This afternoon I was given the opportunity to interview Dr. Susan Heitler, a clinical psychologist in Denver, Colorado that has been in practice for 35 years. She is at Rose Medical Center and also provides marriage counseling and weekend marriage workshops called Power of Two. Below is a recap of the interview: DMCE – Denver Marriage Communication Examiner.
DMCE: What is the common communications problems that she sees?
Dr. Heitler: Communication problems fall into four categories:
(1) Too Excited – When people become too excited our arousal level is up and we begin talking faster. It is important for us to stay in the calm zone.
(2) Rules to Talking – Just like driving (the basic rule of driving is to stay on the right side, but it we stray to the center is when we have a crash). Same applies for talking – The rule is “I can talk about myself” and that is safe. But if you begin to say, “I think you feel” or “I think you don’t like” that is when we get into the trouble.
Basic Listening – there are different types of listening. There are people who listen for what is useful. Then there are people who listen for what is wrong. The key word that gives you a clue is “BUT”. If the word “BUT” is said, they will spit it out or delete the information. If the word “AND” is used that keeps the communication for both. DCME: Shared with Dr. Heitler that she noticed if people use the word “WELL” when they begin to answer then it will be a negative or a derogatory connotation.
Three letter words that spell trouble in talking which make it disruptive:
You – If you is the subject
But – As explained before
Not -- people take personally. For example: I can’t go with you to an event or I have a commitment tonight. Which most people can understand I have a commitment tonight instead of I cannot go with because they do not take your commitment personally. But if you say, I can't go then they take it personally.
With any of these words you are crossing over the center line.
Come back tomorrow for the remainder of the interview with Dr. Heitler tomorrow.
Dr. Heitler has clients in Colorado as well as Worldwide. You may contact her through
Dr. Heitler also provides Marriage skills workshop called Power of Two. Take the time to view her site at www.PO2.com and we will learn more about that when I discuss her book.