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JordanTherapist's Corner...
9 Helpful Rules For Fighting Fair

One theme that is current in many couples sessions and family sessions is conflict. As a therapist, I have come to understand conflict and fighting as two different animals.

Fighting produces no resolution, opens new and old wounds and aims to inflict hurt.

Conflict is the opportunity for growth. A relationship with no conflict experiences little growth. In conflict, a level of respect is maintained between parties and a willingness to find a solution over power. Below are some helpful rules to fair fighting that produce healthy conflict.

1.  Identify the source of upset feelings.
Many superficial arguments happen due to deeper lying issues. Examine the real issues, when ignored resentment continues to grow.  

2.  Stay on topic.
Resolution results from a targeted conversation. Avoid temptation to pile on other frustrations, it only fuels the fire.

3.  Keep it clean.
Avoid name calling and harsh language. Aggressive and hostile language creates defensive behavior and shuts down the willingness for understanding.

4.  “I” Statements.
Avoid “you” statements that serve as a vehicle for character attacks. Instead use “I feel upset when….., I feel hurt when….”

5.  Take turns.
Put the score card down, allow one another to share their thoughts and feelings equally without interruption.

6.  No freezing out.
Refusal to participate in communication is game playing, not productive and ultimately exhausting.

7.  Check the volume
Keep voices calm and respectable.

8.  Take breaks
If you find yourself in a state of mind that does not allow you to adhere to the above rules, state that you need a break to cool down followed by when you will be ready to return to the discussion.

9.  Compromise and Understand
In many cases no one right answer exists, work as if you both are on the same team.  Allow yourself to approach the situation from the otherʼs view point.

~ Jordan Allen, Therapist


Therapist's Corner...
"But They Deserve It..." 

Ever heard of the Golden Rule? You know, that one where it says "Treat others the way you want to be treated." It's a great concept. Forgive. Be kind. Help others. It's a simple idea and simple to carry out. Right? Right?

Or is it so simple? More and more I speak to clients who refer to the Golden the same sentence as words such as "revenge" or "they asked for it." What I'm starting to hear is "They treated me poorly, so it means they want to be treated poorly. It gives me the right to treat them poorly."

Time out! I don't remember the Golden Rule stating "Treat others as they treat you." Nope. Definitely not how I remember learning it. However, as society focuses more and more on the individual, pleasing #1, taking care of oneself, me-me-me, we forget that we are all interconnected. A harsh word or gesture doesn't just affect the giver and receiver; it carries over to others. People witness it, people side with one or the other...and negative atmospheres affect us all, even if we are unaware of it.

On the other hand, upbeat, happy, positive atmospheres affect us, too. Kindness begets kindness. Helping one person makes someone feel good. Realizing that an apology doesn't mean you were wrong; it simply means you value your RELATIONSHIP with that person MORE than your pride. It takes courage to be kind. It takes courage to step out of the crowd to help someone. It takes courage to say "I'm sorry."

Back to the Golden Rule. How do you want to be treated? Most of us want others to be kind to us, to laugh and have fun with us, to feel like we belong and are needed and loved. Most of us want to be acknowledged, to have friendships and to receive help when we need it. Most of us want to be accepted for who we are, to be given compliments, to receive praise when we do well and encouragement when we can improve.

Can you say you treat others the way you want  to be treated?

~ Jessica McCaslin, Therapist


From Our EAP...
Developing Resiliency

Imagine the last upsetting event that you experienced.  What was your reaction to it? Were you able to quickly recover from it and get back on track, or do bad experiences throw you into emotional tailspins that affect your quality of life long after they’ve occurred?

How quickly you are able to bounce back from setbacks is a trait called resiliency.  People who are highly resilient tend to be happier and more successful both in their careers and in their personal lives. 

Rewriting Negative Scripts

Things like dealing with an unreasonable boss, a tight deadline, or a car breakdown can be a challenge for anyone, but the resulting stress is caused by our reaction to these problems, not the problems themselves.

By paying careful attention to your emotional reactions to upsetting events, you’ll be able to spot unwanted and habitually negative scripts that play themselves out in your head, and gradually replace them with positive ones.

Negating the Negative

Dwelling on a negative emotion, such as anger at being treated unfairly, sucks away our time, energy, and creativity and prevents us from moving forward constructively.  Highly resilient people have the ability to diminish or postpone indulging on negative emotion. They aren’t in denial. Instead, they refocus their attention on problem solving.

This begins by tuning out everything that falls outside of your sphere of control and influence and asking yourself, “What can I do right now to improve this situation?”  Perhaps the most you can do is take a few deep breaths, calm down and organize your thoughts, but even this small action is a positive step.  The idea is not to stifle negative emotion, but rather to prevent its paralyzing feedback loop.

Planning for Success

Resilient people view obstacles and setbacks as “outcomes”, “challenges”, and “opportunities” to learn rather than disasters.  More importantly, they anticipate success, but expect setbacks a natural part of any goal-oriented process.  Here are the best practices for building resiliency:

Know yourself:  Be realistic about what you are able to accomplish, and be honest about your limitations.  Set your goals accordingly, but don’t be afraid to stretch to the higher rung, and then build on your successes.

Know your partners: Focus on the strengths, not the weaknesses of those around you.  Always be looking for ways that their unique talents can complement yours or help you to accomplish your goals.

Think strategy, planning, and action:  You are in control how you deal with a problem to produce a result. You can’t predict a result, but you can act again on the result to produce a different out come, and so on. Unexpected variables show up as we reach for our goals. So measure success by incremental advancements toward your goals.

Treat life as a classroom:  A helpful question to ask yourself in any challenging situation is, “What can I learn from this.”  Temporary failures almost always precede future success.

Internal Focus

By relentlessly seeking to improve how you react to obstacles, you train yourself and create a new habit to act upon your environment rather than allowing yourself to be mugged by external forces beyond your control. 

Develop and practice resiliency, and you’ll discover a life skill the pros in any profession have mastered to achieve more.

~ Anna Hain, EAP Coordinator

Family Resources Highlights!

Denise Bredthauer 12Thibault Sarah for web

Denise, our office manager, is celebrating her third year with Family Resources of Greater Nebraska, P.C.! Sarah is celebrating her one-year anniversary with us! Thank you, ladies, for your amazing talents, commitment and enthusiasm you bring to our office and our clients!


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