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That's what therapist and communications expert Sharon Ellison concluded after thirty years of studying how people interact. For centuries, verbal communication has been based on a "war model", with the same rules we use in physical combat -- gain power over others and defend ourselves at all costs. We create needless conflict, and find ourselves drawn into power struggles even when we try to avoid them.
Don't Be So Defensive describes the defensive model that unwittingly squelches effective communication. Then it "takes the war out of our words" by offering an alternative system, powerful non-defensive communication, that disarms our instincts for reacting defensively and helps us become more confident and competent. The model Ellison reveals in her book shows readers how to use basic communication tools nondefensively and then offers easy-to-follow techniques for practicing them. Her examples cover a wide variety of situations in intimate relationships, parent-child relationships, and professional relationships.
The '80s and '90s brought ns dozens of books on "new" methods of communicating, but they do not fully depart from the basic war model because most hinge on mutual cooperation and revert to defensive interactions if someone does not cooperate. The detailed system within Ellison's book offers the freedom to communicate effectively without being dependent on the other person's cooperation. Equally important, this is truly a process that can be adapted to individual personalities -- not a script that must be followed to the letter.
The communication approach Ellison reveals in her book is a proven-effective model she has beenteaching for years. Don't Be So Defensive gives us the tools needed to replace the war model with a communication model that's both peaceful and powerful.
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