Sep 29, 2010

What is the Value of Clear Self-Disclosure?

The Value of Clear Self-Disclosure

When you communicate clearly you are telling others about yourself. Therefore, you want to be:
  • open
  • direct
  • honest
  • real
  • straight
  • genuine
  • clear
  • upfront
You want to give accurate information about you.

You want to share how things are really going for you.

You want to express your real thoughts and feelings.

You want to avoid blaming others or telling them what they should or shouldn't do.*

*Excerpt from Dr. Thomas Gordon's F.E.T. Young Adult Resource Book

Sep 28, 2010

Have You Checked the Results?


There are Six Steps of the "No-Lose Method". After going through the first five steps, Step 6: Checking The Results is important to make certain everyone's needs have been met and the solutions from Method III conflict resolution turns out to be the best.

It's not always the case that all solutions from Method III conflict resolution turn out that way. Sometimes you or the other will discover weaknesses in the solution that will require modification or rejection for a better solution.

It is important to seek out the other's feelings about the solutions as well as to keep in touch with your feelings about the conflict resolution results.

Both of you should have an understanding that decisions are always open for mutually acceptable revisions.

Sometimes those new to Method III will discover that they have overcommitted themselves--in their enthusiasm they agreed to do too much or the impossible. Be sure to keep the door open for revision if this happens.


Your best tools for effective No-Lose Conflict Resolution will always be:
  • Active Listening
  • Clear and Honest Sending of Your Needs with Non-Blameful I-Messages
  • Trust and Respect for the Needs of the Other
  • Openness to Changing Facts and Feelings
  • An Unwillingness to Let Method III Fail
  • Entering Method III Without Fixed Solutions
  • Refusal to Revert to Method I or II*
*Excerpt from Dr. Thomas Gordon's F.E.T. Adult Resource Book

Sep 21, 2010

Want To Learn More About GTI and PET?

Who is GTI and what does GTI offer?

Gordon Training International was established in 1962 by Dr. Thomas Gordon. We are a human relations training organization and we offer workshops, trainer certification and books - all based on the Gordon Model. We are now in 48 countries. To contact us, please email us at

Who is Dr. Thomas Gordon?

He was the founder of Gordon Training International and the author of the following books:

  • Parent Effectiveness Training
  • P.E.T. in Action
  • Leader Effectiveness Training
  • Teacher Effectiveness Training
  • Sales Effectiveness Training
  • Teaching Children Self-Discipline (renamed,"Discipline That Works")

      You can learn more about him on this site by clicking here:

      To order any of these books, please visit our secure on-line store:

      What is the Gordon Model?

      The Gordon Model consists of using all the following skills in conjunction with each other -- Active Listening, I-Messages, The Communication Roadblocks, Shifting Gears, and Method III Conflict Resolution. It was devised by Dr. Thomas Gordon in 1962. We teach this model, using The Behavior Window as a guide to use what skill at what time, in all of our workshops.

      How do I buy books by Dr. Gordon?

      You can purchase books written by Dr. Thomas Gordon (Founder of Gordon Training International, author of P.E.T., L.E.T., T.E.T., etc.) You can also purchase books by Linda Adams (President of Gordon Training International, author of Be Your Best and Effectiveness Training for Women) through our online store Have an iPod or MP3 player? Audio versions of the L.E.T. and P.E.T. books are available on iTunes and

      Do you have a general workshop on the Gordon Model?

      Absolutely! Linda Adams, President and CEO of Gordon Training International, developed "Be Your Best", a personal development program, which teaches you how to become more effective and take responsibility in both your personal and professional lives. In addition to the communication skills and conflict resolution methods taught, this course offers training in assertive skills, how to handle anxiety, and how to set goals for becoming more fulfilled. To find a Be Your Best Workshop near you, please email us at

      Parent Effectiveness Training (P.E.T.)

      Where can I find a P.E.T. Workshop?

      We train and certify independent P.E.T. Instructors who set their own scheduling, pricing and location. You can find a current P.E.T. Workshop Calendar by clicking here or by emailing us

      What will I learn in P.E.T.?

      The P.E.T. workshop consists of brief lectures, demonstrations, workbook exercises, role-playing, some homework and small group discussion. You will learn the following skills based on the Gordon Model, taught by a certified P.E.T. Instructor:

      - How to talk to your children so that they will listen to you.
      - How to listen to your children so they feel genuinely understood.
      - How to resolve conflicts and problems in your family so that no one loses and problems stay solved.
      - A method for troubleshooting family problems and knowing which skills to use to solve them.

      How can I become a P.E.T. Instructor?

      It's easy as 1, 2, 3!

      Step 1 - You can complete a P.E.T. Workshop, read the P.E.T. book or complete self-study pre-work. Contact us for more information: 800.628.1197 or email us

      Step 2 - Successfully complete the instructor training process.Click here for more information on how you can become certified to teach P.E.T!

