Amanda Dounis [psychotherapist] interviews Toni Langford [counsellor] on couples relationships and communication.

Couples relationships and communication is a very important topic, relevant to many individuals through most of their lives.

Codes are used to indicate speaker:

A = Amanda 

T = Toni

So here is the transcript:


And a warm welcome to today’s listeners. Allow me to introduce myself as the host of Today’s episode. 

My name is Amanda Dounis and I am the founder of the positive thinking clinic located at Wolli Creek, Sydney. Here at the positive thinking clinic, I see clients of all ages. 

I see individuals, couples, families, and small groups. I conduct psychotherapy and use a variety of modalities delivered through counselling techniques and hypnotherapy.

I am a professional counsellor a clinical hypnotherapist and strategic psychotherapist. I’m an early childhood teacher and an NLP master practitioner.

To learn more about what I do and what I offer, visit my website www.posititivethinkingclinic.com.au. The easiest way to connect with me on social media is to search my name. Amanda Dounis or my clinic, positive thinking clinic. You may also access my social media at the bottom of my web site.

I am the author of my coping skills handbook aimed at kids 8 to 12 years of age. I have also turned this into an online course. 

I have a range of podcasts that can be found on amandadounis.podbean.com  In addition to the positive thinking clinic I am the owner of four early learning centers. I am passionate about quality care and emotional wellness of all ages. I believe we set the foundation for emotional wellness from a very young age.

My early learning centers are licensed as positive living skills services. I also have an emotional wellness & kids Facebook group. 

One of my greatest hobbies is learning. I think I am always enrolled in a variety of courses no matter how small. I enjoy adding to my skill set as an integrated therapist. I learn diverse skills and select the best fit for any situation. 


If you wonder if I have any other hobbies I am also into fitness.

I have run a number of marathons including two ultra marathons.

 So that’s me in a nutshell. If you wanted to get in touch you can use the contact form on my website positivethinkingclinic.com.au I would love to hear from you. 

Signing out and moving forward, you’re listening to Amanda Dounis. 

Joining us today is Tony Langford from TLC [Tony Langford counselling] and she is a Gymea based counselling and clinical supervision service. She offers face to face, and zoom counselling, and supervision, to individuals couples families and groups. 

Tony’s passion is relationship problems and issues. She likes educating people to understand what the other person is saying and not to put their feelings or their filters and perspectives on what they think that they are hearing.


The key to a good or even great communication is not to be a good talker. Toni says it is to be a good or even greater listener. 

Since 2005 Toni has been helping people deal with their day to day lives, supporting them to find better ways of communicating. 

She has also run emotional eating workshops through most of southern Sydney’s curves women’s health centres, as well as providing clinical supervision and mentoring for counsellors and hypnotherapists, either face to face, zoom, or groups.

Communication starts with understanding ourselves first says Toni.

If we can’t understand or identify with what we want, how can anyone else understand us. Once we have that clarity, understanding what other people are saying is the next step. Communication is a gift not a weapon. Yet we are all guilty of using it to hurt and to wound, simplifying and debunking how we all communicate. And yes there will be generalizations. Communication is the base of any good relationship especially the one with ourselves.

It’s not rocket science says Toni. If a dog and cat can happily live together then why can’t two people of the same species do the same? Why can’t they get along without fighting?


As a counsellor, Toni’s role is to become redundant once someone has reconnected with their own internal strengths and coping strategies. Then she says she should no longer be needed when they have struggles in the future. They now have plans and skills to use. Instead of having to involve others.

You can find out more about Toni Langford on www.TLCounselling.com.au

She does face to face sessions at Gymea. You can locate her at twitter and Facebook: TLC Tony Langford counselling. 

She’s done a Diploma of holistic counselling, Bachelor degree in counselling, clinical supervision qualifications, and training and assessment qualifications. I hope you enjoy today’s episode. 

Okay, Tony, thank you so much for joining us today. I really appreciate that you’ve got the time so that we can create this wonderful episode for our listeners. 


