teenagers group hanging

Why Parent-Teen Communications Often Fall Short

As a parent, you want to be there for your teenager. You try to learn what’s happening in his or her life and try to help with problems or uncertainties he or she may be facing.

But despite your best efforts, most of the time you are rebuffed. Responses ranging from stony silence to outright hostility leave you wondering how you have failed so miserably in connecting with your own child.

The problem, however, may not be your fault but just the simple fact that parent-teen communications are inherently complicated.

One reason is simply that it’s not easy to be a teenager. There’s a variety of unsettling biological, psychological and emotional changes that are all part of a teen’s normal developmental process. Pile on top of that the pressures of school, extracurricular activities, maybe a part-time job, and then the anxiety of college or a career in the near future, and it becomes easier to understand why the open communication you enjoyed with your preteen has become much more challenging.

Teenagers may often feel that their parents just can’t understand all the changes and pressures they are facing. These feelings may be reinforced when parents react negatively to teens seeking to separate more from their parents and be more independent.

While we all want our children to grow up and be responsible adults, it can be confusing to deal with as our teens take their first tentative steps in that direction. This same process is also hard on the teen’s side. He or she is anxious about sharing feelings of insecurity or uncertainty, about admitting mistakes, since it will just make him or her look weak, immature and not ready for the freedoms so badly desired.

There is no quick fix for any of these communication issues, but it’s important not to give up on the effort. While many of your communication attempts will likely seem inadequate, every now and then you will break through and have a meaningful discussion. As importantly, your attempts to stay connected are active demonstrations of your love and concern.

Look for opportunities to let your teens know you’re trying to understand and sympathize with all they are facing. Offer positive feedback when it’s deserved and let them know your trust and respect is being earned. It takes work to open up communication, but it is worth the effort.


CounselingWorks offers family, couple and individual Christian counseling on an affordable sliding scale fee. 


This article is provided by the American Counseling Association. Visit the ACA website at www.counseling.org.

christiancounseling

The Benefits of Christian Counseling

Generally speaking, Christian counseling and secular counseling share the same desire to help people overcome their problems. Although Christian counselors at CounselingWorks often use some of the skills from secular psychology and counseling, they recognize that there are benefits for their clients in approaching counseling from a Christian perspective.  Those benefits are:

  1. Christian counseling recognizes a higher authority. While many counselors go to Freud, Jung and leaders in psychology to find authority, the counselors at CounselingWorks know that the inerrant word of God provides principles that can lead clients to enjoy the abundant life Jesus spoke of in scripture.
  2. Christian counseling accepts absolute truth. While some counselors encourage their clients to listen to the guidance of their hearts to have productive lives and do what they think is right, Christian counselors know the human heart can be deceitful. At CounselingWorks, clients are encouraged to listen to the guiding principles and truth of God’s Word.
  3. Christian counseling has a higher goal. While many counselors help their clients in a pursuit of happiness, the counselors at CounselingWorks want to help the client in their pursuit of God and a meaningful life.
  4. Christian counseling offers real healing.  Many times secular counselors are limited to administering “band aids” to deep emotional and spiritual wounds.  Christian counseling can bring the client into a closer relationship with God and His Son where real healing can take place.

          The licensed counselors on staff at CounselingWorks are professionals who counsel clients from a Christian worldview without preaching to or judging clients.  They are passionate about strengthening individuals, couples and families in their relationships with others and God.


Call 972-960-9981 in the Dallas area or 817-502-7789 in Fort Worth to schedule an appointment with a professional, Christian counselor.

mentalhealth

Seeking Mental Health Help Is Not Something To Be Ashamed Of

If you simply ignored a physical ailment, like a high fever or a broken bone, people would be dumbfounded if you don’t get the help of a medical professional.

Yet many people refuse to see a mental health issue as just as serious and normal a problem as any physical ailment. Instead, they create a stigma that characterizes someone seeking help for a mental health problem as weak, or unstable, or possibly dangerous.

While such reactions are becoming less common, they still exist and keep millions of Americans from seeking the readily available professional help that would make them healthier and happier.

Instead, many people avoid seeking mental health help out of fear of being “labeled” with a mental illness, feeling family and friends won’t understand, or that it could lead to discrimination at work or school.  They may see mental health problems as a sign of personal weakness, and mistakenly believe that they should be able to control whatever is wrong without outside help.

