Island of Shared Meaning (ISM) Communication
Foundational to all relationships is communication, not any kind of communication but communication that creates shared coherent meaning.
The Power of ISM Communication in Strengthening Relationships
People are complex and communication is hard. Getting an idea from one person to another without a defensive response is no easy feat, especially when the stakes are high and the idea has the potential to escalate emotions. Yet effective communication is the cornerstone of strong relationships and hot topics can’t be avoided forever. Effective communication allows individuals to understand each other, work through conflicts, and build trust. The statistics on divorce underscore how difficult communication is. There is a 50% chance of divorce for couples who are marrying today. The odds of divorce actually rise in second and third marriages with 60% and 73% of those marriages ending in divorce. What is going on? It seems like there is something drastically missing in people’s efforts to sustain relationships. The ISM Communication model believes the answer is the lack of shared coherent meaning, which is the result of effective communication.
Shared coherent thinking and acting emerge when there is a flow of meaning. This meaning starts with allowing many views without judgment or defensiveness. The opposite of shared coherent meaning is unshared, incoherent meaning. This is where individuals unwaveringly hold onto their personal opinions, biases, and judgments without any room for other viewpoints. This stance is embedded in the self-defense mechanisms of our biological heritage, which is the source of incoherence. The ISM Communication system promotes shared meaning and uses strategic tools, based on brain science, to minimize the defense responses that cause unshared incoherent meaning.
“Dialogue is not meant to resolve differences. Dialogue is meant to allow differences.” – Pastor Clement
How Island of Shared Meaning (ISM) Improves Communication and Strengthens Relationships
To navigate the complexities of communication in the quickest way possible a skilled guide, solid theory, and practical tools are needed. The ISM (Island of Shared Meaning) communication model delivers in all these areas. It is the fastest and most effective system for improving communication. Our therapists and coaches have used it with couples and families from all walks of life to foster shared coherent meaning, rebuild trust, and help relationships thrive.
Once the ISM system is in place and implemented, withdrawals from emotional bank accounts are minimized to almost zero and deposits occur regularly. We have worked with neurotypical and neurodiverse couples and the feedback is the same – the simplicity of the ISM model aligns so well with brain science that it just makes sense.
From Theory to Practice
Once the ISM communication theory is learned we move on to what can be the most difficult part of the work – implementation. How do we move from theory to practice, from orthodoxy to orthopraxis? The short answer is tools and accountability. The ISM communication system delivers concrete, practical tools such as visually engaging handouts with clear examples and scripts. We even have a mobile app and other apps that can be used to implement the ISM system. But the most powerful implementation concept is social accountability and this is the reason why working with your therapist or coach, who is trained with ISM Communication, is so critical.
After each session with your provider you will be tasked to do some research, to gather some data, to do a social experiment. The ISM Communication process is not about blaming but learning. The data which is gathered from the social experiments help you and your provider learn how to apply ISM Communication to your relationship. This knowledge, combined with the ISM theory and tools sets the stage for your journey of healing, growth, and building a relationship that thrives.
“If you always do what you’ve always done then you will always get what you always got.”
A Safe Space is Priority One
Island of Shared Meaning Communication creates a safe space for couples and families to be transparent, vulnerable, and authentic. This allows individuals to identify underlying needs and expectations so that everyone feels Respected, Acknowledged, and Validated (RAV). With regular practice, Island of Shared Meaning Communication fosters meaningful conversations and builds a foundation of trust. Island of Shared Meaning Communication is an invaluable tool that can build the foundation necessary to create relationships that thrive.
Get started sooner than later because change is hard and growth is optional...
Change is hard, choices tend towards paths of least resistance, and we get comfortable with habits and relational patterns we know well. This is why taking action sooner than later is the best path forward to build lives that flourish and relationships that thrive. Our team of expert therapists and coaches can help with insight, accountability, guidance, and the right support for your specific needs.