Communication Skills Building

Sharing, Listening & Resolving: Learn the skills you need communicate more effectively to help your relationship succeed. 

Communication Skills: Couples Counseling

​Poor communication in a relationship can lead to a wide variety of problems that range from feelings of neglect to lack of intimacy, trust issues, misunderstandings and eventual divorce or seperation. 
When couples are able to genuinely communicate in a relationship, it leads to greater passion, deeper levels of intimacy, more fun and excitement, smoother transitions, harmony and a content family life. At Arslan Therapy, there are a number of couples communication principles taught to couples to increase and improve their levels of communication. Here are a few:      

  • Step 1: Use positive language that cannot be construed as nagging, harping or putting the other person down. Positive reinforcement is vital not only to getting what you want, but highly beneficial to your partner's overall well-being as well. It's not manipulation when you mean it and say it with sincerity.
  • Step 2: When it is time to have serious or difficult conversation arrange a date to talk or watch for breaks when neither of you is busy. Let the other person know what you want to talk about. Don't spring difficult conversational topics on your partner - it's not a pop quiz.
  • Step 3: Search for topics that really interest the other party. Be willing to talk about subjects that are most important to your partner, remember it's not all about you.
  • Step 4: Talk about problems or situations that are bothering you as soon as you can. Keeping feelings of anger, disappointment or frustration bottled up inside you because you are afraid of the reaction or because you can't seem to find the time, only leads to stress and future relationship problems.
  • Step 5: Come right out and ask for what you want. Your partner is not a mind reader. Many couples assume that their partner should really know what they mean or want. More often than not, this is not the case. The main point is to get it out in the open so you can effectively discuss the details or options.

Learning how to put these basic communication principles into action will create a wealth of benefits in your relationship - a willing partner who will truly listen and understand you, a partner who will look forward to talking with you, a partner who will open up with you rather than withdrawing, creating more intimacy and passion your relationship, putting an end to ongoing fights, and finding mutually agreeable solutions to problems you have been unable to solve. 


If you would like to learn more about how to apply these couples communication skills (and more) effectively in your relationship, I invite you to take advantage of a complimentary phone consultation by calling me at (650) 697-5320, or Click here to schedule a consultation by email.

Conflict Resolution Skills

Did you know that your skills and ability (as a couple) to resolve conflicts will determine the outcome of your relationship.

Conflict Resolution Skills: The Key For A Healthy Relationship

As with many conflicts, it’s important to find a resolution. It would seem that a statement like this would be obvious to everyone; but many people choose to either suppress their anger or just "don't want to rock the boat" as the saying goes. They believe that by addressing a conflict or issue, that they are actually inciting a fight, and just keep quiet instead. Unfortunately, this is not a healthy long term approach or strategy. Unresolved conflict usually leads to resentment and it continues to grow and build into even more additional unresolved conflict and resentment during the course of a relationship. More importantly, ongoing unresolved conflict can actually have a negative impact on not just your mental health but your physical health and longevity as well.      

An often uncomfortable but never-the-less real relationship fact is that the outcome of the relationship and level of satisfaction experience in the relationship is directly linked to the ability and skills of both partners to resolve conflicts; but resolving conflict can sometimes be tricky. When handled improperly, attempts at conflict resolution can actually make the conflict worse. Either person may feel misunderstood; attacked or threatened; as if the other person is not listening; or being talked-over. These are common problem couples face when trying to resolve conflicts. 

At Arslan Therapy one of the techniques I teach couples about conflict resolution includes the following process: 

  • Step 1: One person presents their position, describing what they think, what they feel and what their request is/what they want
  • Step 2: The other person listens to the first person and then repeats back what they heard regarding thoughts, feelings and requests
  • Step 3: This second person then has an opportunity to present their position while the first person listens Steps 1-3 can be repeated until both people are satisfied that they have been understood.
  • Step 4: Then the couple can brainstorm possible solutions (without evaluating them yet)
  • Step 5: Once all possibilities are expressed, an evaluation of the best solution or solutions can begin. When a solution is then chosen, it can be implemented for a period of time ( usually 2 to 4 weeks) to see if it is successful. If it is successful, great. If not, it can be modified or another solution can be chosen.

The benefits of this model are that the people feel like they are working together as a team, there is much less fighting, both parties feel happy with a mutually agreed upon solution, there is creativity in brainstorming for a solution (versus getting locked in to polarized positions), both people feel understood and valued, and cooperation makes both people feel more willing to give/compromise for the sake of couple happiness. 