The reality is that people who seek needed help aren’t weak, but are instead showing real strength in trying to correct a very fixable problem.  Just as getting to a doctor for the right medicine to stop that high fever makes good sense, so does finding a professional counselor who can help someone overcome the problems he or she is facing.

And such problems are very common. It’s estimated that one in eight adolescents is suffering from depression.  Current statistics find that about 117 Americans take their own lives every day. Yet only a small percentage of people needing mental health help seek treatment.

Mental health issues are not a reason for shame, but rather simply a condition that requires treatment by a professional. Anxiety, depression, panic attacks, eating disorders, social phobias and similar problems are not signs of personal weakness nor reasons for shame. They are simply conditions that can, in most cases, be treated successfully and can result in a happier, healthier and more productive life.

If you or someone you know is suffering from a mental health issue, don’t give in to the stigma, but rather take action for better health. Talk to a friend or family members about what’s bothering you and look to a professional counselor for assistance.  Seeking mental health help is as logical and right as seeking out that trained doctor when you have that fever.


CounselingWorks offers family, couple and individual Christian counseling on an affordable sliding scale fee. 


This article is provided by the American Counseling Association. Visit the ACA website at www.counseling.org.

Finding Positive Ways To Handle The Loss Of A Job

While reports indicate the current economy is pretty good for most people, and that unemployment is at its lowest level in years, the good news doesn’t hold true for everybody. Every day, people across the country learn that they are being let go. And regardless the reason for being terminated, it is never a pleasant experience. The financial burden of losing a job is its most noticeable effect, but there can also be significant mental and emotional stress.

Experts say reactions to a termination are often similar to what we experience upon the death of a loved one or the end of a relationship — immediate reactions of shock and denial, and of finding it difficult to accept what has happened.

These reactions are often followed by anger. And while those who took away your job may be the direct, unfortunately the anger is usually taken out on those closest to you. You may find yourself tense and stressed, more easily upset and quicker to react harshly to family and friends.

Some people become preoccupied with trying to get that old job back, no matter how unrealistic or even undesirable that might be. A person may also experience sadness and depression along with questioning his or her worth and abilities.Understanding that these are all normal reactions can help someone get through them quicker, accept the job loss and start creating a new work life.

Start to help yourself through the trauma of job loss by not adding extra stress to your life. It’s not a time for major life changes, but rather to continue living normally. Eat healthy, exercise, get plenty of rest and keep socially involved, maintaining contact with friends and family.

It’s also a good time to evaluate and set future goals. Is now a time for more education, to look to a new career field or to sharpen up your job skills? Have you evaluated what will make you feel rewarded and fulfilled in a new job? Are you using your network of family, friends and other contacts to help in your job search? Rather than dwelling on the lost job, focus on what’s to come.

If you find job loss is overwhelming you, consider working with a professional counselor specializing in career guidance. He or she has the training, guidance and tools to help you to a more positive future.


CounselingWorks offers family, couple and individual Christian counseling on an affordable sliding scale fee. 


This article is provided by the American Counseling Association. Visit the ACA website at www.counseling.org.

Boy at school

Sometimes School Complaints Shouldn’t Be Ignored

Most children will occasionally complain about school. Every student has days when things don’t go quite right. But when complaints are frequent, and more than just “I don’t like school,” or “Math is too hard,” it may be time to listen more carefully.

There are a number of ways in which a child may be trying to express deeper problems and that he or she needs some help. Children find it hard to say “I’m confused,” or “I feel inadequate.” Preteens and teenagers especially may have trouble admitting that they’re struggling. Instead of saying, “I need help with my schoolwork,” they say, “I hate school” or “My teacher is out to get me.”

These comments, when frequent, and when combined with other behaviors, are often an indicator that serious school-related problems may exist.

Red Flag Behaviors

Such behaviors may be your child being reluctant to discuss school and suddenly exhibiting a lack of motivation or confidence. He or she may be angry and hostile in regard to homework and studying, or very defensive or afraid in regard to criticism. A child may start to be withdrawn, avoiding any school-related questions and perhaps act self-condemning by saying things like “I’m stupid” or “I just can’t do it.”

When these signs are combined with declining or failing grades, it’s a red flag that prompt action is needed. Ignoring the problem can affect a child’s total well-being as self-esteem declines and negative behaviors may begin to increase.

How to Help

A first step is to let your child know you understand and empathize with the difficulties being faced. Try talking about your own school struggles, offering academic assistance and complimenting cooperation and progress in order to rebuild confidence. If you find you can’t effectively assist with homework or studying, and many parents can’t, consider a qualified tutor to help overcome the academic problems.

