The most useful communication technique…it’s simpler than you think!

The Most Useful Communication Technique

Saxbe_Darby250X300This is another article from a professor at USC, Dr. Darby Saxbe. Now I posted another article by her a month ago that was a bit longer article called Learning to Communicate in a Relationship. She wrote both articles few years ago for O Magazine. This one that I’m now posting is a shorter read since I’m sure you’re tired with it being the end of the week.

I know that psychologists and therapy, in general, sometimes gets criticized for the way they describe things by asking you to say things in a way that no one actually communicates. But the way that things are described are just a template for you to make your own. So when Darby says to take a moment and repeat what your partner said back to him/her, you don’t have to say it verbatim, but the message is to simply make sure your significant other feels heard. It’s about validating the other’s experience and not getting so caught up in your message. Because if you try to keep pushing and try to get your point across and you push and push and push and then your partner does the same thing right back to you, then who are you to criticize them for not listening to you when you are doing the same thing back. Take a pause. Listen. Reflect. Someone has to take the higher road. Once you do that, you will find that validation coming back to you. 

Now here’s the article:

Communication isn’t about how much you say but whether each person grasps the other’s perspective. If your partner is a reluctant talker, you may be unwittingly fueling his reticence. When he states his case, do you launch a counterattack? Criticize his reasoning? Get upset? If so, he may keep quiet for a reason.

The Most Useful Communication Technique of All Time is deceptively simple, but it works like magic. Next time your partner makes a point, take a moment to digest whatever he is saying. Then say it back to him. Maybe not word for word, but you have to get the gist—and you can’t stop trying until your partner agrees you’ve nailed it. Switch roles and repeat. Once you’re not so busy explaining yourself to someone who just doesn’t get it, you can look for compromise.

Before I started grad school and officially drank the psychotherapy Kool-Aid, I used to mock this technique as a way to wrap gauze around discord: “I’m hearing that you’re a pathetic jerk.” “Well, I’m hearing that you’re a total loser.” But once I tried it, I realized that “I’m hearing…” isn’t just psychobabble. It telegraphs the message “I’m listening to you because what you have to tell me is important.” And that’s the single most important thing couples can say to each other.

Read more here

Rubin Khoddam, PhD Clinical Psychology student at University of Southern California, founder of Psych Connection.

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Categories: Articles, Relationships, Therapy

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2 replies


  1. How to Talk So People Will Listen & Listen So People Will Talk | Psych Connection
  2. Never be wrong in an argument again! « Psych Connection

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