Keynotes # 14: Staying inside the Problem Solving Box

“Keynotes” are my brief comments about life and recovery and are intended to provide insight, inspiration, wisdom or humor to your day.

Yesterday I had the opportunity to assist 2 people who are invested in making their marriage better. What brought them into my office is that their behavior had devolved into something that wasn’t positive for them (criticism, yelling, labeling, etc.) which are ingredients of verbal abuse. I asked them to look at the wheel of power and control and to identify the behaviors they practiced that were not healthy nor functional for them. These behaviors were listed outside of a box they drew on their writing tablet.

Then we looked at the Equality wheel. On the inside of the box which I called the “Problem Solving Box” (originally named by Dr. Bill Adams) they were invited to list behaviors that will keep them safe, increase their communication, enhance their ability to stay in their functional adult and eventually cultivate relational intimacy that has escaped them for most of this year.

This couple has a lot of work to do but together, they made a commitment to seek to eliminate negative behaviors that were hindering their personal and relational growth and to recommit to producing behaviors (like empathy, date nights, listening to each other) that would enhance their ability to be productive in their relationship.

If you were to create a “problem solving box” what behaviors would be inside of it? What behaviors would you simultaneously seek to eliminate?

Dr. Ken McGill 


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