My pleasure.


Thank you. I’m looking forward to it. 

So Tony we’re going to work on a topic that your quite…You’ve got a lot of strength in, in a lot of knowledge which means you’ve got a lot of power and you do a really really great job. You’ve got a great reputation. 

So we’re going to discuss communication techniques for couples. Now it doesn’t take an expert to know that this is a really important topic for absolutely everybody even if they’re not in a crisis.

Do you agree?



Oh definitely. And I think society puts a lot of pressure on communication. And I think people misunderstand what a good communicator is. A good communicator is not someone that knows how to use words. A good communicator is actually a good listener. 


Absolutely I totally agree with that because it’s when stop listening to the other person, that communication breaks down. So who’s at fault there? You said that we all need to learn how to listen a little bit better. 

Well a perfect example is, I had a couple last week I’ve been working with, a month or so and they’re in.. they’re in really big crisis. They’ve got three young girls. They both work and she doesn’t feel like she’s supported. Yet he’s busting his buttons trying to support her.

Yet when he says, What can I do for you she says ‘nothing’. Well, and she expects him to figure it out, or, she’d already told him last week. And it’s not.. it’s not a get out of jail free card. 

Quite simple creatures. They need to be informed not told, informed of what it is we want because if they try and figure it out themselves they’re going to get it wrong nearly every single time. And it just sets both up for failure.

So this couple I had in last week were actually, you know they came in, and straightaway I knew their non verbals was screaming. And they, you know she she wouldn’t help. Like I said do you need to make deeper. No no. And it’s like oh God this is gonna be fun. And within 15 minutes they were at each other. And I mean like she was standing up in the chair like kneeling, facing him, screaming at him. And he’s yelling at her and I’m like they’re not listening to what the other person is saying.

They’re doing what we all topping. You know what. I’m really tired. So my type. Yeah but I’ve had the kids all that. Yeah but I’ve had to commute and it’s like if you know when someone says I’m tired. If you say so am I, then you dismiss that they speak. 


And our role as a listener is to actually do something different. And whatever the ideas, whether it’s wow, that’s really awful what happened? Why are you so tired? Oh you know it’s okay you know. I can understand my days been pretty full on.

How about we sit down have a cup or wine or whatever. However we go for a walk and it’s about breaking that cycle of topping or repeating that pattern, everybody. 


You know the way you describe that to me, and obviously that brings up… I have some clients that I see for couples /or relationships, and even family Even small groups. It’s all about communication. And sometimes when I’m watching, as an observer I notice that actually both sides are right.

Both sides have a valid argument. No one is listening. So our job is to reach that, and say, how how do we find the new pattern or the new formula so that you can both be heard and both be listened to. And listen to one another. How do you teach that? What do you do? 


Simple ways. First of all we can do things. It’s quite a no it’s quite a a woo woo thing to do. And it’s it’s called a talking stick and it can be you know I wouldn’t suggest a paper scissors. 

But as something I get you know I’ll go to a penguin here so it can be like a a squeeze thing. It can be a pain it can be whoever has it will come, whoever has that, has the floor, and the idea is it’s you know when someone’s saying, I’ve had a really bad day. Stop going because what happens is I suppose physiologically what happens is when you’re really tired and we’re breathing from our chest we’re unable to use our front brain which is our logical thinking right.


We get drawn back to that crocodile brain, the flight fight freeze. And in that flight fight freeze, part of the brain we don’t form new memories. And it’s, I call it, we hit the play button or the re replay button on Gilligan’s Island or friends or whatever it is it’s a rerun. And I know that straight away by the language I hear if I have a client or a friend or a partner say to me you always this never.

Whenever those really grand statements are made they’re not in the now they’re in the past. It’s like oh you know I hate coming to war like crazy, can navigate parking and you go oh okay. So where did you park today. I got a parking spot right out front. Oh. So you park to do it. Oh yeah but normally I’d done it. Oh okay. So sometimes I catch people in that language and I educate my listeners like you know.

