Thinking Out Loud

The Whole Picture

Sam’s wife, Beth, made a simple statement, or so she thought. “Let’s put in a walk-in shower.” Sam was immediately sour on the idea. He grimaced and said it wasn’t a good idea. This upset Beth and she responded strongly. “Why are you always so negative when I make a suggestion?” Sam quickly responded, “Because it’s just one more thing I have to deal with.” “But why can’t we just talk about it?” Beth replied. Read More

Communication Styles in Counseling

My early experience in counseling was primarily with children. Working with children requires flexibility and creativity, and through studying the work of Clark Moustakas and Virginia Axline, I learned that communication in play takes many forms—words, behavior, symbols, and feelings. And, of course, there is the primacy of the working relationship. This nuanced and textured experience taught me to listen with my whole body and set the stage for further exploration into the world of individual communication styles. Read More

Keeping Styles Fluid

A recent question in the Communication Lab prompted the writing of this piece. The questioner was confused about how he “used” the interpersonal and intrapersonal components. He clearly sees himself as intrapersonally oriented, yet with his wife (also strongly intrapersonal), he is more talkative, much more interpersonally driven. Specifically, he initiates most of the let’s-sit-down-and-discuss-this requests, tries to share more about what he’s going through, and asks questions about her process. This caused him to question his understanding of the communication styles framework. Read More

He Tells Stories, She Doesn’t

Willie is a story teller. If you ask him a question, even a simple question, you are likely to get a story. It drives Ellen crazy. “Why can’t he just give a simple answer to a simple question?” she says with exasperation. “If he asks me a direct question, I give a direct answer—yes or no.” Read More