You should also talk with your child’s school counselor. He or she will have seen similar situations and will have the training and experience to offer assistance on how best to help your child. They may even have alternative explanations, from the school’s perspective, on why your child is struggling.

School can and should be a positive and enjoyable experience for your student. Being alert for when a child is asking for help, even though indirectly, can bring not only better academic success, but a happier, better-balanced child.


CounselingWorks provides family Christian counseling on an affordable sliding fee scale. Contact us to schedule an appointment.


This article is provided by the American Counseling Association. Visit the ACA website at www.counseling.org.

Home

What is rehoming?

Rehoming is a term that you may have heard in the news. But what exactly is it? It’s not the same as adoption dissolution or adoption disruption.

Adoption dissolution

The legal termination of parental rights AFTER adoption finalization. Yes, there are cases in which adoptive parents have terminated their legal rights to adoptees. While we believe that the best scenario is for families is to stay together, every case is unique as is every family, and these parents have sought legal assistance to ensure the safety and best fit for their child.

Adoption disruption

The legal termination of placement BEFORE an adoption finalization. Every adoptee and adoptive family typically have six months prior to finalization. Disruption is when the adoption (and the child) are moved from their adoptive placement before the court finalization.

Rehoming

The underground, unregulated practice of transferring children from home to home without any oversight, vetting (such as background checks or home studies), or regulation. This is happening more and more within the adoption community, but it is also happening within the general population through pseudo/fictive kinship care. There are legal, moral, and ethical implications. This is not respite care, in fact, the parents have no intent of return and may be listed under the moniker of “respite care,” which under the legal foster definition is up to 2-4 weeks with the intent to return. If the placement ‘breaks down’, the child can be moved at a whim.

Essentially, these children are moved arbitrarily without any oversight, permanency, or consistent supports. Most of the time these children do not know the caregivers prior; the new caregivers are strangers or vague acquaintances. This is a violation of ICPC (Interstate Compact Placement Contracts) and can be considered trafficking by some, if there is a proof of exploitation or monetary exchange. There are significant concerns regarding their safety and well-being for the children moved and the children in the homes of those rehomed. This can open up an already vulnerable child to abuse, neglect, or exploitation. Many of the children rehomed are international adoptees and/or former foster children, particularly children of color.

Surprisingly, this practice is not considered illegal in Texas. The U.S. State Department has taken this seriously, and is working alongside others throughout the U.S. to push federal guidelines and legislation forward on this issue.

ChristianWorks is dedicated to helping prevent this practice as well as serve the children and families already impacted. ChristianWorks does not support, condone, or desire to be complicit in rehoming of any kind. We will walk with families who are brave enough to come to us for help regarding an adoptive placement in jeopardy or even considering disruption or dissolution, so we can sit down and give informed consent to prevent rehoming.


ChristianWorks provides post-adoption counseling services on an affordable sliding fee scale. For more information, visit our CounselingWorks web page or contact us to talk with a post-adoption specialist.

Happy little girl

Allowing Our Children To Be Children

It seems obvious that, “Children are not little adults.” But we often forget that simple truism in interacting with our children, resulting in unnecessary frustration for both us and them. The world appears very differently to children than it does to adults. Children do, in fact, exist in their “own little worlds.” They usually can’t react to life the way adults do simply because they haven’t yet had the life experiences we’ve had. The following examples of adult expectations illustrate how far apart we and our children often are in how we view the world.

“Don’t be so messy!”

A messy house might embarrass Mom, but not her kids. An adult with muddy slacks might constantly apologize for his appearance; your son with muddy jeans only wants to tell you how it happened stealing second base.

“Realize how busy I am and what pressure I’m under!”

Young people aren’t yet experiencing stress and time pressure. What they hear you saying is that they’re only allowed to have feelings or need help when it’s convenient for you, when the outside world isn’t more important.

“Be aware of how dangerous the world is!”

While we want our kids to be safe, instilling unreal fears or passing on our own anxieties doesn’t make that happen. We may be unintentionally making the world feel unsafe and scary.

“There’s so much to do and so little time!”

Young people don’t fill their days with 101 things to do. They usually don’t have the urgent commitments adults face. They gauge time by whether it’s light or dark, or when they have slept and woken up. Children like wearing watches because the watch is “cool,” not because they care what time it is.

There’s a real benefit in remembering that children are really just children, not smaller adults, and in letting them enjoy that childhood. We shouldn’t expect them to live up to our dreams, understand our problems, or want to spend “quality time” with adults rather than hanging out with friends.