So if a partner says to them oh you know what you never listen, it’s like okay you’re not hearing her, you’re not feeling heard what is it you need to say. And it’s about being able to go… okay.

We can see when our partners or someone we love or even someone we don’t know when they started to escalate when they started to get emotionally aroused yet they are elevating so we can go okay I can continue to just not listen or I can go okay I can say something’s wrong if I don’t stay in some brain and I like my you know, myself be dragged back into that cave of anxiety and flip flop phrase, then I’m just going to participate in, later. 


If I can, I’ll bring up one point. I mean that you’re triggering my, my brainstorming here and I really like that and we work well together.

We’ve known each other for so many years. I’m good at that. Yes you are now. Yeah I get it. We’ve got the front logical brain and the emotional. Let’s call it the emotional side back there. I know that when we’re high risk with emotion we can’t think fully. So feeling a heightened state of anxiety or extreme fear or some kind of overwhelm. We can’t make logical decisions at that moment.

I’ve experienced that myself where I’ve turned to my friend said Oh I can’t think straight I’m really upset about something. So could you make that decision for me. And so you just brought up about when someone’s feeling really aroused. Emotionally it really does interfere with a rational brain and they can’t speak logically and calmly. 

So obviously it’s really important that couples recognize that okay you’re extremely emotional right now.


I’m not going to neglect you but this might not be the right time yet. What, one way I guess I’ve noticed this works really well and I know they’re not couples but let’s say relationships is kids. 

Through my training and not that little kids /teenagers make… a really important thing that I learned from this Empowering Parents course is that the lecturer said:

When your child is inviting you to a party it’s up to you if you want to attend. Your mother, with your child, is inviting you to an argument. You have a choice. You don’t need to attend. Now let’s take that learning to couples. If one is really emotionally aroused and they’re not going to be logical, they might be looking for a fight and inviting their partner to that party – that partner doesn’t need to attend. Right. 

And I think what needs to be done, even one step back is that relationship with self that self narrative that we have of, you know we have we have a belief structure, or we think, no I don’t want to go out on Saturday night yet our partner comes home or the kids want to go somewhere and we go oh okay. And then we we get annoyed with ourselves. Yet we take it out on our partner.


You know I’ve got a I’ve got a strong belief about when when someone says to me Oh I’m fine I think I’m fine. You look at the nonverbal. I’m fine. It’s okay. Well if you put that fine into a dot point it means effed up insecure neurotic and emotional. So.

When someone you know in a couple’s situation, if I teach my clients if the partner says I’m fine it’s like oh because you know you’ve got to be able to say fine so the fine is no longer part of the relationship vocabulary. And one step back from that and I really want to make this point. And most people don’t get this on a sealed unit you’re a sealed unit. I think of those old fuses like the little glass ones with the aluminium.

All right. I’m one of them you’re one of them. My office manager who’s just walked in the cat. And so between you and I we have a third entity which is the relationship we produce or that we can produce too. So. I look at it this way, you can’t take rancid meat and mouldy vegetables and put them, get together and make a healthy sandwich.

They say to each being the metaphor of the relationship, if I have dysfunction and you have dysfunction and that can be in thinking process, belief structures expectations then we’re never going to make that healthy relationship. And it’s about taking ownership I’m the first person if I step up or do something wrong I thought that was me because I’d rather just get it over and done with and people appreciate when you just go Oh no. That was my fault. Should have done it. I’ve learned from it.

So it’s about not blaming the other person for how you feel because you were probably feeling that before the arguments started. As you said that you were you were sending out an invitation for a fight and instead of say I am in a crappy mood I need to go and get, I comment on this reaching out, I’m getting my anger management tool. I get my SWAT, I’m going upstairs and I’m going to flog the mat in the office, now leave me alone for half an hour and I’ll get rid of whatever it is that’s that I may not be able to name, and then well I can put on and recognize, I’ve got an emotion, be able to name that emotional feeling, motion, emotional feeling, then I can come and have a conversation about it or dialogue because the conversation is like a bracket and a dialogue is a continuation.


