Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Communication Skills Resources

Recently I was talking with a friend who is experiencing problems in a relationship around effective communication, or more specifically, the lack thereof. I sat down and wrote down some resources that came to mind.

Non-Violent Communication - Marshall Rosenberg, Ph.D.

The Getting Real series - Susan Campbell, Ph.D.

The Five Love Languages - Gary Chapman, Ph.D.

Because so much of our communications challenges are centered around fear, I'll include my tried and true fear reference as well, which serves well for any personal challenges where fear is a major factor.

Feel the Fear and Do It Anyway - Susan Jeffers, Ph.D.

Note that many of these authors offer workbooks for and audio recordings of their books and/or workshops that function as highly useful companion tools for implementing lessons learned. Also, the skills learned are valuable not just in making polyamorous relationships work but for all the important relationships in our lives.

What other communication skills resources do you recommend? A comment here or an e-mail to anita.wagner@practicalpolyamory.com would be most welcome.

Hope this helps!


Anonymous said...

Great minds think alike? These top three are the very same resources I pass along to folks seeking guidance.

Susan Campbell has been my favorite for the last few years: she's very accessible, and she conveys her message with compassion, never resorting to the temptation to make someone 'wrong' when a communication goes astray.

I'm only just now diving into Marshall Rosenberg's work, and have found it amazingly powerful for cleaning up communication in every area of my life. The more I listen to his audiobook, the more I'm convinced that NVC holds the key to unsnarling many of the conflicts that occur in polyamorous relationships.

In a recent workshop I attended, Liv Monroe, an NVC trainer in Olympia, WA had posted on her blackboard the tagline "No judgment day is coming" which seems to capture perfectly why Rosenberg's system has such power. No-one needs to be 'wrong' for everyone to get better at communicating feelings and needs and requests.

My favorite recommendation for poly dating is the book "If the Buddha Dated" by Charlotte Kasl. Along with "The Five Languages of Love" it seems to suggest that the task of seeking lovers is best accomplished by approaching others with an open heart, a curious mind, and limited attachment to the outcome.

The only author I have not yet studied has been Susan Jeffers but since she's on your list, she must be meant to be on mine as well.

Thanks for featuring these great resources on your blog!

Anita Wagner said...

Thanks Sweet-Bee! Last fall I lead a weekly-for-four-weeks book discussion at my UU church on Feel the Fear that was a big success. People who attended are still coming up to me and telling me how much it has helped them already.

I discovered that book after my second divorce (non-poly years) when I was very afraid to fall in love again. It was enormously helpful in getting me unstuck. About the same time I discovered polyamory for myself, and those skills became helpful once again as I dealt with the fear that is one of the underlying emotions for which we use the umbrella term jealousy. I recommend the book in just about all my workshops. Fear doesn't have to hold us back. (Smiles)

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