Thursday, November 12, 2009

The art of dialog : A communication tool for improving your relationships

Last night I attended a presentation by Dr. Stephen Treat that was organized by the Mount Airy learning tree. Based on his extensive therapy experience, Dr. Stephen Treat presented and discussed a model for improving relationships with loved ones through better communication.

We are all co-creators (or active participants/players) when it comes to family dynamics and interpersonal relationships and we all have choices. We can choose to get upset, angry, shut-down or be passive aggressive when our buttons are pushed. In fact that is usually our instinctual reaction. Dr. Stephen Treat offered a better strategy which is to actively participate in a dialog by returning a question about the content presented and the way it is presented (context). For example when someone says: "This is ridiculous", you have the choice to become angry, shut down, OR you could ask: "What's ridiculous about it?". The latter choice will start a dialog that usually leads to a deeper understanding of what's really going on. I compare it to a dance, rather than blocking or repressing negative energy you find a flow through which the dialog is opened and continued.

Discussion Question:
Are there situations in your relationships where opening a dialog is useful?

Did you know?:
Did you know that the Council for Relationships conducted 50,000 therapy hours last year of which 8,000 where billed at $10 or less (based on individual circumstances).
Did you know that the Mount Airy Learning tree has already raised $40,000 for the purchase of the MALT office building?

Useful Links:

Stephen Treat Quotes:
"The relationship you have with the opposite sex parent is a big determinate on the relationship you will have with your spouse."
"The relationship you have with the same sex parent is a big determinate on the relationship you will have with yourself."

1 comment:

  1. Interesting post. Opening a dialog is a brilliant idea but can be challenging. I think it can be difficult to let go of the ego and embrace the other's point of view.