And just because your partner says I want Italian for dinner tonight and you use and you say I want to thai, so I will go to Caringbah and I’ll go over to the Indian restaurant and you can go to the thai. And they can get that, and we’ll go home and have a, you know a takeaway all we’re gonna have a picnic with it when the weather’s nicer of an evening. 

And I think it’s about, it’s almost that silly comment about, do you want to be right or do you want to be happy.

And I don’t think should be said in the context of Happy wife happy life like you you have to you know I’ve been bound straight to the female or the wife of the family. It’s about well is it really you know is it something I’m going to worry about on my deathbed in a week’s time. Is it going to worry me that I didn’t convert the other person to my way of thinking so there is another step backwards. Okay.

When we argue it’s about making the other person change their belief structure to what we believe. And you can take something as sensitive as Trump versus … even though it’s not our politics, everybody has an opinion here in Australia. Absolutely. Pick a Trump. Trump supporters. Some people definitely not. 

Now if someone wants to argue with me for or against Trump’s beliefs  structure that’s okay if they’re trying to convert me well then that’s where the problem is.


Yeah. You know one other thing. One of the techniques I like to often start with when I have couples, is to take less focus off the other person and more focus on yourself first because we don’t get very far when it comes up. She she she or he he he take that away because you can’t control she and he has not seen what you can control on the inside of you. It’s okay to feel emotional.


So I I you feel angry or whatever. And if you are afraid of it being exactly but your reactions and your responses you’re in control of thoughts that are like what you just said there. And this is something people don’t think about with our language when you react. So it’s about when you react to something it’s that it’s almost like it’s it’s an instinct thing we do it’s you know you have a you get a bladder squeeze, to go the bathroom.

That’s a reaction that is a response of oh I need to go the toilet sometime in the next half an hour. So it’s about setting up our communication for or success. And. You know a lot of the time when I’m going to generalize men are fixers you know they’re they’re rolling like they’re why to fix things. So you know if if we as women come home again. Oh that. And this and that.


And then doing it again and they go, well just don’t listen to him and it’s like stop telling me like it. Which is one of the big things that I hear a lot of, so there’s three things you do. When my friends and my my family know. 

Tell me what they want from you know when they ring or when face to face, do they want a debrief which is even, and I imagine I’m holding a big black garbage bag and they’re vomiting their debrief into it.

My role is to go wow you know and then when they’re finished I put the lid on it and I put it out for the guy I chose. So that’s the first one the second one is opinion. So an opinion is. Well that sucks. Or what are you going to do about it. It’s an opening statement of you know well that would be really hard to take because that’s that’s an opinion. Advice is the third thing so it’s a debrief opinion and advice.

You’ve got to do something because when you say you or she, it’s the pointing of the finger and straight away you know it’s like oh you’ve got to calm down Don’t tell me to calm down. So you take it back and go okay. 

Well if I was in your situation or when I’ve had that happen to me and you find people are more. Like you or invitational with your information opposed to confrontation or when you have to sort this out. Yeah.

So  it’s taking a back to basics and taking responsibility for how you feel. If you’ve had a crappy day you say to your partner I’ve had a crappy day I need just ten minutes of quiet. I’m just gonna go and walk around the backyard or you know walk down the street whatever it is. 

Figure out what you need, to have a shower is a good one, lock the bedroom door go and have a shower and imagine the stress running off and then go okay. What was it about.


Figuring out what the emotion is naming it and what do you have to do about it as if it’s anger or frustration. The Fly What if it’s if it’s something to do with work you know schedule it you go Okay I’m at home now I’m not answering the phone and this is where you know working from home it’s very polluted. 

You know it metastasized. work metastasizes into our private life.

So having the work space like this is my home office when I finish I close the door and then I come back in, heat and waste and so much so much harder working from home with covid and having a relationship in that same environment most definitely. 


