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Communication and Conflict Resolution


Most marriage education programs teach some type of communication skills. Usually they have a particular approach that they favor (whether or not it's right for you).


If you attend Prep, you'll learn about structured communication - the XYZ technique. Prepare-Enrich emphasizes assertive communication and active listening. Gottman advocates using a 'soft start-up'. And there are many other methods. All of these are important in different situations and for some couples.


At MST, you'll learn a wide range of these skills. But more important, we teach these in a systematic way that will help you understand and select communication approaches that are likely to be most productive for you and your partner. That's the key to effective communication. Communication is not a one-size-fits-all process.


These communication skills are on a continuum ranging from attitudinal approaches (that hardly have any structure) to very highly structured methods. Attitudinal approaches include the soft start-up and intent to learn. Assertive communication, active listening, conflict resolution processes, self-soothing and scheduling are among the mid-range skills. Very structured methods are things like the XYZ technique, speaker rules, time-out breaks, etc.


No couple uses all of these. We almost never use the highly structured approaches in our marriage. Validating couples like us often find attitudinal approaches most productive. But the more structured techniques are just the kind of skills that couples with significant volatile and/or hostile style components find most useful.


This is the MST approach to communication and conflict resolution: Helping you to find and begin to master the communication skills that are the best fit for your relationship.


To understand more about conflict and control in relationships click here to read our article on this topic.


Click here for related reading and references list.



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