How Can an OuchKit Help Me?
When people are mad, sad, hurt or scared, they do one of three things really well. They fight. They flee. Or they freeze. These reflexes work great, if you're a pit bull, a gazelle, or a rabbit. But if you're like most people, these defensive behaviors won't get you very far in your personal and professional relationships.
The OuchKit is a simple but elegant tool that will teach you how to calm yourself down when you're in a crisis, and identify and express your feelings --without defensiveness, shame, or blame. With practice, you can transform your relationships simply by changing how you respond when your internal alarm goes off, and how you express your feelings to others.
Who's it for?
The OuchKit was designed for couples, but it works great with kids, too -- at home or in the classroom. It's for anyone who wants to improve communication and take their relationships to the next level.
The cards work great anytime, but they work MAGIC when you've got something to say but aren't ready to say it face-to-face.
How it works
It's simple. You get a strong feeling and fill out the back of whichever card suits your mood. Next, you leave the card where your partner is sure to find it. Then your partner responds with another card -- whichever one feels right.
There are six kinds of cards in your kit: Ouch, Sorry, Thanks, You're Welcome, I've Been Wondering, and Now That You Mention it. The cards were designed to work together. One card suggests another. For example, if you give someone an Ouch card, chances are you'll receive a Sorry card in response.
You can exchange as few or as many cards as you want, in any order that works for you. Just make sure you don't avoid cards you don't like. The one you start out thinking is dumb or unnecessary, often turns out to be the very card you need practice giving.
Keep exchanging cards until you are both feeling better.
Here are examples of some of the most common exchange sequences:
For the first few days, start by only exchanging Thanks and You're Welcome cards. Most couples are amazed at how fast their relationship starts to feel better once they start showing appreciation for each other. And feel free to include your kids in the process. Some of the most amazing cards I've seen were written by kids.
Don't avoid the Ouch and Sorry cards. They're the backbone of The OuchKit.
After you've laid down a foundation of good will, try adding I've Been Wondering and Now That You Mention It cards. I've Been Wondering is great for testing the waters when you're not sure what's going on with your partner, and you're afraid to ask directly.
Once you're comfortable with the first four cards, add Ouch and Sorry. Neither one is easy to give or receive, but don't avoid them. Learning to express hurt feelings respectfully and apologize wholeheartedly is critical to building intimacy and trust in a relationship.
Copyright © 2013 Betsy Sansby, MS, Licensed Marriage & Family Therapist