SK Doctoroff Counseling and Therapy in Southfield Michigan

Archive for October, 2015


Communicating Words and Phrases

The interesting thing about being a therapist is that even though it seems that each of my clients are vastly different, on a regular basis I find themes that tie their differences together. It is these consistent themes that make me think about how to assist in helping them come to conclusions that can positively impact their lives. 

In recent months, the theme that seems most prevalent is that of relationships. The most common issue with these relationships is the positive art of communicating.  While they are not bringing in their spouse for couples counseling; while they really want to work on themselves; while they believe that their spouse knows what they are thinking, they are hearing themselves, realizing that communication is not what they thought it was.

Communicating with a significant other can be tricky even during the best of times. When we enter into the murky waters of conversation, many try and determine how their significant other will respond before the interactions takes place. Others deliver information differently than they want because of fear, insecurity or perceived reaction of the one with whom we are speaking. Lastly, there is the ideal that our significant other should be able to read our mind and know how we are feeling or thinking.  “Should” these people be reading minds?

According to Jeffrey Bernstein, Ph.D. (Psychology Today, October 5, 2015), the word “should” is toxic in a relationship. Dr. Bernstein discusses toxic thoughts and how they can hurt relationships. He suggests that instead of talking and thinking in “shoulds” couples ought to try “would likes” so that the toxic communication and thoughts are minimized.

Relationships can be difficult. One thing that can be helpful in a relationship is communicating how one interprets a word. I see common every day words and phrases being interpreted differently. For example, what is “spending time together”; “needing help”; “talking”; “listening”; and, “wanting support”, to name a few, mean to each person in the relationship?

According to one of the definitions of communication is:

“the act or process of using words, sounds, signs, or behaviors to express or exchange information or to express your ideas, thoughts, feelings, etc., to someone else”

What would it be like to sit down and discuss words and phrases with your significant other so that the guessing game is taken out and the true meaning of communication is added back in?  Think of how productive communication could be if this was the model in any of your relationships.

If you would like assistance regarding communication issues please contact me. We can set up an individual and/or partner counseling session. Let’s start communicating.