This is used in couples therapy to help my clients have productive conversations. If you can follow these rules, you are much more likely to have productive discussions.
1. Decide upon a time of day and time limit before you begin and stick to it. Make this session last around 20 minutes-don’t overdo it. If you don’t finish in that allotted time, schedule another time the next day.
2. Decide how many “zaps” you’ll permit before you (or the other) walk out. A zap is a hurtful remark, an insult, a threat, a sarcastic dig and so on. Any attempt to threaten, shame or blame is another zap. When you get to the number agreed upon ahead of time, walk out.
3. Choose one problem per session and stick to the point. Have a session every day for awhile if you need it, but stick to one problem per session.
4. Stay in the present. Don’t bring up what happened 12 years or 12 days ago unless it very specifically relates to the present.
5. Own your own feelings. Avoid blaming your partner for your feelings- they are not anyone else’s.
6. Listen to the other person. You need both of your points of view to find an agreement for both of you.
7. Agree upon a solution that is good for both of you.