prof. Metka Kuhar, PhD
communication and relationships

Supporting quality communication and healthy relationships

Communication and relationships are essential for our health, personal happiness and satisfaction, as well as for our efficiency, work performance and any projects we take on. Sometimes we need professional support to establish communication and relationships that are more satisfactory, in both private and professional life. The support I provide is based on experience from different approaches, including: Marshal Rosenberg’s model of non-violent communication, somatic attachment according to Diane Heller, constellation work, couple therapy according to the Learning love model, as well as my own academic work to date.

Support for communication and interpersonal relations may comprise:

  • komunikacija in odnosirecognising communication and relationship patterns, defensive reactions and strategies which the client uses in communication and with their relationship partners, as well as how to overcome such responses;
  • increasing awareness of, feel and (self-empathically) accept the wounds we all carry inside and which lead us into dysfunctional communication and behavioural patterns; understanding the stories behind these wounds in order to gradually set ourselves free from the past;
  • learning conscious communication which is grounded in our own feelings and needs, while being emphatic to the feelings and needs of others;
  • learning how to set our own limits, become assertive and determined,
  • cultivating empathy and dialogue;
  • deepening the capacity for connection, intimacy and closeness.

komuniciranje in odnosiIn doing so, it is important to take into account the role our early relationships played in shaping us, as well as our later relational experiences. During our childhood, most of us go through adverse experiences, such as rejection, lack of warmth, limits imposed on our vital energies, criticism, judgment, comparison, abuse, etc. In facing these situations, people develop different survival strategies. We may limit our own vitality and make ourselves small. We may distract ourselves with different addictions. We may be quarrelsome, combative or withdraw from people. We may be seductive, charming or always on the lookout for some action. In interactions, we might subconsciously control, judge, manipulate others and attempt to change them or we play a victim, constantly complain, etc. There is no end to diverse response strategies. We are usually not aware of such strategies and defense mechanisms, because we use them automatically. However, our protective shield hides deep sadness, resentment, despair, powerlessness, emptiness, anger, rage and similar feelings.

The first step on the path to change is to give space to such unpleasant feelings. In doing so, the reasons for our defensive reactions are usually revealed. They arise from the aforementioned experience of disregard, the burden of expectations or demands, the lack of love, intrusiveness, repression, etc. The next step is strengthening the awareness of what triggers defense responses in us, and assuming responsibility for own experience (for the uncertainties, our fears, lack of trust, pain, etc.). Only from accepting and owning our own vulnerability can we begin to consciously communicate, without criticising others and attempting to change them, whilst clearly asserting the qualities we want to live for.

Description of the session and the expected effects

I assist clients to recognise, understand and (bodily) experience defensive reactions, pain and discomfort, which are connected with a specific communication situation or relationship. The therapeutic work is based on processing the sensations, feelings etc. which occur in connection thereof in the here and now. This helps strengthen not only self-awareness, but also awareness of others and empathy towards them. The result is an empowered, determined, assertive and, at the same time, compassionate communication, as well as increased inner clarity and improved self-image in relationships.

I offer sessions also via Skype.


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