Online Course in Relationships Counselling
Three factors that will determine the effectiveness or destructiveness of our communications in a relationship are:
- What we communicate
- What we do not communicate
- How we communicate – intentionally or unintentionally.
By examining communications in the light of these factors, we can better understand how relationships can be maintained and destroyed. In the area of self disclosure, partners must decide what to keep secret and what to reveal (partners must decide when lying will help and when it will destroy a relationship). People in relationship also need to determine how to engage in constructive conflict (arguing/fighting) so the relationship will profit.
Good relationships are maintained by balancing these different kinds of communication and by keeping a balance between the three elements of passion, intimacy and commitment. While intimate and frank communication may be the cornerstone of a strong relationship, research shows that talking about every little irritation and disagreement, unremitting honesty, and confronting the partner about all conflict are actually quite destructive. Relationships where one or both partners are willing to let issues pass, do not always or often disclose their negative feelings, and communicate more for the purpose of the overall bigger picture,
Relationships in which there is a great deal of respect and equality have been shown to be more long lasting and satisfying, than those where equality and respect are low.
Develop your understanding of the role communication plays in creating, maintaining or destroying relationships, and your ability to assist others to improve their relationships communications.
The course is divided into seven lessons as follows:
1. Communication in emerging relationships
2. Communication behaviour and needs
3. Communication and the environment
4. Communication patterns in relationships
5. Maintaining relationships
6. Relationship breakdown
7. Evaluation of communication techniques within relationships
Duration: 100 hours
To examine the importance of communication in emergent relationships and its changing role within relationships;
To understand different influences affecting and changing interpersonal needs over the lifespan;
To recognise the role of cultural and physical environmental influences on communication;
To identify and examine patterns of communication in close relationships;
To understand constructive and destructive methods of maintaining relationships;
To discuss patterns of relationship breakdown and the role of constructive and destructive communication;
To consider the effectiveness of different communication techniques in relationships.
Content of each lesson
1. Communication in Emerging Relationships
Problems in relationships
Stages in relationships
The communication process
Principles of communication
Communication filtered through perceptions
Non verbal communication
Signs of relationship breakdownEffective communication
Abuse and violence in relationships
2. Self-Awareness and Communication Goals
Setting the stage for change
Good communication is thoughtful
Recognising reactive patterns
3. Communication Patterns in Relationships
Negative patterns of communication
Thought, feeling and action cycle
Thoughts and feelings differentiated
Patterns of thought
4. Influences on Relating Behaviour and PBL.
Influences on communication
Environmental influences; family, culture, social, other
Communicating and changing interpersonal needs
Changing expectations and needs
Adult psychological development
Erikson's psycho social stages
PBL to create and plan a counselling intervention for a couple who are experiencing relationship difficulties.
5. Communication Techniques and Skills
Reflective responses; emotions
Reflective responses; content
Guidelines to prevent inauthentic listening
Message statements or requests
Encouraging clients to learn communication
6. Maintaining Relationships
Kinds of, and stages in relationships
Factors to help maintain relationships
Agreements or contracts
Praise and gifts for service
Relationship nurturing communication
WHAT YOU MAY DO IN THIS COURSE
Determine ways in which we consciously communicate in a relationship, and ways in which we unconsciously communicate.
Determine different negative messages that can damage relationships, and different positive messages that can nurture them.
Determine attitudes or expectations (thoughts and beliefs) that can result in destructive communication, and describe one likely negative outcome for each.
Identify common needs that we want to satisfy through our relationships.
Identify cultural or social influences that affect individual and family attitudes to happiness, self-expression, and relationships.
Explain psychological theories and terms such as attribution theory, implicit personality theory, Gestalt impression formation, inference processes, stereotyping.
List benefits and disadvantages of ‘self-disclosure’ and ‘self-disguise or concealment’ (lying)
Define effective communication.
Discuss the role that judgment plays in preventing a person from understanding and/or respecting another person’s point of view and feelings.
Discuss strategies for replacing negative communication patterns in relationships for positive patterns.
SAMPLE COURSE NOTES
Stage 1 – Courtship/Romance or Fantasy Stage
This can last from two months to two years. This is when the partnership is new and the couple want to be together and can do nothing wrong in each other’s eyes. Probably they are both still on their best behaviour as well. They will focus on commonalities (what they have in common), such as interests, music, friends etc. This is the stage when our defences are low, so that the relationship can grow and develop. There are also biological effects, as the body will produce large amounts of endorphins, making us happy, excited and positive.
Stage 2 – Familiarisation/Adjusting to Reality/Disillusionment
This is when the couple realise their partner is actually a human being. They will start recognising each other’s flaws, as the couple become more relaxed with each other. The body may not produce the same levels or endorphins. This can happen suddenly due to a dishonesty or deceit. This can be a confusing stage and it can be hard to show as much openness and connection as at stage 1. However, this is also the stage where we have to learn to communicate with each other if the relationship is to continue.
Stage 3 – Disappointment/Distress/Power Struggle Phase
Characteristics in this stage can become harder and harder to deal with. The couple will begin to pull away from each other. They may believe that conflict is a bad thing, and become increasingly aware of their differences. They may fight over the boundaries in the relationship, with small issues becoming big problems. At this stage the couple will define unacceptable behaviour and may consider leaving the relationship. The individual may feel that their partner is untrustworthy or uncaring or self-centred. Deep resentments may develop. This is usually the stage where most couples break up or seek divorce. If they are able to move through this stage, they will move to stage 4.
Stage 4 – Stability/Friendship/Reconciliation Stage
This is a restful stage. Some couples will never reach this stage, but those that do will find that they have more trust, love and connection with their partner. The couple will have a history and rely on the predictability of the relationship. They will realise that their partner isn’t perfect, but their differences aren’t as bad as they thought. Conflicts can usually be resolved to some extent and the individuals may feel more confident within the relationship. Some individuals will feel a sense of loss as they realise they no longer have the fantasy partner they thought they had. But there will be more feeling of friendship and commitment. They may start to re-establish their own outside friendships and interest. There is some danger that the couple may become bored with each other or drift apart, so it is important to try to maintain the connection established in the Romance Stage.
Stage 5 – Acceptance/Transformation/Real Love/Commitment Stage
It is estimated that only around 5% of couples actually make it to this stage (Relationship Institute). This is when couples know who their partner is, including their strengths and weaknesses, but choose to say with that person because of (or in spite of) those things. The couple will genuinely love their partner and look out for their best interests. They will usually have similar life goals. Many couples will make a public and formal commitment to each other at this stage to demonstrate their commitment to the relationship. At this stage, the relationship becomes a true partnership.