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Couples – Listen up!

Communication is a major issue brought into couples therapy and focusing on the style of expressing and listening helps couples connect. In a Ted Talk, Julian Treasure, a sound engineer who advises businesses, stated that “we are losing our listening” in the crowded, noisy, distraction filled world in which we live. Claiming we only retain 25% of what we hear, he describes us as impatient and using personal broadcasting, sound bites and headlines in order to get attention. He defines this as a scary place. In therapy sessions with couples, evidence of this is loud and clear.

Couples in the pattern of blasting headlines to each other ironically are not being heard. If anything, a loud voice will trigger a defensive reaction either to interrupt, disagree or disappear.  As relationship expert Dr. John M. Gottman states, a “harsh start-up” in a negative, blaming and critical voice, will get you just the opposite of what you are after.”

Needing to be heard, respected and understood are important elements of maintaining connection and trust in relationships. That’s a logical request, but when we express our viewpoints in highly charged ways, the listener’s brain may be flooded by the need to protect itself and the message we’re sending gets drowned out by the noise our tone creates.

Couples Therapy NYC

In session, I deliberately restructure the couple’s pattern of interaction in order to address issues and make progress toward agreements. I have met with couples who after years of cycling through the same troubling problems in unproductive ways are losing hope of improving their connection.  After using an intentionally calm and focused delivery method and an open, patient and curious receiving position, couples quickly uncover aspects of themselves and each other that carefully reveal deeper feelings and lead to more attunement. That shift is key to negotiating change.

Should you have to silence your point of view in order to maintain a loving partnership? Absolutely not.  But in order to consciously listen and learn we must intentionally manage our interactions and tolerate taking turns.  In doing so, you will give and receive the sincere attention you and your partner desire.

My Psychotherapy Practice

My office is located in Midtown NYC, and I specialize in working with individuals, couples, and families navigating through relationship and trying to create healthy patterns of relating. Relationship struggles can often seem overwhelming and couples therapy is a necessity at times. I’m here to help you make sense of what is happening so you both can move forward.

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Joan Warren, LMFT

Joan Warren Therapy

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New York, NY 10016


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