I totally agree with you. There’s some really important and valid points and you’ve also reminded me of another thing I had found on, I don’t, I don’t know if you experienced the same pattern, when couples coming to me for couples relationship counseling, do you find that you also realize that you end up doing one on one sessions with each one as well. 


No. And the reason I used to but I’ve been going for 15 as you know 15 years now and I find it’s much more useful unless someone’s got to give some information that they wanted to learn how to discuss with their partner and it’s too volatile when they’re in the room when you’ve got the two people in the room.

It’s so much why I love couples work because when you’ve got the two of them in the room and all of a sudden because as you know people are much more polite other than my couple last week. A much more. And I’d hate to see what they fight like when they don’t have a witness. 

However there are a lot more polite. The energy may be high but the emotions are lower because you know they’re paying me to sort of support them so you can slow down the escalation of a problem.


Having said that I appreciate what you said and I think that’s great. You work that way on one. I’ve found my work to be different. I found couples come in because of relationship issues and then we discover what they really need to work on themselves individually. And yes whilst we keep it the same and while I might keep one. But now I’ve learned, because don’t forget when you’re doing individual, you can’t bring the individual session into the couples session.



That’s because as you know it also got a different vision. I see a couple of others that what I mean is the information that you’re learning the individual session. 

No I haven’t. I have my couples I used to do each individual and couples of the same family same relationship. However I found that it was more advantageous if they both had their external therapists so there was almost that. I think of myself as like a food group.

You know you need lots of food groups like I provide the I don’t know the red wine and the beer I don’t know the right red wine and dark chocolate and they need someone else that that will be able to support them on their journey because my role as an as a couple’s therapist is that third entity yes. You would also say it like like for example I have a couples and one of them has an anger issue. Yes.

I think it’s important for that one to my friend. You found the therapist good skills in managing anger which I just I happen to think is an advantage. Then I’ll see the bottom of just for their own anger issues. With or without the relationship. That’s a personal issue to manage. I agree. And I get flooded and I get all my couples that normally my couples will come in either from another couple or from their individual therapist.

So if and I like to have both individuals enrolled in therapy when I’m working with them so that because there’s always as you know there’s a you know someone gets ahead of the other they’re learning the learning curve is isn’t the same but there’s one thing I’d like to to mention there’s a really really good. We’re talking about patents before. 

If people Google a b c d sheet, okay now cognitive behaviour therapy CBT have this really good.

I know that one. So let’s say and I use it quite often especially with patents if you know if someone says this normally happens in a relationship when I’m in a relationship that’s a pattern. So and with an ABCD sheet, the a is the event or the activating a thing. So it might be here when he when he yells at me. 

The B is I get frightened, the consequences. I cry and I withdraw.

So you’ve got a B, the D Looking back at it from a different, like you’re looking it back after and go okay, what could I have done differently and sometimes it’s about recognizing the start of the the pattern. 

So for me if someone you know used to yell at me so as a bug rather if someone yells at me I would get really frightened and I’d start crying and I would just emotionally and physically withdraw and now I know that it was because my father was a very angry man.

And so it wasn’t safe for me to be around someone yelling. Now I know if someone feels like I get …. yell at me for a little I mean the clinic so to speak or people yelling at each other. So now it’s like okay I’m an adult I’m safe. So I now have broken that pattern and I don’t react to someone yelling, I’m proactive and I behave or respond differently.

That’s really really handy a nice model to show to clients. Yes. I have I have a whole pile of different hand outs that I use but like a quote /homework. And that’s one of them you know. But look you know with couples it’s it’s about what you put in or what you expect out of a relationship. Has to be overt.

It has to be obvious it has to be spoken about. If you want support you have to explain and discuss what support looks like to you not he doesn’t support me or she doesn’t understand me and said well she may never understand you. He can never support you in the way you expect to unless you say support to me looks like you come in. You put your hand but yeah. I call it plugging you reconnect.

