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How to become a good listener?

By: James E. DelGenio, Licensed Clinical Professional Counselor

Be a good listener and improve your relationships.

Poor Communication
Many marital problems are rooted in poor communication. Effective communication between partners can be learned and developed.

When communication is poor and feelings go unsaid or unaddressed, the couple feels disconnected, even resentful. Over time, this leaves them feeling distant. Resentment creates further distance which in turn creates a lack of civility and respect and ultimately, a lack of intimacy.

Good communication is often oversimplified as just being romantic. It is not. Good communication involves the sharing of ideas and feelings. Good communication is made possible by means of trust, confidence, and mutual understanding.

Try to convey to your spouse the importance of expressing their feelings, even though they may think it’s silly. Explain how important it is to you and how it makes you feel. Explain to them how never knowing how they feel about this or that, confuses you and makes it more difficult for you to feel connected.

I encourage both men and women to use “I feel” statements. This allows the couple to say things that have in the past created conflict when sentences are started with: “You always” or “You never”. Never say never or always. This is also known as a history lesson into the past and therefore a minor conflict is never resolved and may even be magnified.

Stick to the topic
If you want to resolve an issue, stick to the topic at hand. That means no skidding. For example, “You don’t pick up after yourself”; “well you leave the bathroom a mess”. This is skidding. An issue is unlikely to be resolved when this occurs.

Active listening:
In order to show you are listening you need to reflect back to your spouse the content of what you heard. In other words, mirror what was said with emphasis on the feeling being projected. This shows the other that you are listening and also helps clarify the issue. Respond with empathy and don’t be defensive. Active listening also helps prevent bickering over nonsense that really isn’t relevant to a couples disconnect. The most obvious example of that was over 40 years ago. The couple I was seeing had a major argument over where they squeeze the toothpaste tube. She squeezed it on the end; he squeezed it in the middle. Obviously, their disconnect was not about the tooth paste. Sometimes all one wants is to be heard. Men often make the mistake of trying to solve the problem when all the wife wants is for him to listen. In this case, the wife needs to say it clearly, “I just need you to listen; please don’t try to solve the problem.” This will take practice but it will be worth it because your spouse will feel more connected to you.

Zoom!

Now I can work via zoom with anyone, anywhere in the country and it may still be covered by BCBS Insurance. Check with your BCBS carrier for details. Call James E. DelGenio MS, LCPC, Senior Staff Therapist at The Family Institute at Northwestern University, 847-733-4300 Ext 638.

http://jamesdelgenio.com
http://family-institute.org
http://psychologytoday.com
http://takenotelessons.com    Effective online, one on one, SAT, ACT, GRE, test preparation, via face time or skype.

Disclaimer: This material is meant to be used in conjunction with psychiatric treatment, medication, if necessary, and supportive therapy. Always share this material and your questions about this material with your doctor and therapist.

What are relapse warning signs of depression?

By: James E. DelGenio MS, LCPC
The Family Institute at Northwestern University

Relapse Warning Signs of reoccurring Depression

Be aware of relapse warning signs and symptoms. When one is taking medication as prescribed by the doctor, symptoms are largely under control and the client is stable. The reappearance of certain symptoms is an indication that the medication may need to be adjusted, reevaluated or changed. These symptoms may also be an indication that the medication is no longer being taken as prescribed or alcohol and substance use is interfering with the effectiveness of the medication.

These symptoms include:
• Thoughts about hurting oneself or others
• Changes in one’s sleep/wake cycle, especially little or no sleep
• Inability to concentrate, rapid speech, skidding from subject to subject
• Rapid mood fluctuations, mania, or depression
• Poor judgment, risky behavior, or lack of insight into one’s own behavior

These symptoms are reflected by poor daily functioning, lack of motivation, loss of interest and conflict. These are considered to be active symptoms and usually are caused by non-compliance with medication and use of alcohol or drugs. In many instances, the medication may need to be changed or the dosage adjusted by the doctor. This may also reflect the need for family members to monitor medication compliance and alcohol/drug usage. Relapse warning signs should be reported to the doctor and therapist immediately. Don’t wait!

Zoom!

Now I can work via Zoom with anyone, anywhere in the Illinois and it may still be covered by BCBS Insurance. Check with your BCBS representative. Call James E. DelGenio MS, LCPC, Senior Staff Therapist at The Family Institute at Northwestern University, 847-733-4300 Ext 638.

http://manageyourmood.net
http://family-institute.org
http://psychologytoday.com
http://takenotelessons.com   Effective online, one on one, SAT, ACT, GRE, standardized test preparation, via face time or skype.

Disclaimer: This material is meant to be used in conjunction with psychiatric treatment, medication, if necessary, and supportive therapy. Always share this material and your questions about this material with your doctor and therapist.

The Family Institute at Northwestern University.

James E. DelGenio LCPC   Senior Staff Therapist                                              

TFI is a unique not-for-profit organization that is leading the way in all facets to strengthen and heal families from all walks of life through clinical service, education and research. No other institution brings together such a concentration of knowledge, expertise and academic credentials to help improve the lives of people in the Chicago area and around the globe.

The services include: Individual and family counseling, child and adolescent services, marital and premarital counseling, mental health counseling, psychological testing and more…

Locations: Evanston, Millennium Park (Chicago), Northbrook, Westchester and Naperville, IL

As a practicing Psychotherapist for over 40 years, I employ a variety of clinical approaches including Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) in the treatment of couples, families and individuals.

Individual Practice: Assessment and treatment of anxiety, stress, panic, trauma, anger, grief, depression, mood disorders, mental illness and alcohol/substance abuse.

Marriage and Family Practice: Lack of intimacy, infidelity, poor communication, conflict over finances, lack of trust, parenting and behavior issues, premarital and divorce issues.

Specialization: Treatment of couples, depression and its impact on relationships and the family.

Not in the Chicago Area! Now I can work via face time with anyone, anywhere in the country and it may still be covered by BCBS Insurance. Check with your BCBS representative for more information.

For those in the metropolitan Chicago area, I have offices in Millennium Park on Michigan Avenue, and near 22nd St and Wolf Road in Westchester. Call James E. DelGenio MS, LCPC, Senior Staff Therapist at The Family Institute at Northwestern University, 847-733-4300 Ext 638.

http://jamesdelgenio.com
http://family-institute.org
http://psychologytoday.com
http://takenotelessons.com   Highly effective on line one on one, SAT, ACT, GRE, standardized test preparation, via face time or skype.

Disclaimer: This material is meant to be used in conjunction with psychiatric treatment, medication, if necessary, and supportive therapy. Always share this material and your questions about this material with your doctor and therapist.