From Criticism and Blame to What?

This is How Positive Change Happens… From Criticism and Blame to What? One of the biggest obstacles we can experience in communication is attempting to address issues or resolve concerns by coming at the other person with criticism/blame. That approach almost always triggers defensiveness (often in the form of a criticism too) and/or shutting down. It just doesn’t seem to work and we’re in a worst place to boot. When I work with people in individual counselling or couples counselling in my practice in Vancouver, we often do focused work on effectively dealing with this obstacle. The solution is not to back away from addressing our concerns but rather to change HOW we do it. That’s where excellent guidance from the work of the Gottmans as well Dr.Marshall Rosenberg come in. The relationship experts, Drs. John and Julie Gottman, have identified criticism as one of the top toxic behaviours we do and gladly, they offer us the antidote too: complain without blame. Useful but I often find people I work with don’t really know HOW to do that (which is completely understandable). That’s where I like to offer the tool of Rosenberg’s Nonviolent Communication (NVC). NVC is a very clear, four step process we can follow, like a map, to address our concerns in a way that the listener is way more likely to actually be able to respond to them. You can practice applying NVC today. Here’s an infographic and a link that show you what NVC is and how to use it:   http://www.nonviolentcommunication.com/aboutnvc/4partprocess.htm      ...

The Counselling Process: Tools for Acceptance

This is How Positive Change Happens… Tools for Acceptance One of my trainers shared this insight with me: “As therapists, we’re assisting people to befriend reality”. Sounds simple enough yet, it can be very challenging for all of us to identify, confront, and befriend the realities of our own lives and life in general sometimes. We have a tendency to try to run away from, minimize, or protest reality. We might get some temporary relief from those defense mechanisms, and on a deeper level, we also end up giving ourselves and others more suffering. One of the tools I find helpful for accepting reality comes from David Richo’s work, “The Five Things We Cannot Change”. Richo identifies and encourages us to accept these five qualities of life as a way to experience less suffering and more happiness. As he says, There are five unavoidable givens, five immutable facts that come to visit all of us many times over: 1. Everything changes and ends. 2. Things do not always go according to plan. 3. Life is not always fair. 4. Pain is part of life. 5. People are not loving and loyal all the time. Since I’ve been working with accepting these “immutable facts”, I’m less shocked and surprised when any of these five things happen in my life or life in general. I still feel my emotional reactions like sadness or anger. Less shock or surprise helps me to be able to process through the experience better because I get less stuck in “I can’t believe______________happened”. Instead, I go to “I can believe_______________happened”. That perception helps me to feel...