You touch me, kiss, and then you go get changed do what you gotta do then you come back and if there’s kids involved then you do the family thing. But it’s about you know we all have so many hats and we can’t just keep putting hats on and off. We have to, have like a an air lock of you know like an astronaut you know he gets all geared up and then he goes into an airlock and then you know the atmosphere you know equalizes he goes out and does his job. Or she goes out and does her job. Comes back in the airlock, closes a decompression, then they come out and they get into the real, into their current life.


And people just expect everyone to just come rushing in the door and be the person without taking the context of that airlock that debrief them. And it’s another thing that we do a lot of. But it’s important to have strategies because as you know our role is to become redundant. We’re not opposed to you know we’re not like a hairdresser for the next 20 years we’re going to have someone coming in every six weeks.

Our role is to be totally without use because we’ve had, we’ve reconnected them with their own coping skills, their own strategies. They personalize the information we give them, make it relevant to their relationship and their needs, wants and desires, and then there are best advertising and that’s perfectly fit, because it is really important that we teach them the skills in the group that then we see at this moment right now.


That’s another very important thing that I’ve noticed throughout our conversation. With, both you and I come from an NLP background. And so that’s why it’s extremely important and I’ve noticed you do the exact same thing as I do. We listen for the language and how they speak. And like you said back five minutes ago when one might complain he doesn’t listen to me. He doesn’t understand me. They’re globalization’s. 


So it’s really important that we stop them at that sentence and say how specifically. And same with their goals. It’s not people will come into, oh I just want to be able to communicate better. What does that mean for you. Tell me exactly what that means and what it’s like. I want a car and you go okay. What do you want a car for. This is a metaphor I use it in the clinic though. You know I’ll go okay. That’s like saying I want a car. Okay. What sort of car do you want. Or I just want to cut. Well what are you gonna use a fork.

So do you want a big car, a little car, diesel, electric. How far are you going to drive. How many kilometers. So it’s about drilling down and having each other be very specific. And you know not saying or whatever you want whatever you want because then again that takes us back to our self belief of not maybe women at 10 tend to have not just seem to have a very good sense of internal worth. And so they won’t voice what they actually need for fear of rejection.


And I suppose that’s tough that’s for another. You know we can talk about co-dependency which is a lovely meaty subject, we can get into, and then also the other thing that I do which is, that the context of knock down rebuild it it’s it’s too late now to get into it this time. Well we are the episode on that next. Yeah really nice.


I think it helps people to understand that staying in a relationship for the children or I love them are not valid reasons to stay in a relationship because we’re teaching our children what dysfunction, that dysfunction is normal and yelling and screaming and that sort of stuff all withdrawing in silence in the soaking in that is normal and because we are role model of what a relationship looks like we were not born to know what I don’t think people realize that kids do, they can adjust and it does more harm to children to keep them in a dysfunctional relationship. 

What’s wrong ls to take them out and I say this confidently I’ve been in the early childhood industry since nineteen ninety seven when you remember. Sorry. When you’re in nappies. Yeah yeah yeah. I was just born right. Thanks for that. Just born and I had all these knowledge right. And I’ve seen tens of thousands of people go through my early learning centres.

I’ve seen them break up. I’ve seen them in all conditions at all stages, lots and when they’ve got two happy parents in separate locations they blossom. They are just, it’s all about adult interaction. Now if the kids are going to be here watching mom and dad fight isn’t it nice to watch Mom by herself happy and content and safe and dad by himself happy and content and safe?

So I’m not I’m not saying that. I mean this argument the other way. But when it comes to that I really believe children are just they really can. Oh yes. Well they do. They have. They learn rules. They could do at home and grandparents places at aunts places at school at friends places so I could I call them Gumby remember the Gumby toy was like a little you know a rubber mane you could bend around and time to not so. Yeah.


So I think what we’ve established today we’ve brought out with just general General everything and it was great. I think it’s a really nice way to just have this conversation because this was so organic and was so natural today. We’re not reading this script or anything like that. It was all about, with two professionals. We’re looking at couples and they coming for relationship counselling and we just looked at communication techniques we’ve established listen listen and listen do not talk at the same time we need to listen to one another.

