BY: Solace Counselling Services
Here are my top 7 Communication barriers that I find contribute to the breakdown of many relationships.
Take a look and see if you are guilty of including these in your relationship.
If the answer is YES, then you have some work to do…
Assuming you know what the other person is thinking and feeling
AVOIDING CONFLICT –
Avoiding conflict walking away from resolution.
FORGETTING TO LISTEN
Mentally rehearsing what you are going to say instead of listening
BEING DEFENSIVE –
Denying responsibility or taking accountability of your own actions or decisions.
Blowing the issue out of proportion, over exaggerating the details.
The way you see things is always right.
PLAYING THE BLAME GAME
Criticizing and blaming the other person for the situation- includes name calling.
5 WORKPLACE COMMUNICATION TIPS
By: Solace Counselling Services
Effective Communication in the workplace is vital to employee health & well-being, overall happiness and workplace productivity! These attribute to our WORK – LIFE – BALANCE theory.
Here are my top 5 Workplace Communication Tips that will support you in enhancing relationships and support productivity.
1. Open Communication
Research has shown open communication builds trust among colleagues. It encourages an open environment where people feel comfortable to express their opinions and concern. Communicating effectively can reduce stress and increase productivity and lift morale. Effective communicators get to the point and make their message clear.
2. Keep a positive attitude
Being conscious of your internal chatter will impact your attitude through-out your day. Having a positive mindset will translate through your body language.
The belief is 55% of communication is through body language, 33% is through your tone and 7% is actual words spoken.
3. Be open to receiving feedback
Receiving feedback can be tricky, particularly if the person delivering the feedback is not communicating it to you effectively. Our mindset can sabotage our ability to receive feedback if you are struggling with low self-confidence or self-esteem this will also impact your ability to process what the underlining feedback content is.
4. Observe and listen.
Active listening can be one of the most difficult communication techniques, however, once mastered it can be one of the most rewarding.
Here are a few active listening tips:
Avoid distractions when listening
Make eye contact
Hear to listen – Be objective and focus on hearing what the talker is saying
Paraphrase what you have heard
5. Conflict Management
Unfortunately, conflict in the workplace is anything but rare, some colleagues are driven through conflict while others duck and weave to avoid it. Conflict slows productivity, increases stress and fuels dissatisfaction.
If conflict arises, be aware not everyone has effective communication skills. Often emotion takes over and the delivery could include strong tone, raised voice or sarcasm. It is important you remain calm and be proactive in your response not reactive!
Be open and non-judgemental, Identify the core issue of the conflict. You can do this through the above tips of active listening, being non-judgemental, paraphrasing back what you have heard and offering what you can do that will support them.
Remember, Respect for all colleagues in all work environments is essential, regardless of the circumstances, you deserve to be respected.
If you are experiencing conflict in your workplace, I offer training in conflict management and mediation/dispute resolution services.
5 Secrets to a successful relationship
BY: Solace Counselling Services
What type of habits have you and your partner adopted in your romantic relationship?
Are these habits positive and support a happy and healthy relationship or are your habits dysfunctional and destructive causing you grief and sadness in your relationship? As you probably know by now, all relationships take work and both parties need to become aware of their contribution towards an unhappy relationship.
So, with that said, here are my top 5 secrets to a successful relationship.
Communication is one of the biggest keys to a successful relationship. Unfortunately, during a conflict, this seems to be the first thing to leave.
Focus on being open and honest about your feelings, take responsibility for your decisions and choices and avoid blaming the other person for your decisions. Active listening is a key trait in a successful relationship. Without judgement, listen to what your partner is trying to communicate to you, paraphrase what you have heard and try to avoid using tone!
2/ Quality time. This is something that often gets lost in many relationships today.
Prioritising time with the person you love and care for is essential in any relationship. Spending time together can strengthen your bond because you are fully focused on each other. You don’t need to spend every minute of the day together, just pencil in a few moments daily, to check in and do something you both like to do. This is a perfect way to recharge your relationship batteries.
3/Show appreciation for your partner
With our busy scheduling these days we all tend to be on automatic pilot. Noticing and acknowledging the little things your partner does, instead of focusing on the things they don’t do, can support your connection and improve your relationship.
4/ Support – Be there for your partner.
It’s important you have your partner’s back! Both partners need to feel secure in the relationship knowing that they have the full support of the other, regardless of the circumstances. You don’t necessarily have to agree, you just need to demonstrate empathy and support of your partner’s feelings.
‘However, if there is abuse in your relationship please seek professional support’.
Healthy relationships require mutual trust between both partners. Knowing your partner is always open an honest with you instils a solid foundation in your relationship. If trust has been broken in a relationship, it can be a long journey back to stability and happiness. For the person who has broken trust in the relationship, they need to be transparent in all communications and willing to support change to rebuild trust. For the recipient, if you have made the decisions to stay in your relationship, you need to be open to your feelings and receptive to forgiveness.
‘If you are struggling to overcome your trust concerns, professional support can guide you both towards reconciliation and regaining the trust’.
