Supportive Comments and Learner Experiences
“More than anything, what using the compassionate communication model highlights for me, is that when I go back to my old patterns, I now see how destructive and hurtful they are…I can see the costs for myself and my partner. Now I sometimes take the opportunity to hear the feelings and needs behind what my partner is saying. Since I’ve had some success using the model with my partner, I feel encouragement to continue learning and practicing it.”, —Araya Hansen, Life Coach, Sun Dance Life Coaching
“The Compassionate Communication course offers specific ways to allow yourself to be honestly present with whatever might unfold within you in any given moment. This invitation helps me open my heart to looking deeper than the surface words of the judgments to the true compassionate wishes that reside within them.”— Janet L. Merrell, Ph.D. Psychology
“My work with Jerry has been like a balm to my soul. I have “been there / done that” in the realms of personal growth work and this work is the first work that really helped me open to the depth of myself with love and compassion. Now, when I approach edges in life that challenge me, I have a very clear and loving pathway to gather myself so that I can be fully present and available for my life in that moment! Jerry is a highly gifted teacher who truly models what he teaches. I would highly recommend his work to anyone seeking more compassion in their lives and in the world.”
—Quiana Grace Frost, Life Coach & Spiritual Counselor
“This course has made a huge difference in my life. I’m much more present with my feelings and needs – and I learned that this is the basis of a beautiful connection with myself and others.” —Gayatri Erlandson, Ph.D Psychology
Compassionate Communication Will Transform Your Life!
Imagine for a moment…
You and your partner being able to easily and quickly talk about your conflicts and issues. No more build-up of frustrations and resentments from not being heard, understood or having ongoing unresolved issues.
Things finally get resolved…Ahhhh.
Now imagine the relief you’ll feel the in knowing your communication with your partner is easy and you can talk about anything.
Here’s how you CAN make this a reality in your relationship!
With the above encouragement, I invite you to attend a new 8 Week Compassionate Communication Course in Asheville, NC, starting January 9th from 6:30-8:30, located at 150 E. Chestnut Street.
One of the most common comments I get from people around week four of the course is this: “I wish I had learned this years ago, my life would have been so much easier.”
This is the point where they have the profound realization about how to speak differently and they see that has less wear and tear on their soul. Sadly, many single people who take the course realized they could have saved a relationship/marriage that had ended.
8-Week Compassionate Course Structure and Cost
Group: A group will come together over an 8-week period once a week for two hours. In these group sessions, people will get first-hand experience learning and use the compassionate framework before they apply it in their daily life.
Workbook: Each participant will receive a workbook materials that include many experiential exercises to do outside the group work. This helps you apply the knowledge and skills to your life.
Registration: We are limiting the group size. It will be on first come, first serve basis. Don’t put it off, reserve your spot now. Fill out an online Register Form to take your relationship to the next level.
Poor Communication In Your Relationship is Not Yours or your Partner’s Fault!
I’m sure many of you have tried and tried to communicate differently on your own. Maybe you’ve gone to therapy, done lots of personal growth work or made countless concerted efforts to change how you relate to your partner with little or no results. I would guess you might have ended up blaming yourself or your partner. But please let me assure you…
No one is at fault!
Why? Because here’s the important thing that most people overlook: We can consciously want to change the way we communicate but our unconscious communication habits are emotionally based and have kind of an immunity to change. They win out most of the time over conscious intention. And this is NOT your fault nor your partner’s fault, it is just life.
I believe we all want to be heard, to have ease and loving connections in our relationships; the problem is, we all have learned a way of communicating that is entrenched in an ineffective framework; or we unconsciously respond in ways that block the flow of compassion, understanding, and empathy.
That’s why I designed a comprehensive Course to support people in transforming their communication on a deep level for lasting results.
The 8-Week Compassionate Communication Course lifts you out your ineffective communication grooves and gives you a new framework from which to communicate where you will experience peace, harmony, and a deeper connection in your relationship.
We give you the vital tools necessary for you to express honestly what is going on with you, and to connect with what is going on with you partner. We coach you to foster this mutual connection in such a way that many long-standing problems are effortlessly and calmly resolved.
Any change you try to make that does not include addressing unconscious communication habits I don’t believe will be lasting nor congruent. The unconscious habits will creep back into conversations or come out sideways.
Specifically, this course will help you…
- Cultivate more respectful, empowering connections with yourself: There is nothing more empowering than to be able to know exactly what your truth is in any given moment and being able to express that to your partner in a gentle non-blaming way so he/she can hear you.
- Transform judgment and criticism into understanding and connection: It is not enough to say to ourselves, “Stop judging!” You will learn a viable alternative way to express yourself that will replace the judgments and criticisms.
- Listen in a way so your partner is really heard: People who think they are good listeners are surprised by a new level of
listeningthey learn in the course. Even therapists often say, “They never taught me this in school.”
