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Blog

Therapy Blog for Counseling in Sacramento - Relationship Therapy Center

The Four Most Damaging Communication Styles

Nancy Ryan

Dr. John Gottman, along with his wife Julie, has been a major influential force in the psychological community. Published in over 200 articles and over 40 books, Gottman is considered a go-to source of information on relationship psychology, including marriage and family counseling. At the Relationship Therapy Center, we use this method in our couples counseling. 

One of the concepts that Gottman presents is a set of conversation and communication styles known as the Four Horsemen, named for the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse. Each negative communication style is unique; however, all can be damaging to any relationship.

In this article, we’ll give you a brief look at each of the communication styles and ways to recognize and correct these habits before they tear apart your relationship. We hope to provide you with a good overview.

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How to Be a Great Listener

Nancy Ryan

One of the most important skills everyone should learn is the art of being a great listener. From a young age we learn to express ourselves in lots of different ways both verbal and non-verbal. Learning to listen is a lifetime learning process. Thanks to the work of Dr. John Gottman and The Gottman Institute, there is now a few basic guidelines to help you practice this important skill.

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Top 7 Myths or Stereotypes of Couples Counseling

Nancy Ryan

Counseling, in general, has its own naysayers and critics; that is just part of being in the mental health field. Couples Counseling has its very own set of stereotypes, or myths that creep in, some from movies or other media, others from friends and family. Most stick in the minds of people, keeping them from seeking the assistance they may need to move their relationship in a positive and rewarding direction.

What are these stereotypes? Here is a quick look at seven of the most common myths and what the real truth is. You decide which ones you may have been leaning toward.

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What is CBT? What is it Used For?

Nancy Ryan

CBT, also known as Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, is a common form of talk therapy that helps individuals to gain an understanding of how their thoughts can have a direct impact on their actions; cognition leads to behavior. CBT is a tool, or structured plan used during therapy to treat or manage some of life’s most common stressors. CBT is also a very useful tool in more complex issues. In either instance, CBT is rarely used as a sole treatment option, but rather in combination with one or several other therapies.

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What is Effective Co-Parenting?

Nancy Ryan

Co-parenting is a concept many may not even be aware exists. In today’s world of blended families, co-parenting is the most important way for parents to work together to put the needs of their children above any personal conflicts.

Here are a few guidelines to get you started. However, you will likely add to these as you define your specific guidelines and roles. The relationship will also change and grow with the child as well, so will need to be reassessed occasionally.

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Should You Stay or Go? How Relationship Counseling Can Help You Decide

Nancy Ryan

One of the hardest decisions many people face in their entire lives is whether or not to end a relationship. It is never an easy decision, no matter which way it ends up. There are often big issues at play that keep an individual from making the decision for weeks, months, and sometimes even years. The indecision itself can breed even more issues.

Counseling, both individual and couples counseling can help you sort through this difficult decision.

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Relationship Counseling- Party of One

Nancy Ryan

When standing next to your partner feels lonelier than standing by yourself.

Your relationship is on a drastic downward slide.  The signs are everywhere. Lack of communication. Loss of interest in sex.  No physical interactions. Loneliness. Confusion. Questions with no answers. Angry words.  Or worse, no words at all.

You have tried relationship counseling, but your partner does not show up, puts little to no effort forth and has seemingly moved on.  That is when you know your reality. Acknowledging the your epiphany that you have always known but are finally ready to see. The only thing that you can change is how you interact and react with your partner.  The only thing you can control in your relationship, is you.

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All You Need is Love

Nancy Ryan

No matter what your job entails, making time for one another is essential to maintaining your relationship.

For some women and men who own their own business or are in the upper echelon of a company, we are busy.  Seemingly all of the time. And then some. We want to succeed in our jobs, support our family and ourselves, get to school events, networking events, family events.  Oh, and yourself. We try not to forget a single thing. Is business going well? Check. Maintaining a position that has been worked for? Check. Meeting expectations for your family as a whole? Check.  And the list goes on. But there is a nagging feeling, that feeling that you get on the ride to your office or as you are firing up your computer to start your day. Suddenly, in the middle of a meeting with your associates or meeting with a new client at a networking event, it hits you.  Square in the jaw. Right in the pit of your stomach. You realize that there are two things that you are forgetting to put your energy into. Your marriage and your spouse.

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Taking Control Over Anxiety

Nancy Ryan

Think this sounds too good to be true?  Think again. With knowledge and help, you can feel better and live healthier.


Anxiety disorders are the most common of mental disorders in the United States. Anxiety, often debilitating, affects 40 million adults in the United States age 18 and older, or 18.1% of the population every year.(1) Anxiety disorders develop from risk factors that include brain chemistry, personality, genetics and life events and can be identified by the following common characteristics: excessive worrying; fatigue; restlessness; difficulty concentrating; irritability; panic attacks and irrational fears.

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Fighting Back from Infidelity

Nancy Ryan

If you find that infidelity has- or is- affecting your marriage, seeking a therapist and couples therapy is where the repairation can begin.

Picture this.  White brides dress and tuxedo of the groom, perfectly altered.  The colors of the bridal party dresses and groomsmen tuxedos perfectly accented by colors of the flowers in bouquets and corsages, alike.  The countless hours spent picking the perfect venue, invitations, music, food and guest list have all pulled together, perfectly. The day is here.  Your wedding day. You are ready to say, I do, to a life you have envisioned with your spouse. Bells are ringing in perfect sync and your future is bright.  But what happens after this picture-perfect day? You may be ready to handle any curve balls thrown your way, batting them out of the park together. As a couple.  As one. But what happens if your happily ever after is met with infidelity? Wait. You didn’t sign up for this. What if your perfect plan turns out to be less than perfect?  With a divorce rate at an all-time high with infidelity being the reported main cause, how do you avoid being a part of the higher percentage? Can you recover from your spouses infidelity?   Is this marriage worth trying to save?  If the answer is a resilient, yes, seeking couples therapy is the best place to begin.

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