Uncommon Therapy
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Meeting of Two

The Meeting of Two originated with Recovering Couples Anonymous.


This version is one I developed from that which avoids the 12-Step terminology used in the original.


The basic idea behind this techniques is that most people in a relationship have a balanced view of problems -- they accept that while the other person's actions, choices, or words may be the focal point of the immediate problem, there is likely more going on than just that.  They are aware of chance, their own part in things, and possible influences or legitimate factors influencing the other person.


Typically these never get expressed because the person who has "done the deed" feels instantly attacked and jumps to the defensive, interrupting the other person almost immediately.


This leads to defensiveness on both sides, and a hardening of positions -- and frequently to an argument that slides into personal attacks that neither party feels good about afterward.


Such an outcome usually also means that the original issue never gets resolved in any meaningful way.




Here is how a Meeting of Two works:


  • Both people look at this process when times are calm and agree to give it a try in the future.                                     .
  • When a problem next develops, one person says that they want a Meeting of Two, and asks the other person if this is an OK time to do so.  The other person can agree or can defer (for any reason, they do not have to justify why), but you both must determine a time agreeable to both of you within the next two days.  If there is no "better time," the meeting happens now.                                                                      .
  • The first person states what their concern is.  They have up to 15 minutes to talk about it.  During this time the other person listens WITHOUT COMMENT, INTERRUPTION, or ATTEMPTS TO CLARIFY.  As much as possible they are to avoid NON-VERBAL interruptions as well - making noises, rolling eyes, sighing, etc.  This is often hard, but it is essential.  The goal here is to LISTEN, not converse as usual.                                       .
  • After the first person has spoken, the situation is reversed.  The other person now has up to 15 minutes to state their thoughts. feelings, and projections about the issue or situation.  The first person listens without comment, interruption, or attempts to clarify - verbal or non-verbal.                                                  .
  • When the second person has finished, the first person has up to 7 minutes to reply.  The same rules for listening apply.  After they are done, the other person then also has up to 7 minutes.                                .
  • The two people now can talk about this together if they so desire, but if either party does not want to discuss things further at this time they can decline to do so.                     .
  • However, if there is no resolution to the situation at this point, another time must be agreed upon to discuss this further, and this time be set no later than three days later.  Alternately, the parties can agree to both discuss this situation with the same third party, such as a counselor, trusted friend or relative, either alone or together.  Arrangements for doing so must be made before the end of he next business day.


Remember that the goal you share is that the relationship benefits from what you are doing.  When a relationship problem happens, it is best resolved by BOTH of you working TOGETHER on the common goal of making this better.  Try to avoid seeing this as only one person's responsibility to fix.


Please use the links below to my articles on determining the other person's real intention, on form and meaning, and on personal realities to help you with this.




Larry Moen, LPC

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