- Improved sense of emotional and physical intimacy: What’s the first thing that goes when resentments build? Yep, physical and emotional intimacy…the lifeblood of a relationship.
- Both get what you want more often without using demands, guilt or shame: Granted, guilt, demands and shame “works” to get someone to do something for us, but at what cost? Resentful compliance? Reluctant giving? Silent Defiance? You’ll learn to express exactly what you want in a cleaner way that will inspire the other to want to give to you.
- Move beyond power struggles to cooperation and trust: There is a tremendous amount of relief when you can get to the level of trusting each other to want to come up with solutions that you both feel good about.
- Improve your confidence in your own assertiveness Learn to use non-confrontational communication that is clear, non-blaming and expressed straight from the heart
After learning compassionate communication, couples report relief and resolutions with these issues.
- Money Issues (How much is made and spent; who spends it on what)
- Sexual Differences (frequency, ways to satisfy, decreases in sexual desire or drive, and fidelity)
- Communication (not enough, the way it is done)
- Time Spent Together(Amount and quality of time, who to spend it with)
- Intimacy Issues (Emotional intimacy, availability differences)
- Lack of Commitment (“follow through” with agreements)
- Children and Step Children Issues (how to raise)
- Unequal Need Fulfillment (One partner getting all their needs met at the expense of their partner)
- Jealousy and Control Issues (insecurities)
- Household Chores (who does what, fairness)
- Families and In-laws (conflicts, personalities, etc)
This Course is highly interactive and is directly applicable to relationship challenges encountered in daily life. This Course does not require a partner to attend to be effective! The Course is designed so you can apply it to your partner relationship or any other life situations or circumstances where communication is pivotal. Register here.
Relationship Case Studies
To give you a realistic sense of what the course can do for you, I’d like to share five brief stories of how couples overcame their frustrations and resentments using what they learned in the course.
Staying Within The Budget: One Form of Money Conflict
Even though Christine agreed to her partner Charlie’s budget, she spent money in a carefree manner and frequently exceeded the monthly budget. Charlie would get angry each time this happened and would yell at her about how childish she was and how her Dad must have really spoiled her. Christine would respond by saying “We have the money; we can’t take it with us; quit being so tight.” Charlie became discouraged because he wanted the predictability of a budget. They never could talk about this issue without both getting upset and their money communication never got resolved.
Charlie learned to express how it was for him when she exceeded the monthly budget: the aggravation of extra steps he would have to take to transfer funds around to cover the extra costs. He wanted appreciation and acknowledgment for keeping the finances in order.
He learned to express himself without judging her which created the conditions for Christine to really hear him for the first time. He connected with her need for more consideration in the decision-making process and realized that including Christine up front would get a stronger buy-in from her.
Christine also connected to what was happening for her when she did not honor Charlie’s budget. The first thing she connected with was how she called it “Charlie’s” budget instead of “their” budget.
From the start, she felt pressure to go along with Charlie’s way of doing things which clashed with her carefree approach to finances. Her mind turned the budget into a suggestion or loose guideline instead of an agreement. Once they both deeply understood each other, they worked out an arrangement that considered both of their approaches.
Making Unilateral Decisions Can Be Dangerous, Especially When They Involve Mother-In-Laws 🙂
Roger invited his out-of-town mother to come stay the weekend without consulting Julie. He didn’t consult her because he assumed it would be okay with her. She felt angry and hurt because she wanted to be included in major decisions like that. “What am—I chopped liver…I don’t matter to him?” she silently said to herself. She tried to express her upset and he responded with “What’s the matter; don’t you like my mother?” She swallowed her frustration and didn’t feel hopeful that he is going to hear her. Even though Julie got along with his mother, her presence was a constant reminder of Roger’s lack of consideration in the decision. Julie’s resentments simmered. His Mom stayed an extra week; her resentments boiled over and communication broke down.
Roger learned how to listen to Julie’s upset without taking it as an attack and defending himself by making Julie the issue. He learned not to assume and to check it with her about important events. He also learned how to express regrets when learning how his behavior impacted Julie.
Julie learned how to express herself in a way that Roger would less likely take as an attack. In order to do that she learned how to connect with herself first before expressing her pain.
The Never-Ending To Do List That Gets Ignored
Marsha handed Jake a long “to do” list and sternly implored him to get it done. He said, “Yeah, yeah, I got it.” as he silently interpreted doing the list as submitting to her will and his freedom was threatened. He asserted his freedom by delaying doing things on the list and strings her along with “I’ll get to it.” Every time Marsha sees an unfinished item on the “to do” list around the house, she gets angry, takes it as a sign he doesn’t care about her and feels hopeless that things will get done. The more she expresses her anger that he didn’t get things done, the more adamant he was about not submitting. Ongoing resentments build in both partners. An attack and defend cycle is the way they communicate about this issue with no resolution.
