Comments: Communicating Collaboratively in Cyberspace: What Couples Counselors Can Teach Dispute Resolvers About Email

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Elaine Silver, Lake Mary (Orlando) FL  ESilver@SilverDivorce.com     01/02/08
Your article was TERRIFIC! ^)^ One thing it didn't mention was that people who know each other well, such as couples who are in the process of divorce, will read tone of voice into the emails that they receive from each other. Unfortunately, when the couple is already in conflict, the assumed inflection tends to be negative. I now make it a point, when discussing email correspendence, to caution people in advance about this habit. One other standard suggestion is that people re-read their emails 3 times before hitting the send button, and NEVER send an email in anger. Thanks for your insightful article. Elaine Silver

Mary  Schrey,MFT, Lafayette Ca  mschrey@astound.net     12/19/07
The Use of Email in Couples Work
This article was a great help to organize and synthesize what I often tell conflicted couples I work with. Just copying me on their emails can reduce the conflict and force them to manage their emotional content better. I especially liked your inclusion of specific ways to structure the emnail message and was grateful for the research on communicating meaning.

Sue  Bronson, Milwaukee WI  sbronson@wi.rr.com     11/27/07
Clarification
Hi David I appreciate your article and your ability to clearly set out the issues and provide examples so it is easy to apply. My intention in writing is to add clarity to your final example (“Dear Sarah … p 7) and increase our understanding of the important communication skills of observations and feelings. You identified “Thinking about the tension…” [italics added] as an observation. Observations are what we see and hear such as higher volume voices, abrupt speech pattern, glares, and specific comments. We often add our interpretation so quickly to the data that we forget that others have a different interpretation of the same behaviors. What is tension to one may be “the way we talk” to another. Noting, “the parties were expressing strongly felt emotions” is not the same as identifying the underlying emotions. Rosenberg would want you to actually identify the emotions such as enraged, contempt, resentful, disappointed, despair, or humiliation. From here, the reader can know that you understood or offer a correction. I hope these nuances help us all to write better emails and listen more closely to the full conversation. Thanks for the article!

Jamie Santana, Milwaukee WI  peaceworksmediation@yahoo.com     11/19/07
Great Insight
This article addresses such an important and current topic. I found it helpful to have the various aspects of what we have all experienced in e-mail communications identified and detailed. It provides a check-list of sorts when considering the kinds of messages one sends.