As adults, we sometimes have to impose rules and actions that our children simply don’t understand or relate to (like cleaning up that room before it’s a health issue). But realizing why they don’t understand, even though they may be doing what is asked, can avoid needless fights and frustration for both parent and child.


CounselingWorks offers family, couple and individual Christian counseling on an affordable sliding scale fee. 


This article is provided by the American Counseling Association. Visit the ACA website at www.counseling.org.

people-1492052_1920

Guilt, Shame and Regret

Self-evaluation and reflection on our past are healthy because we can learn from our life experiences and mistakes.

It is healthy to ask:

  • Could I have done better?
  • Could I have made better choices?
  • Would things be better if I had only done things differently?

The results of reviewing and evaluating past decisions and behavior can bring us feelings of guilt, regret and shame for what we did or did not do. These feelings can be the result of bad choices and/or sinful behavior, but not always. Sometimes the feelings we experience are false guilt, false shame or unnecessary regrets. These “false” feelings can be the result of faulty thinking and the unreasonable expectations that we and other people place upon us.

Dwelling on past behavior and the resulting emotions of guilt, shame and regret keeps many people from living and enjoying abundant lives now.

Defining Guilt, Shame and Regret

Guilt is the emotion or belief that one has done something wrong. Guilt can be either real or imagined (false guilt). False guilt is the result of a perceived wrong that is not founded in reality.

Shame is the feeling or awareness of dishonor, disgrace, or condemnation. Genuine shame is associated with genuine dishonor, disgrace, or condemnation. False shame is associated with imagined dishonor, disgrace or condemnation by our expectations or the perceived expectations of others.

Regret is an intelligent and/or emotional dislike for personal past acts and behaviors. Regret is often felt when someone feels sadness, shame or guilt after committing an action or actions that the person later wishes that he/she had not done. Regret also describes a dislike for action not taken or avoided.

A Myth About Guilt

When you experience guilt, regret or shame, there is always some sin or offense against others that you have committed. This myth is often used by others to guilt or shame us into doing what they want. That’s commonly referred to as placing a “guilt trip” on a person.

How you deal with guilt, shame or regret depends upon:

  • The source or cause of the feeling (who/what is causing the guilt?)
  • The validity of the feeling (is the feeling based in truth or imagined?)

As Christians, all of us sin or commit offenses against others, and we can experience either Godly sorrow or worldly sorrow: “Godly sorrow brings repentance that leads to salvation and leaves no regret, but worldly sorrow brings death.”(2 Corinthians 7:10)

What is Worldly Sorrow?

We can simply regret what we have done, and then move on—many times doing the same wrongs against God and others. That’s worldly sorrow. In worldly sorrow, the focus is on self, regretting being caught and the consequences rather than feeling guilt and shame for committing a sin against God and others.

What is Godly Sorrow?

Godly sorrow is when we know that we have offended God, bring our confessions to Him and others and repent (turn completely away from the offending behavior). In Godly sorrow the focus is on the wrong we have committed against God and others.

Seeking Help

Whether your guilt, shame and regret are real or false, dwelling on past mistakes or omissions can rob your life of the abundant joy that could be yours, your family’s and your friends’. When worries about the past become overwhelming, it is time to seek help from others.

Written by Larry M. Barber, LPC-S, CT


If you would like to talk with a Christian counselor about the guilt, shame and regret in your life, call CounselingWorks at 972-960-9981 or fill out our contact form.

 

conflict-resolution

Understanding Conflict Management: Six Important Skills

There are discreet skills and attitudes, habits if you will, that can elevate your conflict practice to a new level. These six habits and attitudes can transform a good conflict resolver into a highly effective one – someone who facilitates productive, meaningful discussion between others that results in deeper self-awareness, mutual understanding and workable solutions.

We use the term ‘conflict resolver’ intentionally to reinforce the idea that we all can be instrumental in ending disputes, regardless of whether we are also mediators. These conflict management techniques are life skills that are useful in whatever setting you find yourself. With these skills, you can create environments that are respectful, collaborative and conducive to problem-solving. And, you’ll teach others to be proactive, by modeling successful conflict management behaviors.

  1. Undertand Everyone’s Needs
  2. It’s natural for anyone involved in a dispute to jump in to handle conflict. When someone visits you to discuss a personality conflict, you assess a situation, determine the next steps and proceed until the problem is solved. But is that helpful?

