Dialogue of intimacy

The Dialogue of Intimacy is the ability to effectively talk about feelings and listen to feelings.

Adults in the Secure category (majority of population) are:

  • This needs to be learned.
  • This needs to be practiced.
  • Use the dialogue when there is unresolved conflict.
    • Conflict Resolution has six steps:
      1. Openness
      2. Experiencing and expressing emotions. The most common one is anger.
        • There are 2 kinds of anger.
          1. Interpersonal anger
            • This is a secondary affect. Behind anger is pain, fear, shame or guilt.
          2. Intrapsychic or deep anger
            • Deep nonconscious anger that results from attachment traumas that have not been sufficiently repaired.
            • The fantasies attached to this can be violent.
      3. Working through anger
      4. The Dialogue of Intimacy
      5. Negotiation
      6. Compromise


Dialogue of Intimacy: An Exercise

  • Together, decide in advance the time, place, and the person who will talk about feelings and the person who will listen to feelings. The setting should be like that of a living room.
  • Set aside fifteen minutes or less on each day with one person talking and the other person listening for the entire time.
  • During this time, the couple must not engage in the four taboos of communication:
    1. No criticizing
    2. No defending
    3. No demanding
    4. No uncontrolled anger
  • It is more difficult to be a Listener than it is to be a Talker. This is because the Listener must put his or her feelings aside while listening to the Talker and the Listener is responsible for the process.
  • The Listener has four instruments:
    • Silence
    • Facilitating statements
    • Facilitating instructions
    • Questions
  • This is the primary instrument of the Listener, however, most people have to learn how to ask questions.
  • The Talker has no instrument. He or she only has free association. His or her job is to travel the pathway of talking about feelings. This involves four steps:
    • Describe an emotion.
    • Attach the emotion it to a person and event.
    • Take it back to your inner world and talk about your feelings about yourself but still attached to the external person.
    • Talk about your feelings about yourself detached from the external person.
  • At the end of the exercise there are two questions.
    • What did you hear me say?
    • Where we able to do it?
  • Finally, it is a good idea to audio or videotape these mini sessions.
  • After the couple has mastered this process to some degree, they can begin to do both the talking and listening exercise for both people at the same time on the same day.
  • This should be repeated for a total of two times per week.
  • Finally, the process should be expanded to include dealing with conflict as it arises in day-to-day living.
  • Now the structured exercises can be discontinued and only done on an ad hoc basis.


Why practice the Dialogue of Intimacy?

  • This skill is necessary for people to have a growing or Evolving Marriage that results in a good marriage.
  • A good marriage is the greatest gift parents can give to their children.
  • Self-esteem in a child is largely determined by the interest and ability parents have in talking and listening to their children.
  • Nobody teaches us how to talk about feelings and how to listen to feelings.
  • It is the job of parents and teachers to teach and teach and teach and teach this invaluable skill.
  • No other skill is as valuable in developing understand and helping to bring people together with love and peace.


Click to see example in Tom and Sarah Session 3, Chapter 2.