Chris WrightChris Wright is a Licensed Marriage & Family Therapist. He sees clients in the Washington, D.C. area and has telephone clients from all over the world. He also has over 35 years of experience as a trainer and workshop leader in human and organizational development across the U.S. and Canada. Chris was founder and director of the Human Relations Institute in Houston, Texas. He was also the Director of PAIRS International -- training psychologists, psychiatrists and therapists in couple’s skills programs. As an innovator in the field, he has developed a unique blend of tools that increase the effectiveness in relationships -- for couples and in the workplace. He has Masters Degrees from the University of Arizona and Antioch University in Los Angeles.
Host: Doesn t honest criticism get your partner to change? Chris Wright: Honest criticism can get your partner to change but I want to be aware that you could be losing something that is precious and having a heartfelt connection together. I mean, there is a big difference between being critical and complaining and shaming your partner, intimidating your partner to gets your needs met.
First is empowering your partner, supporting your partner to change in a way that would meet your needs. In a marriage, I want as both could be committed, to being responsive to each other needs and to empower and support to each other to make those changes that are necessary.
Criticism and criticality in making the partner wrong may back fire. I mean contrast is, look and see in your vocabulary, how many empowerment words do you use. Look at this list on the chart that you have up, I mean, look and see in your vocabulary to use things like I appreciate, it makes such a difference, I know it is not easy, your perseverance is great, you are important here, do it your way, have fun, you can be a hero, it means a lot to me, thank you, I wanted to give you this gift of appreciation, I mean these are powerful messages that motivate. If you do the opposite and criticize and demean or cause the person to contract. I mean, after all in their world, what they do makes sense and so you can only set up a barrier resistance, that sort of erodes their goodwill and if they take a stand and defend to their world, now it is turning into an argument. Here you are trying to criticize in order to get them to change to meet your needs instead they are becoming more rigid, more sense of feeling, offended by what you did and so neither needs are being met in the process and so it becomes important for you to learn how to express your needs in a way that empowers and supports your partner to make the changes necessary.