10 signs you are in a healthy relationship
By: Solace Counselling Services:
I have created this list for you to instil awareness to the fundamentals of a healthy relationship. If you feel your relationship does not have these points, its important you address your concerns with your partner and/or seek professional support.
1/ Your relationship is a safe place
What I mean by this is; you feel comfortable in your relationship, sure you may argue, most couples do after all, we are ALL uniquely different!
However, to feel you can be yourself in your relationship without prejudice, is an important factor in a healthy relationship. Knowing your partner is there for you, having your back through thick and thin creates a safe space for you.
2/ You trust each other and show respect to one another
Your healthy relationship is built on trust and commitment to one another.
Open communication without reservations or secrets is imperative to building a strong bond between the two of you. If you are concerned about trust in your relationship you can head to this website; https://greatergood.berkeley.edu/quizzes/take_quiz/relationship_trust and take the quiz for more awareness.
3/ You have empathy and kindness in your relationship
You treat your partner with kindness and you demonstrate empathy towards one another. Together you Identify your future goals and work together in achieving them.
4/ You make joint decisions
You share the majority of decisions in your relationship. You don’t expect your partner to carry the responsibility in managing these decisions.
This joint decision can range from financial, childcare, even deciding on a restaurant together. You support each other and work together.
5/ You have the space to speak your mind
You feel comfortable in expressing openly your thoughts and feelings without fear of retribution.
Successful relationships are built on a foundation of openness and honesty.
6/ You can have your own space
You both take time to pursue your own interests, supporting your personal growth and development.
It’s important to remember not to sacrifice quality time with your partner and family, or resentment will creep into your relationship
7/ You agree and support one another on your roles in your relationship such as work, household duties, children
You have collaborated and agreed upon your roles regarding the external responsibilities in your relationship. Such as; how you support one another in raising your children, how you divide up the household responsibilities, planning holidays or socialising, work commitments,
8/ You display emotional and physical intimacy in your relationship
You feel connected with your partner, intimacy involves both emotional and physical closeness and openness in your relationship. Intimacy can improve our mental health and physical well-being. Research has shown intimacy in your relationship can reduce your stress, & blood pressure levels and can boost your immune system.
9/ You have effective communication in your relationship
Effective communication shows value and respect in your relationship. You feel comfortable to approach your partner to discuss any topic, knowing you will be heard.
Active listening plays an important part in a healthy relationship along with empathy and understanding towards each other’s thought’s feelings and opinions.
10/ You have healthy arguments
Disagreements are normal in any relationship. You fight fairly and productively.
Name calling and put downs is a no-go zone and reliving past disputes are all unhealthy in a healthy relationship.
‘Well.., there you have it, my 10 Signs you are in a Healthy Relationship.‘
‘I hope this has supported you in identifying areas in your relationship that may need work or perhaps this list has reinforced to you that your relationship is in fact healthy!’
Relationship Needs Assessment.
By: Solace Counselling Services
Do I smile more or cry more in my relationship?
All relationships have arguments or disagreements from time to time, that’s because we are all uniquely different. But are you constantly disagreeing? When you argue do you increasingly raise your voice, fighting your cause by using past issues and including content that is deliberately designed to hurt your partner?
Are you finding you are turning into a person that not even you recognise anymore?
Do I give myself freely to my relationship?
How much effort are you putting into your relationship? Do you feel exhausted, worn out and have made the conscious decision to stop trying? Has your partner decided to stop trying as well? Giving up and closing down encourages more discontent, through lack of communication, lack of emotional and physical intimacy preventing both parties experiencing happiness.
Do I feel safe in my relationship?
You deserve to feel safe and secure in any relationship. This consist of your partner being able to demonstrate respect, through being honest, trustworthy and mindful of your emotions and feelings. You want to feel safe and secure in the knowledge that your partner will stand by your side when life gets tricky, no matter what! Feeling safe is not limited to just feeling physically safe. It is important in all relationships to feel emotionally safe too. Do you believe your partner has your back? Does your partner support you in all areas of your life, including your job, raising the children, conflict with friends or family members or general hobbies and likes?
In any relationship, you are worthy to feel safe both physically and emotionally.
Am I sabotaging my relationship through low self-esteem and confidence?
In the years I have been a relationship counsellor, I have identified that for many couple’s low confidence and self-esteem has impacted their ability to maintain healthy relationships. Having low confidence can distort your perception of yourself and increase higher expectation of your partner, Low self-esteem or confidence can result in negative self-chatter, catastrophising scenarios in your mind, resulting in more damaging thinking processes and ultimately encouraging destructive behaviour that impacts your relationship.
Does this sound familiar to you or your partner?
Are my needs being met?
We all have needs and wants in our relationship. Everyone deserves to be with a partner who is willing to explore and listen to what you need and to work with you to have them met. However, if you do not communicate what you need, how is your partner supposed to know what you want? One of the main issues I have noticed when a relationship breaks down, is communication breakdown, communication ceases to exist and the first thing that is not discussed is generally each other’s needs. Of course, this goes both ways, expecting your partner to do all the work for you to meet your needs and receive nothing in return is unfair.
