Blocks to Communication

When blocks are created the communication has little chance of being resolved, as the conflict is often over the barrier not the issue. Comunication blocks act as diversions from the presented problem.

Judging Type:

These are the communication blocks that allow one another to personally attack each other and then let the conflict focus on the attack, not the problem. Some examples:

  • Criticizing
  • Name calling
  • Diagnosing (“Your problem is….”)

Sending Solution Type:

These communication blocks give the message that “You know best.” In turn, they minimize the issue and make the other feel intimidated, not worthy, and often very defensive.

  • Ordering
  • Threatening
  • Moralizing
  • Excessive questioning

Avoidance Type:

These communication blocks completely avoid the issue, but sound like they may be addressing the issue. Typically, bringing up old issues to attack someone diverts the conversation and solving the problem at hand.

  • Diverting talk
  • Logical argument (“If you would have done a+b+c, this wouldn’t be an issue.”) Such a statement minimizes how the other is feeling and gives the message you are correct in how to handle it. Remember, hindsight is 20/20.
  • Reassuring (“It will be okay.” While this sounds good, it does not address the issue.)


Pick out those communication blocks you find yourself doing and list how you do it. List options for dealing with the barrier in a different way.

reprinted courtesy of Tracy Todd, Ph.D., LMFT- Brief Therapy Institute of Denver.