      Step 3 - Teach a P.E.T. Workshop; submit the participant evaluations to Gordon Training for review for final approval and instructor certification.

      Ready to get started? Great! Please e-mail us for more information on how to enroll and to receive an

    1. Sep 20, 2010

      Active Listening

      Active Listening

      Many people think that they can get rid of their feelings by suppressing them, forgetting them, or thinking about something else. Actually, people free themselves of trouble-some feelings when they are encouraged to express them openly. Active Listening fosters this kind of catharsis.

      Just like in this Baby Blues comic, the daughter is expressing to her father that she wishes her hair were like her friends (Wren’s), but as she continues to explain what kind of hair she wishes to have, her Dad “Active Listens” and feeds back to her that his daughter wishes she had the hair she already has. Which then she exclaims, “Yeah…Exactly!”

      It helps children to find out exactly what they are feeling. After they express their feelings, the feelings often seem to disappear almost like magic.

      Active Listening helps children become less afraid of negative feelings. “Feelings are friendly” is an expression we use in our classes to help parents come to realize feelings are not “bad.” When a parent shows by Active Listening that he accepts a child’s feelings, the child is also helped to accept them. He learns from the parent’s response that feelings are friendly.

      Active Listening promotes a relationship of warmth between parent and child. The experience of being heard and understood by another person is so satisfying that it invariably makes the sender feel warm toward the listener. Children, particularly, respond with loving ideas and feelings. Similar feelings are evoked within the listener—he begins to feel warmer and closer to the sender. When one listens empathically and accurately to another, he gets to understand that person, to appreciate his way of looking at the world—in a sense, he becomes that person during the period of putting himself in his shoes. Invariably, by allowing oneself to “get inside” the other person, one produces feelings of closeness, caring and love. To empathize with another is to see him as a separate person, yet be willing to join with him for a brief period in his journey through life. Such an act involves deep caring and love. Parent who learn empathic Active Listening discover a new kind of appreciation and respect, a deeper feeling of caring; in turn, the child responds to the parent with similar feelings.

      Active Listening facilitates problem-solving by the child. We know that people do a better job of thinking a problem through and toward a solution when they can “talk it out” as opposed to merely thinking about it. Because Active Listening is so effective in facilitating talking, it helps a person in his search for solutions to his problems. Everybody had heard such expressions as “let me use you as a sounding board” or “I’d like to kick this problem around with you” or “maybe it would help me to talk it out with you.”

      Active Listening influences the child to be more willing to listen to the parents’ thoughts and ideas. It is a universal experience that when someone will listen to one’s own point of view, it is then easier to listen to his. Children are more likely to open themselves up to receive their parents’ messages if their parents first hear them out. When parents complain that their kids don’t listen to them, it’s a good bet that the parents are not doing an effective job of listening to the kids.

      Active Listening “keeps the ball with the child.” When parent respond to their kids’ problems b Active Listening, they will observe how often kids start thinking for themselves. A child will start to analyze his problem on his own, eventually arriving at some constructive solutions. Active Listening conveys trust, while messages of advice, logic, instruction, and the like convey distrust by taking over the problem-solving responsibility from the child. Active Listening is therefore one of the most effective ways of helping a child become more self-directing, self-responsible, and independent.*

      *Active Listening excerpt from Dr. Thomas Gordon's P.E.T. Book

      Sep 7, 2010

      Benefits You Can Look Forward To

      Many young people who have learned the Gordon Model of building democratic relationships have willingly shared the benefits and rewards they have experienced.

      They always begin by talking about their own family:
      • "When my Mom and Dad and I don't agree on everything, it (the skills) really helps because we don't let things get out of control and everyone's feelings are less likely to get hurt."
      • "I have learned not to yell as much and have learned to be patient until finding a compromise."
      • "I know what to do when an argument starts."
      • "I can now talk to my parents about anything, and I know they will listen without preaching--even if what I tell them might upset them or disappoint them."
      • "My friends find it hard to believe that I have really good relationship with both of my parents."
      • "I feel that my parents are my best friends."
      • "Nobody in my family is the boss."
      These young people also describe the benefits they have received in their relationships with their friends or at work:
      • "All my friends know they can come to me with any kind of problem and get heard. They know I am a good Active Listener."
      • "I know that any conflict that comes up with my friends can be resolved using the skills I've learned."
      • "I'm able to distance myself from my friends' problems and let them be the owners of their problems."
      • "The training has made me a better problem-solver when things go wrong in my life. I know how to brainstorm."
      There is one final benefit you may not be aware of. Young people, like yourself, raise in a non-punitive and democratic family will themselves to create such a family when they marry and have children. Then those children will do the same, and the next generation of children will follow, and so on.