If you would like to learn more about how to apply these couples communication skills (and more) effectively in your relationship, I invite you to take advantage of a complimentary phone consultation by calling me at (650) 697-5320, or Click here to schedule a consultation by email . 

How To choose a therapist?

How do you choose the right therapist for you?
These therapy client guidelines will help you.

How To Choose A Therapist? A Guide For New Therapy Clients

Let me first say that if you have made the decision to seek professional help you are beginning a journey that takes courage. And that you are truly courageous for recognizing the need and for seeking help. 
Now that you've decided to make this journey, the big question is "how do you choose a therapist ?" or rather "how do you choose the right therapist for you". 

Here are several guidelines that will definitely help you along in the process of choosing a therapist to confide in and that can help you overcome your circumstance or situation:      

First: Choose a therapist that is familiar with your area of concern - you don't want to be any therapist's first-time client for the problem you're grappling with! Therapists tend to specialize in specific areas of expertise or modalities (the technical term). Be sure to ask the therapist you're interviewing if they're familiar with your situation; how long they've worked in that specific area; how many clients / patients they treated with your circumstance(s); when the last time was they treated someone with your situation. They should be more than willing to answer all of these questions, if not, they're not the one for you, so move on. Don't be shy! After all, this time it is all about you! View Areas Of Specialty

Second: You must find a therapist you feel comfortable with. Therapy is not an easy process and your therapist is not there to be your friend. However having said this, you should choose a therapist whom you feel respects your individuality, opinions, and self. A good way to measure your comfort level with a therapist is during an initial phone consultation. If you're not comfortable talking on the phone to someone, you will most likely be uncomfortable talking with that person face to face. Do you feel that the person you're speaking with has clearly heard you; understands you; and can help you? Request A Complimentary Phone Consultation

Third: 
Experience, experience, experience. You should seek out a therapist who has been practicing in the field for at least a decade or longer, whenever possible. Research indicates that there is little difference between the quality of therapy outcomes based upon a therapist's degree or training (MFT vs LCSW vs PsyD vs PhD, etc..), but it does show that the longer a therapist has been practicing, the better client outcomes. This means that experienced therapists will be more likely to help you. Learn More About Norm Arslan, MFT 

Fourth: Convenience and location are key factors in choosing a therapist. Select a therapist that is either close to your work or home. This will make keeping appointments less of a hassle during your weekly routine. When your therapist is too far out of the way, people have a common tendency to use it as an excuse to skip often needed sessions. Driving Directions 

Lastly: You should know what the costs or fee schedule is before you go into your first session. The best therapist in the world for your situation will do you no good if you cannot afford to keep seeing them. Ask the therapist if they accept insurance (some don't) and if they do accept insurance, which one(s) do they accept. There are hundreds of insurance providers, not every therapist is on your insurance company's approval list. Learn More About Fees And Insurance

Is Couples Therapy Right For You?

​Couples face a multitude of challenges everyday. How do you know when it's the right time to seek help?

Your answers to the following questions can determine if you are a good candidate for couples counseling:      

  1. Has your relationship lost the passion/excitement it once had?
  2. Do you and your partner fight over the same issues?
  3. Do you or your partner get angry or upset at certain topics of conversation?
  4. Does your partner not understand how you feel or disregard your feelings?
  5. Do you feel unappreciated by your partner?
  6. Does your partner continuously criticized you?
  7. Are you unable to get your partner to listen to you?
  8. Do you find yourself distant and withdrawing from your partner?
  9. Do you find yourself getting angry at your partner?
  10. Does your partner seem to be withdrawing from you?
  11. Do you have relationship issues that don't get solved?
  12. Do you sometimes feel lonely in the relationship?If you answered "yes" to more than 2 (two) of these questions, couples counseling may be the solution needed to help you and your partner reconnect and have the kind of relationship that you both truly desire. 


Couples counseling can help you and your partner learn how to listen, validate, and support each others needs. Communication skills, anger management, and expression of feelings are key foundational components for improved relationships; as are establishing trust, honesty, and commitment. Couples counseling helps you to learn new skills and change ineffective behaviors with motivation, patience, and persistence. 

I invite you to take advantage of a complimentary phone consultation by calling me at (650) 697 - 5320, or Click here to schedule a consultation by email. ​

Couples Therapy FAQs

The couples therapist with over 30 years experience

Arslan Therapy