STEVON LEWIS
Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist
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Relationships Deciphered

The purpose of this blog is to bring some clarity to the enigmatic nature of relationships through the in-depth examination of common relational impasses with the goal of increasing insight into our behavior and thought processes*.

In addition, this blog will discuss relevant topics in the field of psychotherapy in an attempt to educate and reduce stigma around mental health and psychotherapy in general.

*This blog is NOT focused solely on romantic relationships.

The Power of Words

 "Communication is a continuous stream in which everything is simultaneously a reaction and an instigation, an instigation and a reaction." - Deborah Tannen

"Communication is a continuous stream in which everything is simultaneously a reaction and an instigation, an instigation and a reaction." - Deborah Tannen

It's not what you say, but how you say it! In reality, it's not what you say or how you say it, but how it's interpreted. Communication is a grey area for most people. As a therapist it can also be a bit difficult to navigate, even with all of the training we have; we're human too. The reason most people have a tough time with communication is that we often make faulty assumptions about our own behavior, and the behavior of others, when communicating. A common fallacy that is frequently adopted is that we tend to judge our own intentions and character as good and will usually doubt the same of others. That is, we are certain our message was noble and that if someone is hurt by it, it was truly a misunderstanding. Whereas, when we are hurt by the words of another person, we deem them to have meant to do us harm with their words, when in fact maybe it was truly a misunderstanding. We don't afford others the same benefit of the doubt that we give ourselves.

In actuality, our words don't come with instructions. Therefore, we need to be mindful that they may not always be interpreted or received in the way in which they were intended. This is true for our interactions with others. Instead of jumping to a negative conclusion when we are negatively impacted by the words of another person, we should check in with them to see if our interpretation, is in fact correct. When I'm counseling couples I use a talking stick to teach couples how to check in, in a healthy way. Making sure to remind ourselves that what we think about their words, impacts how we feel about their words, and in turn influences how we respond to their words.

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