non-verbal communication

Creating Attunement in Intimate Relationships

To feel close in our most important relationships, it's vital that we feel that our partner is responsive, attuned to what is going on for us and to what we are trying to communicate. When this doesn't happen, we may experience a range of feelings - we may feel lonely, disconnected, misunderstood. We may also have a range of thoughts based on our beliefs about our partner's intentions - we may think that they don't care, are self-focussed, or are incapable of thinking about our experiences and needs.

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Why noticing nonverbal communication is vital for relationship health

We all know that the words we use are powerful in how they affect others. Even if we sometimes do this poorly, in the heat of the moment, often we at least have an awareness that it wasn't ideal (even if we feel justified in using hurtful words!). However, we often miss completely the powerful affect that our nonverbal communication has on those we love the most - for good and bad. Picture this - your partner gets home and tries to give you a kiss and a cuddle.

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Getting the 'music' right in our most important relationships

Most of us know the importance of positive communication in relationships. Strategies used include using "I" rather than "you" statements (saying what I feel and think rather than focussing on what is wrong with you), reflective listening (paraphrasing back to my partner what I have heard her/him say, to show that I have listened and taken it in), being interested and curious about what my partner is saying (and showing this through questions such as "can you tell me more about that?") and there are many more of these.

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Thinking about nonverbal communication in your relationship

It's great when we are able to talk things out with our partner - define the problem, generate possible solutions together, and have the trust to experiment in arriving at the right solution for you as a couple. This is an example of a 'top-down' process from a neuro-biological perspective; that is - the pre-frontal cortex (the verbal, analytic part of the brain) is online and able to do its work. The problem for so many of us is that when we're feeling distressed, especially in the context of our most important relationship, that part of the brain is off-line.

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Listening to the music of your relationship.

So much of what we communicate is beyond words - our tone of voice, the way we hold ourselves, our stance. We know what an intimate partner means and how that meaning can change with the tiniest change of inflexion at the end of a word, or the lift of an eyebrow, for example. Yet so often we don't target these things for attention, when thinking about how to communicate differently.

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Do you and your partner know each other's 'love language'?

The following is a summary of Dr Gary Chapman's best selling book "Love Languages" http://www.5lovelanguages.com/learn-the-languages/the-five-love-languages/

Working as a couples counsellor, Dr Chapman discovered that each person has a “love language,” a primary way of expressing and interpreting love. He also discovered that, for whatever reason, people are usually drawn to those who speak a different love language than their own.

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50 ways to listen to your lover...

Most of us know how important it is to listen - not just hear, but really listen - when our loved one is trying to tell us somethng important. If we have already learned some skills in active listening, we might know how to indicate that we are trying to get it (I think what you're saying is.... Are you telling me that......?), to deflect our internal attention away from our own mind-chatter, and to hold an attitude of openess and preparedness to 'not know' (in other words, suspend our assumptions that we already know what our partner thinks or feels about a given issue).

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More than words...'right-brain to right-brain' communication in intimate relationships

Remember when you were a little boy or girl - how important it was when you were upset that Mum or Dad comforted you. They may have responded to you with a hug or a kiss, reassured you that you would be OK, and maybe helped you to make sense of how you were feeling.

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When words fail: the importance of the 'non-verbals' in resolving conflict

It's great when we are able to talk things out with our partner - define the problem, generate possible solutions together, and have the trust to experiment in arriving at the right solution for you as a couple. This is an example of a 'top-down' process from a neuro-biological perspective; that is - the pre-frontal cortex (the verbal, analytic part of the brain) is online and able to do its work. The problem for so many of us is that when we're feeling distressed, especially in the context of our most important relationship, that part of the brain is off-line.

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