    When you take charge, the people in the conflict are relieved of their responsibility to find a solution. That leaves you to do the work around finding alternatives. And while you want to do what’s best for this person and everyone involved, it’s important to ask what everyone wants first – whether it’s to vent, brainstorm solutions or get some coaching.

    Understand what the person coming to you wants by asking questions:

    •  How can I be most helpful to you?
    •  What are you hoping I will do?
    • What do you see my role as in this matter?

  3. Engage in Collaborative Listening
  4. Collaborative Listening takes those active listening or reflective listening skills one step further. It recognizes that in listening each person has a job that supports the needs and wants of the other. The speaker’s job is to clearly express his or her thoughts, feelings and goals. The listener’s job is facilitating clarity and understanding and make each person in the conflict feel heard.

    So what’s the difference? The distinction is acknowledgement. Your role can be to help each person gain a deeper understanding of everyone’s interests and needs, to define concepts and words in a way that expresses their values (i.e. respect means something different to each one of us), and to make each person feel acknowledged — someone sees things from all points of view.

    Making an acknowledgement is tricky in group settings. Understandably, you want to help each person in the conflict but are mindful of the issues of the whole group. You can acknowledge each person’s needs even while safeguarding the needs of the group as a whole. Simply put, acknowledgement does not mean agreement. It means letting everyone know that you can see how they got to their viewpoint or opinion. It doesn’t mean taking sides with someone or abandoning your responsibilities to the group. Acknowledgement can be the bridge across misperceptions.

    Engage in Collaborative Listening by:

    • Helping each person explore and be clear about their interests and goals
    • Acknowledging their perspective by saying phrases like:
      • I can see how you might see it that way. That must be difficult for you.
      • I understand that you feel _______ about this.
    • Asking questions that probe for deeper understanding on both your parts:
      • When you said x, what did you mean by that?
      • If ______ happens, what’s significant about that for you? What am I missing in understanding this from your perspective?

  5. Be a Good Transmitter
  6. Messages transmitted from one person to the next are very powerful. Sometimes people have to hear it ‘from the horse’s mouth.’ Other times, you’ll have to be the transmitter of good thoughts and feelings.

    Pick up those ‘gems,’ those positive messages that flow when others feel safe and heard in mediation and present them to the other person. Your progress will improve. We’re all human. You know how easy it is to hold a grudge, or assign blame. Sharing gems appropriately can help each person begin to shift their perceptions of the situation, and more importantly, of each other.

    To deliver polished gems, try to:

    • Act soon after hearing the gem
    • Paraphrase accurately so the words aren’t distorted
    • Ask the listener if this is new information and if it changes their stance
    • Avoid expecting the people involved to visibly demonstrate a ‘shift in stance’ (it happens internally and on their timetable, not ours)

  7. Recognize Power
  8. Power is a dominant factor in mediation that raises many questions: What is it? Who has it? How to do you balance power? Assumptions about who is the ‘powerful one’ are easy to make and sometimes wrong. Skillful conflict resolvers recognize power dynamics in conflicts and are mindful about how to authentically manage them.

    You can recognize power by being aware that:

    • Power is fluid and exchangeable
    • People possess power over the content and their process (think of a person’s concerns as the water flowing into and being held by the container)
    • Resolvers possess power over the mediation process (their knowledge, wisdom, experience, and commitment form the container)
    • Your roles as a conflict resolver will have a significant impact on power dynamics

  9. Be Optimistic
  10. Agreeing to participate in conflict management or resolution is an act of courage and hope. By participating, people are conveying their belief in value of the relationship. They are also expressing their trust in you to be responsive to and supportive of their efforts. A person may first communicate their anger, frustration, suffering, righteousness, or regret, not their best hopes.

    You can inspire them to continue by being optimistic:

    • Be positive about your experiences with conflict management
    • Hold their best wishes and hopes for the future
    • Encourage them to work towards their hopes

  11. Be Resilient
  12. Remember the last time you were stuck in a conflict? You probably replayed the conversation in your mind over and over, thinking about different endings and scolding yourself. The others can get stuck, too. In fact, they can become so worn down and apathetic about their conflict, especially a long-standing dispute; they’d do anything to end it. Yes, even agree with each other prematurely. Don’t let them settle. Mediation is about each person getting his or her interest met.

