Two people can be honest in the “here and now”, have an atmosphere of talking about everything, and put the relationship above everything else.
To be honest, at first, I, like a lot of people, had never seen a truly harmonious, long-term relationship, or experienced what a truly close relationship looked like.
So when it comes to thinking about “what a close relationship looks like” or “how to maintain a close relationship for a long time”, it can be a little overwhelming. Because of the lack of a blueprint, a role model, so in the feelings of confusion, made a lot of wrong choices, and therefore experienced a lot of frustration.
After I started to do psychological counseling, I unexpectedly found that this work has greatly inspired my understanding of intimate relationships. I was not a person who was very good at getting close to people, but under the guidance of the beliefs and principles of psychological counseling, I found that I could often have a very deep and close conversation with visitors.
Although this relationship only exists in the counseling room, there are certain roles and boundaries between two people, and many times the counseling relationship is challenged by various problems, the deep emotional resonance and connection opened my eyes to possibilities that I had never seen before.
So I started to think and approach others in a similar way, including my parents, my partner, and my best friends, and I was lucky enough to have many new and wonderful experiences.
In the consulting relationship, several ideas and methods make me bright and have good results in my practice.
The honesty of the “here and now”
One of the concepts in counseling is called here and now.
Many times, the client will tell me a lot about his relationship with others, but because it is his perspective, I am not sure how objective and accurate the description is.
In this case, the counselor will often refer more to his feelings and observe what is happening in the relationship between the client and him in the here and now.
During the consultation, I will pay attention to the client while paying attention to my feelings, and I will share my feelings with the other party very honestly when appropriate.
For example, I once had a client who talked a lot and liked to spend a lot of time telling her life story, so I chose a moment to interrupt her: “As I was listening to you tell your story, I noticed that I was feeling a little detached and distant from you.
I wonder if you could make other people in your life feel the same way. How do you feel now? Are you telling me stories because you don’t want to be near me?”
This feedback on the here and now can often lead to a very honest conversation, moving the conversation from a polite conversation to a more real and profound level.
When I’m in intimate relationships myself, I use similar communication techniques; Especially when there are some problems between two people, but they can’t find a breakthrough point to talk about it, they are a little uncertain or afraid of the time.
All you need to do is observe how you feel in this moment and share it with the other person, then ask for their opinions, feelings, and intentions. For example, when dealing with a conflict, she said impatiently: “OK, OK, don’t talk about it. It’s no use saying more about these problems, just like this.”
My first reaction was to hope for further explanation and demonstration because I felt that I had not expressed my views before.
But then I noticed that I was eager to prove myself even more, as if with emotion. So I immediately check your feelings, and then gave her such a response: “I know you might be a bit impatient, but what you said just now, I feel like you in the distant I, want to be pushed me away. I don’t want to be you away, so we want to continue to chase you about this problem. You want to let me far away from you?”
This feedback opened up a whole new conversation, allowing her to share her fear of not being taken seriously and losing me, and allowing her to see that I cared and invested in her.
A talkative atmosphere
My ability of expression has always been strong, and I participated in the school debate team in college. Therefore, when I get along with others, I often have a bit of a hard mouth — sometimes I tend to persuade the other side in language and make the other side accept my views and requirements through theory.
This habit is completely changed when doing psychological counseling. When I first started consulting, I often assumed that I knew what clients should do and wanted to persuade them to accept my advice.
However, I found that whenever I tried to refute and argue, the other party would retreat and distance me, and some important or personal topics that were originally mentioned were no longer willing to continue discussing.
In the process of consultation, the more self-disclosure of visitors, the more beneficial to the consultation work. But when a lot of information is disclosed, the client may feel insecure, ashamed, or anxious. To support clients to overcome these emotions and open up, experienced counselors will place great emphasis on creating a safe, non-critical dialogue atmosphere for clients.
My experience in counseling is that opening up is gradual, a process of “I’ll talk a little, see how you react, and then I’ll decide if I want to talk more.”