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Here is a basic summary of the relationship skills development required for a successful relationship that Jeff takes a couple through. They may not be developed in this order, but all are required for a relationship to function optimally no matter what the current state of the relationship is. The path below will become much easier to understand and follow through on when your individual circumstances are worked with by Jeff.

  1. Understand how you function individually. Identify (i) your personality (attachment) style when relating, (ii) your childhood wounding that gets in the way of healthy communication, (iii) your (dis-) empowerment tendencies, (iv) your communication default setting, and (v) your needs and values. All conflict arises from these usually unseen factors, and everyone has them. Your style is never right or wrong, but at times may function so as to be unhelpful in a relationship. So long as this remains hidden to you, you will attract problems when relating.

  2. The interaction of these patterns described above creates a reactive cycle to set in. Most conflict will be repetitive, predictable, upsetting yet seemingly unalterable. Stalking, tracking and disabling this Cycle will begin from your first couples’ session.

  3. Learn how to recognise these traits in yourself, accept them and work with them. Whenever you react, or have your buttons pushed, it is one of the above that is being triggered. Learn the emotions that alert you to those aspects of self that are being triggered.

  4. Recognise that your style of relating may simply not work for your partner, or may even be experienced as hurtful, insensitive, callous, aloof, or upsetting in some way. Talk through what works for the other, and what works for you, and how you can be sensitive to each other’s ways and style.

  5. Come to appreciate the needs of the relationship itself (as opposed to those of each person within the relationship). This will tell you what you can, and perhaps must, bring to the relationship in order to make it work.

  6. Then learn strategies of communicating with your partner, whilst taking into account the unique emotional, reactive, thinking and reasoning traits you each have. Learn how to listen to what is going on within you, and express yourself, while continuing to make sense of what is going on for you. Allow and encourage your partner to do likewise.

  7. Practice bringing loving tolerance and patience when there are needs or values clashes when you talk.

    • Understand why it is that love and harmony can go so pear-shaped, and what must be done to regain lost love;

    • Understand how and why power-plays develop in relationships, and how a more equal balance of power can be achieved;

    • Learn of the behaviours that lead to divorce, why this is so, and how to avoid these pitfalls;

    • Leave with the relationship practice that will make sense and make a difference, and that research has shown will breathe new life into your relationship when implemented;

    • Learn of proven love-enhancing strategies that can bring a rocky relationship back to stability;

    • Get the benefit of current best research into how to create a successful relationship, and how to avoid common pitfalls.

    • Use a couples’ counsellor who uses Person Centered Counselling, specialist couples’ counselling training, and Cognitive Behavioural Therapy strategies so that all useful approaches are explored.

    • Use the counselling service, and the relationships’ counsellor, who has the track record to prove his worth. Use a couples’ therapist specialist who understands the perspective of both genders, after more than three decades professional experience, and almost two working on his own relationship.

Further Skills Learned in Session:

  1. Notice what you do when your needs, values or wounded aspects do not get acknowledged, heard or understood in the relationship. Notice how you project on to the other person when you are unaware of these within yourself. Conflict tends to arise when you fear not being heard, understood, valued, taken seriously or respected for who you are and what you want.

  2. Develop the skill to be able to listen to your partner, without owning, apologising for, or feeling bad about the way in which their buttons are pushed while interacting with you. Similarly, allow them the same space not to be drawn into whatever’s going on for you.

  3. Notice which of your traits do not seem to work very well in, or fail to support, this relationship. Just notice – no judgment. Decide how you could behave differently in support of the relationship without going to the extreme of compromising who you are. Ask yourself ‘what would love do in this situation.”

  4. Practice communicating regularly so that you gain insight and understanding as to how you function and communicate your needs, values, desires and so on to your partner.

  5. Establish also a protocol for defusing or pre-empting conflict, while providing opportunity to talk the issues through when emotions have calmed down, and rational discussion is again possible. Agree on how to take space when conflict arises, so that you can both come back and talk in a more emotionally settled way.

  6. Learn where, in your relationship, there are needs or values clashes. You will have to work out ways to agree not to agree on certain issues, yet still accept each other’s position.

A smart approach is to continue the journey of relationship improvement until you can say that you are living a conscious relationship in which you understand and put into action each of the above relationship tips and skills.

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