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The OuchKit: A First-Aid Kit for Your Relationships


By Betsy Sansby (2004)

Brain researchers have found that when people are scared, hurt, or angry, they're physiologically incapable of thinking straight. That’s why Betsy Sansby, a licensed marriage and family therapist, created The OuchKit. The OuchKit is an ingenious communication tool that teaches people how to talk about even the most difficult subjects, under even the most stressful conditions--without defensiveness or blame. They learn to disengage when they’re upset, calm themselves down, and express themselves clearly and respectfully. The 36-card kit contains six kinds of exchangeable cards: Ouch, Sorry, Thanks, You’re Welcome, I’ve Been Wondering, and Now That You Mention It. On the back of each card are fill-in-the-blank questions and checklists of emotions that help people identify their feelings and express them from a safe distance when they’re not ready to talk face-to-face. The tool works especially well with men, because it helps them find the words they often lack to describe exactly what they're feeling. Although The OuchKit was originally designed as a homework tool for couples in Sansby's therapy practice, it's now being used in schools, treatment centers, and the workplace to increase emotional fluency, teach conflict resolution skills, and help people develop greater compassion.

Tags: Relationships, Communication, Couples, Marriage, For Therapists, For Consumers