Delaware Relationship Counselor: Practice the Skill of Mirroring

October 10, 2013 by

A lot of people seek out the help of a Delaware relationship counselor because they are experiencing a conflict with their partner and just can’t understand their partner’s perspective. They’ll claim that marriage issues are coming up because they feel like their partner has changed or has started picking fights out of the blue. The true reason behind most of these marriage issues, though, is that we go into a relationship with ideas of who a person is, and it’s only later that we begin to see all that person’s complexities. This causes us to realize that they’re not always going to do what we expect or want all of the time, and this can be an unpleasant surprise.

However, these differences between expectation and reality don’t have to spell the end of a long-term relationship.  It’s possible to work through conflicts with your partner and better understand where they’re coming from by practicing the skill of mirroring.

What is Mirroring? Delaware Relationship Counselor Explains

Mirroring in the context of a relationship involves repeating what your partner has said so that you can better understand their true meaning. This absolutely does not mean doing a sarcastic imitation of your partner or throwing their words back at them in a hurtful way. In fact, if you don’t think you can neutrally repeat your partner’s words in the heat of the moment, you should wait to calm down before practicing mirroring. If you do feel ready to practice mirroring, here is what you can do:

Listen first. Pay close attention to what your partner is saying; don’t interrupt. This is one of the hardest things to learn, but a Delaware relationship counselor can help.

Restate. Tell your partner that you want to make sure you understand what they’re saying, and that repeating what they’ve just said back to them will help. Ask them if you got the restatement right.

Give your partner a chance to elaborate. If your partner says that you got what they said wrong, give them a chance to re-explain. If they say you got it right, gently ask if there’s more they’d like to add.

Share your perspective. Once your partner feels they’ve said all they need to say, go ahead and explain how you feel about the conflict. Try to be as clear as possible, and don’t just cast blame onto your partner.

Mirroring requires a lot of patience, and it can take time to get good at it. If you and your partner practice this skill, though, you’ll be better prepared to confront marriage issues as they come up. And if you’d like more advice on how to incorporate mirroring into your relationship, consider visiting a Delaware relationship counselor. I know that I would be glad to talk to you and your partner about this form of dialoguing.


Walt Ciecko, Ph. D., BCB
1301 North Harrison Street, Suite 101
Wilmington, DE 19806
302-429-0195 Ext 1