      Can you see that you can make a valuable contribution to society? In successive generations there will be more and more young people like yourself and more and more democratic families. You will be helping create a whole "new species" of young people, clearly different from the typical youth of today. There will be fewer acts of injustice and violence, few juvenile delinquents, fewer divorces, and so on.

      In short, you can now contribute to our society by being one of the people who makes democracy a way of life.*

      *Excerpt from Dr. Thomas Gordon's F.E.T. Young Adult Resource Book

      Sep 1, 2010

      Why Is Conflict a Good Thing?

      Why Conflict is a Good Thing

      By Linda Adams, President of GTI

      Conflicts between people are a normal, natural and inevitable part of life--at work, at home and in all our relationships with others. Unfortunately, most of us don't really accept this fact and we still get surprised and distressed when it's clear that a conflict has emerged.

      As long as everything is going along smoothly, it's easy to be considerate and respectful of another person's needs. They are in no way interfering with our own. But the emergence of a conflict can change all that--now we can feel threatened, anxious and angry. The same person whom we enjoyed working with yesterday now seems like an adversary. That's because of our vast, past experience with conflict, most of which was negative.

      We have a negative attitude toward conflict primarily because we haven't learned constructive ways to deal with it--in fact, the converse is true: we have learned destructive ways of handling conflict. As children, as students and as employees (and too often as spouses) we have experienced losing in a conflict because parents, teachers and bosses use/d their power to win at our expense. Even though we know the feelings of resentment, anger, dislike, even hostility that we experience as a result of losing, the win-lose posture is deeply ingrained and when we get in positions where we have power over people, we often choose to win at their expense.

      A great deal of research shows the damaging effects that win-lose conflict resolution has on interpersonal relationships. It creates distance, separation, dislike, even hatred. It's the main reason people leave their jobs for new ones and marriages break up.

      Viewing Conflict as Constructive

      How conflicts get resolved is the critical factor in any relationship. In fact, it is the most critical factor in determining whether a relationship will be healthy or unhealthy, mutually satisfying or unsatisfying, friendly or unfriendly, deep or shallow, intimate or cold.

      As most of us are aware, there is an alternative to the win-lose posture. It's often been called "win-win" or "no-lose" because the goal is to find a solution to the conflict that meets the needs of both people. Resolving conflicts this way requires three important attitudes and behaviors: 1) the attitude that conflict in general presents the opportunity for constructive change; 2) the willingness to engage in the process of mutually searching for a solution that meets the needs of both people; 3) the communication and problem solving skills that it takes to make this win-win method work. Too often, people want to resolve conflicts this way, but either are not truly willing in their heart of hearts to work for a mutually-acceptable solution or do not have the skills required to work together to find one. When this occurs, the win-win method is doomed to failure.

      "Let's Keep Talking"

      When you're in conflict with another person, you both are usually aware of it at some level. There's a sense of disruption, unease, something is not right. The communication between you might change, perhaps becoming superficial or terse. Or there's silence.

      Once you're aware that you're in conflict, what you do next really matters. Acknowledge that a conflict exists. Very often, we decide not to acknowledge this hoping that the conflict will somehow go away or resolve itself. That rarely happens. Only when conflicts are brought out into the open, do they have the chance of being dealt with effectively.

      And as I just mentioned, dealing with conflict effectively requires skills--skills that are proven to work, sometimes like magic. When you have these skills, the idea of facing conflicts with others is not nearly so daunting, and in fact can be stimulating and energizing. (There are very few intractable problems to which there are no mutually-acceptable solutions.)

      Dialogue is the key element in constructive conflict resolution. Dialogue is made up of two very different communication skills, both of which are essential--listening with empathy and non-blameful self-disclosure. As Reuel Howe states in his book, The Miracle of Dialogue: " must be mutual and proceed from both sides, and the parties to it must persist relentlessly...when two persons undertake it and accept their fear of doing so, the miracle-working power of dialogue may be released."

      The importance of listening with empathy to the other person's needs, feelings and beliefs cannot be overstated. This means experiencing what it feels like to be in the other person's shoes at that moment and then reflecting what you hear back to them to check whether you understood correctly. This can be very difficult to do especially when you have strong opposing viewpoints or feelings, but it's possible when you're truly intent on understanding. Something amazing happens when people feel understood and accepted at a deep level. Their need to hold onto their preconceived solution to the conflict often dissipates. And often their strong emotional feelings subside.

      The other essential part of dialogue is non-blameful self-disclosure. Now it's your turn to talk about your needs and disclose your feelings without blaming the other person. Ideally, they will be committed to listening empathically to you, to put themselves in your shoes, to experience your reality. When that happens, you too can feel catharsis, and be more open to finding a mutually-satisfying solution. Once the basic needs of each person are clearly defined and understood, moving through the other steps needed to find a solution can be done in a climate of mutual consideration and respect.

      Having positive conflict resolution experiences like these are both rewarding and reinforcing. And that's a great thing.