    • Be prepared to move yourself and the others though productive and less productive cycles of the mediation
    • Help the others see their movement and progress
    • Be mindful and appreciative of the hard work you all are doing

By Larry Barber, LPC-S, CT


If you would like to talk to a Christian Counselor individually or as a family, contact CounselingWorks at 972-960-9981 or fill out our contact form.

man talking

Learning How to Talk … Again

Words have the power to offer others around us love and security or bitterness and anxiety. Wounded people have a difficult time with relationships and communication. If we are honest, most of us are wounded. It has been said, “Hurt people hurt people” and it is likely that we respond to others as we have been taught from either experience or how we have been parented.

It takes time, determination, and re-training to break the cycle of how we relate to others. Around the age of two we learned the language spoken in our home. We may not have realized that the words we learned as a child represented many unspoken family rules. As an adult we expect others to know those same family rules and can be shocked when our “rules” are challenged. This results in judgment and assumptions based on irrational thinking which in turn impacts our relationships.

Each of us has been raised in a family of origin with specific rules of communication that have been passed down through generations. They may include ideas such as:

  • children should be seen and not heard
  • children are to obey adults without question
  • anger is bad
  • certain topics are off limits
  • do not cry
  • do not show emotion
  • don’t ask questions
  • don’t bother people

This transgenerational set of rules and styles of communication was likely passed to you by parents who were good people and trying their best. They did not realize they were also passing along their own unresolved conflicts. It is important to understand this as a starting place in therapy.

We can look at our past for insight and make choices to heal and break the transgenerational patterns of communication that have been unhealthy. We can also look at the good things that were communicated to us and see the kind, loving interactions which have sustained us and those we wish to keep promoting.

Why is so much of our past and childhood mentioned in a discussion on communication? Our core identity or personality is formed during childhood. Although we take on a false self in order to cope with our situations, our spoken words come out of our true self. If we are wounded, we will ultimately wound others. If we cannot see the worthiness in ourselves, we cannot communicate worthiness to others. If we cannot see beauty, we will reflect what we do see. We become the object of our focus. Through a process of discovery, we can experience the healing power of God’s love and learn to love others. Our words can become words of healing and we can be encouragers. Even if we have been shamed in the past, we can become a shame lifter for others.

Styles of communication can be analyzed through theories such as transactional analysis. In this model there are three ego states: parent, adult, and child. A healthy growing person is a mixture of all three with the adult ego state in the driver’s seat. Certain life circumstances may attempt to activate a response from the child or parent ego state. This response will almost certainly be a hurtful exchange. Once the individual understands why and how they are communicating, they are able to make changes without explicit directives at their own pace and impact their circle of family and friends.

Perhaps the best positive change we can implement immediately is to begin using “I statements” to improve communications. An I statement typically consists of few words: “I feel ______when you ______.” By starting with the word “I” rather than “You,” the possibility of a defensive response is diminished. “I feel ignored when you read right up till bedtime.”

This is a direct communication that is not as threatening as, “You always read the whole night!” The latter statement communicated anger and judgment. An expected response would be, “I do not!” The person who felt ignored could take the next step to say what they would like. “I would like it if you _______.” They might insert: play a game with me, take a walk with me, talk to me for awhile, read a chapter aloud to me.

An angry confrontation can be avoided by this type of direct communication. This does take practice and understanding yourself enough to know what you are feeling and what you want. Interestingly enough, many people start a conversation without understanding what they are actually feeling and what they want from their exchange.

Mind reading and making assumptions are culprits of many hurtful exchanges. Unkind words often come from not taking time to know the reality of the other person. Asking questions can avoid many conflictive conversations. Questions that are open ended are best and show we are really interested in their answer…if of course, we really listen.

Listening is another communication skill that takes practice. Sometimes listening is enough. The problem may not need to be fixed and the person may already know the solution, but they just need to verbally process the critical event. A simple, “OK, I see,” or “Is there anything I can do for you?” might be the best response. Listening might be the most important part of communication and the part we are most likely to mess up!

Learning how to talk in a new way is life changing. It may feel uncomfortable at first but it will get easier. Sometimes we have to make ourselves uncomfortable and do things that feel strangely different to make important discoveries. We need to think about what we really want to communicate instead of parroting phrases we have heard from others. At that point we will be revealing our true self and will be opening ourselves to intimacy on a level we have not experienced before.

Written by Rita Peterson


If you would like to meet with a Christian counselor to discuss how improved communications could help you enjoy the abundant life and relationships the Lord wants you to have, please call 972-960-9981 to make an appointment at CounselingWorks or fill out our contact form and one of our counseling coordinators will be in touch with you shortly.