Ahh, Soothing Connection


Valentine’s Day is fast approaching…have you laid the groundwork for the best day ever?

Day 6: Verbal Stroke

Ever heard of a verbal stroke? Dr. David Burns, MD, introduced me to this fabulous idea in his excellent book, Feeling Good Together. When you physically stroke someone you care about on the arm or shoulder, what happens? They usually feel soothed and comforted in a warm and connecting way.

So, what is a verbal stroke? It’s something you say to make an honest connection, even when you’re having some tension or see the world in a very different way. For example, if your child really wants to go to a party, but you decide to say no because you don’t feel good about where it is or how it is being chaperoned, you could follow up with a stroking comment like this, “Even though we disagree about the party, I’m glad we can talk about it and that you know I love you and trust you.”

Think who you love and care about who could use an honest and sincere verbal stroke from you.

Practice. If you aren’t used to giving verbal strokes, it can be tricky to think one up on the spur of the moment, so give it a little practice. Remember, it needs to be honest, or they’ll see right through you and it won’t be effective. And it needs to be warm and kind, even though you disagree.

Now go and do it! Whether you disagree about politics, sports, music or chores, give someone you care about a verbal stroke and see how it opens the door to mutual respect and strengthens your relationship.



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