Sunday, September 28, 2008

Silent Arguing

Some folks allow loud arguments to get in the way of having a functioning marriage. A therapist who does not do family therapy suggested to a patient that she and her husband might argue silently in the following way:

Get a notebook for arguing. Go to the bedroom when you want to have a disagreement. Sit on the floor, on the opposite sides of the bed with your back against the bed. Bring the notebook. Each side has a pen or pencil. The person carrying the notebook into the room goes first. That person writes their first comment, question, diatribe, whatever concerning the issue at hand and passes the notebook across the bed to the person on the other side. Never throw the notebook. pass the notebook so that the other person can reach it. The other person sits with back against the bed until the first person has turned around with their back against the bed. The receiving person gets the note book, reads the first statement, skips a line, and responds in writing. No talking is allowed. The second person passes the notebook back after writing, and the process continues until a peaceful agreement is reached.

The first time the therapist's patient tried this, the total silence made the children curious. They timidly knocked on the door to find out what their mother and father were doing. The only thing that they were allowed to do is tell them that they were having an argument. The puzzled children left the room.

Another therapist told the therapist that this technique was also used by the well known psychologist, Dr. Stella Chess.

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