Speaker/Listener ExerciseFind a quiet, distraction – free space in your home to sit across from one another and take turns sharing about the stressors in your day.
TAKE TURNS AS SPEAKER AND LISTENER
Speaker: talk about your stress in detail for 10 minutes. The topics must be about situations outside the relationship. This is not the time to discuss how worried you are about your financial life or your partner’s lack of organization and/or to complain about your partner.
Listener: provide support to your partner. This is not the time to try and solve your partner's problem. Clearly understanding the issues and feelings must precede any advice.
GIVING SUPPORT MEANS:
Show that you empathize and care:
Don't: Stonewall, ignore your partner, fail to respond, get defensive or criticize.
The Listener should ask The Speaker if they feel heard and understood. Example: "anything else? I want to make sure I get it."
If the Speaker says yes then you can ask if he or she wants help problem solving.
If the Speaker does not feel understood, and ask more questions.
SWITCH ROLES AS THE SPEAKER AND THE LISTENER
Repeat steps two and three.
Make a commitment to have a stress reducing conversation five days a week for 15 to 20 minutes each day.
Thom Kessler, LMFT, RAS
Marriage & Family Therapist and Registered Addiction Specialist