Communication is more than words. Whether it’s a child or an adult, communication issues can develop in any relationship or circumstance. Misunderstandings can often lead to arguments, resulting in tension and conflicts in personal, romantic, professional, or platonic relationships.
Working with a psychotherapist can help resolve communication issues and get to the root cause of why they occur. Several different factors can contribute to these miscommunications, including a difference of opinion, cultural background, or personal experiences. Physical and mental health (such as autism spectrum disorders) can also come into play, as well as other situational stressor such as trauma, poor listening skills, and stereotypes.
Using Therapy to Combat Communication Challenges
Cognitive, behavioural, and emotional constraints can all have a major impact on the ability for clients to communicate:
• Cognitive Constraints: Parties that don’t have similar views or opinions, or cannot find common ground to relate.
• Behavioural Constraints: A difference in nonverbal actions, such as maintaining eye contact or physical proximity.
• Emotional Constraints: This difference falls into how feeling and emotions are conveyed, whether that’s suppressing feelings or being open.
A trained psychotherapist can help client examine their communication strategies and determine whether their approaches need to be altered in order to effectively convey thoughts, needs and goals. Some common treatment strategies might include:
• Active Listening: Do you often find yourself planning what you’re going to say next instead of actively listening to what the other person has to say? Active listening helps clear up miscommunications and helps the other person feel recognized and appreciated.
• Opening Communication: In order for thoughts and feelings to be exchanged, there needs to be a sense of openness and willingness to discuss. Psychotherapists will work with clients to help lower their walls, open the lines of communication, and be more trusting of others.
• Language Development: For many, it can be difficult to find the words to convey your meaning. These forms of treatment will support language development, including working on vocabulary, sentences, and meaning in order to communicate clearly.
• Socialization: There are many nonverbal cues that come into play when communicating with others. For those that have difficulties recognizing these rules of engagement, therapists will spend time discussing formalities in social interchange and how to make interactions feel more natural.
In most of these cases, the psychotherapist will both share strategies that make communication flow easily, as well as engage the client in roleplaying. By practicing how to effectively communicate, clients will feel more confident in everyday interactions and be able to apply lessons and techniques into their relationships with others.
Top 10 Best Therapists
As one of Canada’s top 10 best psychotherapists, Melissa Cutler has spent the past 20 years gaining clinical and research experience across hospital, community, and public sector settings, including as a social worker. With advanced training in cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT), trauma counselling and chronic pain management, she helps clients learn how to communicate effectively in order to convey their emotions in a healthy way and improve their relationships. Book online for a psychotherapy appointment at her office on Yonge and Lawrence near the subway.