Finding A Mutual Language

As a sex therapist I often find that folks struggle to communicate not only their desires, but daily tasks, the meanings attributed to certain things, and their overall needs. Lately, in my sessions, I have been introducing the idea of a mutual or shared language. Although I can state that couples need a mutual language that creates a shared understanding, it is often harder to achieve than most clients think.

So what do I mean by shared language? Let’s take partners Alex and Jeff (anonymous names) for example:

Alex and Jeff come into my sessions with very different understandings of the same conflict. Alex is under the impression Jeff does not care about family outings. Jeff is under the impression Alex is scrutinizing the level of effort Jeff puts into those same family outings. After some discussion, it becomes clear that both partners have the same goal; achieving a fun connection during these outings. Yet, both partners are struggling to get to a space of enjoyment due to their perspectives.

In mentioning the mutual language with this couple, I also clarified the basis of its structure. The structure of a shared language creates space for sharing feelings, reflection, clarifying questions, and room for the partner to respond. The reason for defining this structure is to give clients an outline or agenda to grasp, while they practice active listening and trust in their partner’s words. By highlighting an intentional structure and space, partners are able to come into conversations more openly rather than sticking to their assumptions about their partner. As long as there are still some misunderstandings, clients can begin from the top (sharing their feelings once more).

Through practicing this mutual language in sessions with Alex and Jeff, they were able to come to a space where they planned a family outing that was fun for all and directed by Jeff, since he felt he was not given the opportunity to demonstrate his love and effort in these.

The intention of creating the language is not to create agreement 100% of the time, but to create a routine in which partners can walk away feeling heard, understood, and at least have opportunities where their needs are prioritized more frequently.

If we take the example of a football huddle, players can understand the coaches requests, although they are made up of coded words, and still follow through with the play as required. Although this is not a space to demand things from your partner(s), it allows for the creation of a  language that works for all partners’ understanding and leads to action items that are requested.

Overall, the intentionality of creating this mutual language guides conversation without preconceived notions or assumptions of your partner. If couples are able to recreate a space in which they face each other, work on co-creating, and reduce preconceived notions, then those assumed perspectives would not continue to impact future conversations.

Even with a new structured language to practice, it is normal to struggle with meeting yours or your partner’s needs. If you find yourself needing a little more support whether alone or with your partner, I’d love to work with you at Love Heal Grow Counseling – schedule an appointment with me today. I specialize in kink, BDSM, non-monogamy, and sex therapy.

At Love Heal Grow we have a variety of other therapists who can also assist you. Please do not hesitate to reach out to us at Love Heal Grow today to get in touch with one of our therapists.

Flo Oliveira best therapists sacramento california
Hi, I’m Flo Oliveira, therapist for individuals and couples at Love Heal Grow Counseling.

I help​ individuals and couples who want to rediscover themselves, their sexual intimacy, and pleasure. You can experience more fulfillment in your life and relationships! I’m here to support you.

You can read more about me or schedule an appointment here: About Flo

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