However, if you feel that you are the one putting in the hard yards and getting nothing in return, then I say its probably time to seek support and re-evaluate your relationship.
It is important for you to understand no one is going to be able to meet all your needs. Unfortunately for many of us, we sometimes expect its our partner’s responsibility to make us happy, when often we don’t know how to do this for ourselves! If you learn a different way in approaching your needs by taking the burden off the other person and equally distributing more evenly between you both, you will find your expectations of the other person will not be so high, thus resulting in less stress and tension between the two of you.
This mindset will benefit all of your relationships, including work colleagues and friendships.
The Five Stages of a Relationship
By Solace Counselling Services
What stage are you at? Research has identified that the lifespan of many relationships can be divided into different stages. Of course, there is no such thing as an average or normal relationship. We are all uniquely different and our relationships are also uniquely different.
What’s important to remember is if your relationship is struggling, please seek professional support to get you back on track.
Below I have identified five of the most common stages a relationship may experience.
The Foundation Stage. (“HONEYMOON PHASE”)
This initial stage is very strong and powerful to our emotional state of mind. It’s when we begin to fall in love and cannot think of much else. During this phase we spend a great deal of time together, and may focus more on our partner, and less on our friends and family. We tend to engage in many activities together, and sexual desire is very high.
Throughout this phase, we tend to be on our best behaviour and show our partner our good qualities. Any differences or negativity in our partner is often overlooked and instead, we focus on the positives our partner has to offer, and any similarities we both may have. This stage may last for many months and years and is the foundation stage where we are strengthening our relationship for the long haul. Research has shown the longer a couple are in this phase, the more successful their relationship may be.
For some couple’s, circumstances such a pregnancy may interrupt this foundation stage early, and conflict can develop and change the foundation landscape. This is where relationship counselling can certainly support and re-establish connection.
Cohabit Stage – Living together/Marriage.
After a couple of years together, we will observe our relationship has changed from the foundation stage. The lust and sole focus on each other has decreased, and we are probably spending more time with outside influences, such as family and friends. We are now beginning to identify the differences, such as our values, beliefs, and the different ways we both do things – like money management.
We may start to challenge our partner, which can evolve into conflict. This is inevitable in all relationships. We are all uniquely different and it is important to learn how to express ourselves clearly, and with respect and empathy toward each other’s own values and beliefs.
During challenging times, some individuals reflect back on stage one, and compare and judge their current situation with the euphoria initially experienced in the relationship. Its important to keep in mind love is a behaviour, and in demonstrating love, we need to include empathy and understanding of our partner’s needs in order to achieve a successful relationship together.
Relationship with children.
For many couples, parenting can place one of the greatest strains on any relationship. Our relationship patterns begin to change. The level of responsibility increases, therefore fuelling stress levels in both partners. Couples tend to do less together and focus their time and energy on their children and their children’s needs.
For some couples, differences in child rearing can fuel dissatisfaction and may result in conflict, putting a wedge in the relationship. During this stage, it is quite common for couples to become emotionally distant and feel undervalued in the relationship.
For couples without children, it is important to maintain their own identity however, working on a project or an activity together will support & strengthen communication ties. It’s important to remember, without new energy coming into the relationship, it may become stagnant.
All couples need to take the time to reconnect and listen to their partner’s concerns and needs, spend quality time together away from children, and begin to explore the changing roles of each other.
The Stabilising Stage
By now, our children are becoming older and less dependent on us. Their needs have decreased, and although they may still be at home, we, as individuals, are starting to discover we have more time for ourselves and new interests.
During this stage it is not uncommon for couples to become more like companions and engage automatically. Conflict may occur, as both partners partake in more individual activities. Some couples may have been emotionally distant for some time, and are now questioning common factors in the relationship.
It is important to explore the changing roles and expectations of each other as we evolve into the fifth stage, and to take time to connect by spending quality time together, and discovering new patterns and behaviours in our relationship.
The Later Stage
Okay… so, it’s just the two of you again!
Congratulations. You made it!
For couples, this stage incorporates many changes and these include:
*Seeing the children leave home.
*Taking care of elderly parents.
*Developing plans for retirement.
*Sexually active as a couple again.
This feels like a new start for many couples. Some will spend more time together in retirement while others will explore individual activities. It is important to support each other during this time, and use our problem-solving skills we have developed over the years, to address any new challenges we will face together.
Use the strategies that have worked for you in the past, be aware of the ones that haven’t, and, of course, continue to communicate openly.
Well, there you have it. The five stages of a relationship. While not all couples will encounter every stage as documented, many couples may experience difficulties and challenges as their relationship evolves. It’s important to remember that communication of our feelings is powerful in any relationship.
As a counsellor, I tend to see clients whose relationships have reached crisis point. Don’t let this happen to you. As soon as you feel there are cracks please seek some professional support, it will be well worth the effort, and if you are struggling to get back on track, I have some strategies that can help.
If you need professional support don’t hesitate, book an appointment with me today. P: 0422 311 089