many relationships get stuck in fighting. It’s not uncommon.
But what happens for some is that no matter how hard they try to express themselves, it comes out in a fight. The smallest things can turn into bigger things. You can have this reactionary pattern where defensiveness, blaming, condescending, all these kind of characteristics come alive and you’re no longer having a conversation but you’re really fighting, and you’re hurting each other.
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