Your Guide To Doctors, Health Information, and Better Health!
Your Health Magazine Logo
The following article was published in Your Health Magazine. Our mission is to empower people to live healthier.
Lynn L. West, PhDc, BCETS, LCPC
Communication Doing What Works
Lynn L. West & Associates, LLC

Communication Doing What Works

Say what you mean; mean what you say; follow through 100% of the time; have clear expectations and reasonable consequences to help shape behavior.
Anyone who has watched “The Dog Whisperer” knows that Cesar Milan is the “go to” guy for people who are having trouble communicating with their dog.Cesar teaches humans what they are doing that is causing the problem.Then he shows the humans exactly what they have to do to correct their behavior with the dog so that the dog will be able to understand what the human is trying to express.Its a very simple cause and effect relationship.If you do this the dog will do that.If you do not want “that behavior” then you have to do this.
But what about people who are having trouble with their human interpersonal communications with adults or their children?Often they go to a counselor or seek psychotherapy to resolve their issues. Therapists are trained to do with humans what Cesar Milan does with dogs.The therapist can tell their patients what it is the individuals are doing that is causing the problems in expressing themselves in such a way that both can understand and grasp the meaning of what is being communicated in words or behavior.
Thus, to have understanding requires comprehension.Comprehension is a mental grasp having or showing the capacity for having common feelings, emotion, or experience.This is often expressed as being able to step into someone elses shoes and the capacity for seeing the world and experiencing feelings and sorrow through the other persons perspective rather through their own perspective.
This action requires both empathy and sympathy, which are emotions that not everyone has developed.Therefore, someone who self references as a benchmark for understanding what someone elses behavior or verbal statements mean, by definition, cannot commiserate with another individual.That is, the person can only understand the world based on their personal perspective, which will lead to conflict in a common understanding taking place.A therapist can help reframe the perspective so the individual will have a broader perspective that includes taking personal responsibility for doing their part to lead to a common understanding.
So when do you know that you are in a relationship where there is no two way communication that going to lead to a working relationship with the other individual based on mutual agreement?The answer is simple.Communication between two individuals should work like a tennis game.One serves the ball and the other hits the ball back.
If you are in a relationship where you keep trying to get your partner to hit the ball back, so to speak, and it never happens then you have a very clear communication from your partner Its a “my way or the highway” communication.There are many individuals who interact with their partner or children from the standpoint of domination and submission.This is not a relationship where there is a misunderstanding of the meaning of the way the person is expressing himself or herself through their behavior.The behavior in itself defines the boundaries and limits of their relationship interactions. The submissive partner has a choice; continue as is or leaveif the other person is unwilling to change.
One of the biggest areas of conflict can be between parents and children.A therapist who is familiar with the childrens behavior, the school system, attention and learning issues, and cognitive processing difficulties can easily make a big difference in helping parents or teachers adjust or change their behaviors to get the child to behave in a certain way.A childs misbehavior, if you will, can inform a professional who can help the parents understand, from the childs perspective what the child “means” that is being expressed through their behavior or statements about what the child is actually struggling with in school.A child and adolescent therapist can help transform communication conflicts and behavioral acting out into meaningful dialogue and respectfulness by helping the parents and the child understand (comprehend) what each needs from each other.

MD (301) 805-6805 | VA (703) 288-3130