Translating You-Messages Into I-Messages

Dr. Daniel Wile’s goal in Collaborative Couples Therapy is to take fights and turn them into intimate conversations. Psychologist Thomas Gordon described it as taking “you-messages” and turning them into “I-messages,” or focusing on describing how you feel rather than accusing the other person. It is easily possible to include a you-message within an I-message, saying, “When you come late, I feel hurt,” for example. The complaint in this statement is less inflammatory than it could otherwise have been stated, which is a positive, and it still serves an important purpose of limiting the complaint by blocking exaggeration that is often included in a typical accusatory you-message.

 

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