Tuesday, May 15, 2012

It Goes Without Saying Doesn't Go Without Saying

I recently was listening to a podcast during which a discussion ensued about the importance of effective HIV prevention, education tools. and fundraisers like the AIDS Walk.  During this dialogue, the guest repeatedly told the hosts, "It goes without saying...", as if everyone was in unanimous agreement about how to help prevent HIV, and this "should" have already be known.  This exchange made me realize how assumptions, shaming, and "shoulds" can impair effective communication not only in public spheres, but in personal relationships.

From where I sit, nothing goes without saying.  It doesn't matter if you are communicating to a million listeners, or one primary partner, believing that something just goes without saying, and you shouldn't have to use words to express yourself, greatly impairs your ability to relate with others, to build trust, and to form deeper connections.  Nothing compromises a relationship as much as verbally shutting down.  When someone says "I shouldn't have to __________[show affection, say 'thank you', give attention, or say 'I love you']", they are literally damaging the structure of their relationship, and creating a breeding ground of disconnection, fear, and withdrawal.

My private practice assists individuals and couples learn how to use effective communication strategies that enable deeper intimacy and joy with others.  A significant part of that has included challenging and unlearning harmful "shoulds" that impair one's ability to connect and build loving relationships with others.  And another essential ingredient involves reducing the amount of assumptions and misunderstandings that take place verbally and non-verbally throughout the course of a relationship.  It is through these changes that it becomes possible to make choices and decisions that allow loving connections with others to flourish.  If you are interested in learning more, please don't hesitate to contact me at Shouldless@gmail.com, or call me at 347-227-7707.  Or to see a video preview of my work, please check out my Therapick profile where you can see me and dozens of other therapists in your area.  Late night appointments are available on request.

Speaking of communication and HIV/AIDS services, I am proud to be walking again this year in the 2012 New York AIDS Walk.  The funds raised provide meals, medical care, mental health, and case management services that maximize the quality and quantity of life for people living with HIV.  If you are able, please donate what you can here. 

I hope you are having a great week, and let me know how I can help,

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