As a Marriage and Family Therapist, it’s imperative that I model effective active listening and communication skills for my clients. I also choose to take these active listening and communication skills home with me to my wife and family, so that I not only talk the talk but walk the walk. I want my intentions, words, and actions to be aligned with one another. This way, I can proudly declare that I’m a man of integrity.
Family therapists often see couples or families who are accusatory, defensive, hostile, and withdrawing in their communication with their loved ones. Instead of engaging in these counterproductive communication patterns, I encourage my clients to take deep breaths when they’re feeling triggered, and then to be the following in their communication with others: Curious, Open, Accepting, Loving, and Listening. The acronym for this is COALS. When a client has the presence of mind to follow the COALS approach to communication, they emerge from their communication endeavors with others triumphant. The COALS approach lets the light in. It creates space for two people to be heard, understood, and validated.
It takes self-discipline, mental rehearsal, and practice to enter into a COALS state of mind when communicating with others. As a Marriage and Family Therapist and communication expert, I encourage you to give it a try. You’ll love what happens next!!
John Boesky, LMFT
(Master NLP Practitioner/Certified Hypnotherapist/Dharma Life Coach/& Sports Psychology Consultant)