Marsha learned to invite Jake into the process and express herself in a way it would be less likely for him to hear it as a threat to his freedom.
Even if he did take it as a demand, she was prepared to listen to those concerns and at the same time not abandon what she was wanting.
Jake learned to connect with his discomfort with the list and become aware of his interpreting her asking as a threat to his freedom.
He also learned to listen to how she was really just wanting things to be efficient and nice around the house and she needed his support and was not trying to control him.
Time Spent Together
Mark scheduled time with his friends when Pam thought they were going to spend time together. She complained to him that “they never spend time together.” He logically responds by disproving her assertion of “never” and points out a recent time they spent together. She doesn’t get a sense that he hears her concerns and
Mark learned to listen to Pam’s concerns in a way that was validating for her. He reflected those concerns back so that she got a sense that he was hearing her. He discovered this worked better than trying to disprove her accusation.
He also came to realize that she wasn’t really trying to monopolize all his time, but was disappointed that they were not spending as much time as they used to.
Pam learned to express her disappointment in more effective ways other than her accusation. She came to understand that his enjoyment of spending time with his friends didn’t mean he did not want to spend time with her.
This empowered her to be heard and eventually worked out a resolution that worked for both of them.
Fairness in Whose Needs Are Met
Wendy went out of her way to make sure Fred’s needs got taken care of and were met. She was good at it too. Sometimes too good in the sense that she denied her own needs. Wendy secretly hoped Fred would offer her the same care and consideration she offered him. It never came. It would be too degrading for her to ask for this care and consideration she thought; he should give it to her freely. She viewed him as self-centered and felt the pain of not having mutual consideration. This was never talked about directly…it was too painful. Her resentment seeped out in little comments here and there about his being selfish. Fred became resentful about her comments and dismissed her as just being critical. An undertone of resentment and discouragement persisted without resolution.
Wendy learned that just because she had the ability to tune into other’s needs, that did not mean Fred possessed the same ability. Therefore, she learned to express what she wanted and learned to do so without making Fred wrong.
She also discovered a balanced way of giving by tending to Fred’s needs without a huge expense to herself.
Fred gained some understanding about Wendy’s critical comments of his being selfish. Knowing how difficult it was for Wendy to ask for what she wanted, he began looking out for ways to support her by checking in with her.
He became aware of her wanting balance and mutuality in the care and consideration of each other and made sure he listened carefully and thoroughly when she expressed what she wanted.
Perhaps you see yourself in these typical examples above or can relate to something similar. I certainly can. We all have conflicts like these in our relationships, that’s part of life; when not addressed with skillful communication, they can block the flow of intimacy and be a constant source of frustration and resentment.
Here’s The Shocking Research:
John Gottman, Researcher, and Psychologist Found How Couples Communicate About Conflict Determines Whether The Relationship Lasts
Specifically, if couples communicate and try to resolve conflict in these four ways below and don’t learn to do something differently, it is only a matter of time before something has to give.
- Criticizing the other’s character or personality: “You always…”You never…” Overgeneralized characterizations of some sort.
- Criticizing who the other is as a person: “You’re lazy…” You’re a slob, etc.” All manner of insults and name-calling. Sarcasm, mockery, sneering, rolling eyes, etc.
- Defensive responses to an attack (or perceived attacks): Making excuses, explaining, disagreeing, yes-butting, and rationalizing, etc.
- Stonewalling, disconnecting, shutting down emotionally: Withdrawing, silent treatment, monosyllabic mutterings, being aloof, keeping physical distance.
In all the years I’ve been coaching couples, it pains me to see couples communicate in these ways because I know the kind of damage these seemingly small things can do to even great relationships. I view it as a lost opportunity for couples to have the most engaging, peaceful, intimate, fun relationship possible. Kind of sad really as I think about this.
When bounded by our communication habits, it is really difficult to even know of a different way to speak.
I see part of my job is to lift couples out of their current habits to experience a new way of communicating so they can see for themselves that there is a more effective way. I hope they experience first hand that they don’t have to attack, defend, give the silent treatment, use name calling or analyzing their partner to get what they want in the relationship!
Here’s Another Shocker…
A recent survey of mental health professionals reveals communication problems are the most common factor that leads to divorce (65%), followed by couples’ inability to resolve conflict (45%).
I throw out this research and these statistics here not to strike fear in your heart, but more as a wake-up call to take seriously the importance of communication on the quality of your relationship. I can’t help but wave my flag about there being a more effective way to communicate and resolve conflicts that can foster intimacy and vulnerability instead of driving a wedge between people.
Small issues you experience now with ineffective ways to resolve them, can add up to huge disconnections in the future. You could either keep fighting the same fights over and over again or silently endure while running on the fumes of hope that something is going to change. That’s why learning these new skills now is so important.
Are you ready to take the communication in your relationship seriously and to the next level? Registration