Think about a … will be present and listen. Yeah of course hear what’s being said and even then you may not totally understand the other person. You can say something to me and I may interpret that differently. My perception can vary. You and I Tony we can watch a movie and come back and we can summarize it differently. So if I allow that things happen differently in each other’s worlds.


And I think that the easiest way to encapsulate that is if I say the word pink. What’s the first thing you think of. Fairy floss I think of the singer. Now if one can hear it so many. Look I thought of your thing. We have thought I had one husband one day say nipple. So I realized that what I’m saying is if one word can be interpreted so many different ways. What happens with the sentence and with facial expressions.

There’s a. Ninety three percent of our communication. Okay. Now. Yes. So we need to be sincere. We need to observe. We need to be very mindful of our body language. We are not experts in reading our partners body language we assume we are experts in our own body language most of the time. We need to respect that. We can agree to disagree just because we are in a relationship. It doesn’t mean that we see eye to eye or that what you like online.


I know many years ago or I read somewhere that the most healthiest relationships are those with in which each individual is free. Yes. I’m sorry this voice. But it’s also if you can’t have that relationship with yourself how can you have it with anyone else. Absolutely and self-love comes in nicely there. We need to love and respect ourselves.


Now I like to teach people, how do you speak to yourself because it’s really important that you realize that you are the one person that was there from the day that you were born and you’ll be there till the day you die so speak to yourself like you speak to your best friend. So you know that critical voice and the negative talk. I try it as fast as I can to teach clients to get rid of that. Even if it’s a lifelong pattern you start from now doing different kinds of talking to yourself that’ll take you a long way and that helps evolve new language when you speak to someone else.

It’s all about self-respect and self-love self compassion empathy all of those wonderful ingredients that you want to receive from somebody else. And I think if you take it back, you know I teach the world how to treat me by the way I treat myself. If I don’t treat myself with love and respect, why would anyone else? 

That is such a beautiful thing. A cousin of mine who’s a master; who’s a black belt in Kung Fu.  He said to me once “Oh you teach people how you want to be treated.”

And let’s be honest, if someone treats me a certain way it’s because I allow that and if someone else doesn’t treat me that way because I have not allowed that with another individual. So it’s quite true. 

So that that holds great value. I wrote a book not long ago. It’s for  kids and it’s kids coping skills. And one thing I’ll pull out of that to bring into this session is, it’s about siblings and rivalry. So one sibling totally freaks out because brother or sister comes into the room and plays with one of their things.

So they scream the house down as some siblings do yet when their friend comes over their place and plays with an item: the same item! that you give no reaction whatsoever. You are in charge of all of your reactions and responses. So if you do want to change and build a better version of you, it’s all a matter of decision. 


Assess yourself and you decide how you want to be and you can start practicing that new way of being from now if you look at Robert …. book Seven Habits of Highly Effective People he talks about, circle of influence and circle of concern.

So I think of it as an egg, you crack an egg and the yolk is your circle of influence which is self and the circle of concern is the white. So everything outside yourself is in the White. So when you’re struggling with the way you or your sister or brother or aunt or uncle or father or mother are behaving, you can’t do anything about that. 

You’ve got to bring it back to you… so why do I feel like this. Well it’s a role. Well that’s in your world, it might be wrong, it may not be in these if you, if you enable that behavior if you don’t say no I’m not going to be part of that.

And it doesn’t have to be hands up it could just be, you know, not saying no when they say oh can you come over now I need your help. 

Well no now’s not convenient. I could come over at 3 o’clock. No no no. I need you there. Well I’m sorry then I can’t help you. You mean you’re enabling that behavior and you’re within yourself you’re enabling that discomfort that’s right. Will they. 


Well Toni I think with the speed of your speech today, I apologize.

I’m excited now. I think you’ve condensed three hours of knowledge and experience down to a quick 35 40 minutes and I really appreciate your time. I hope our listeners out there have gotten something valuable out of today.


Like I said we just average down to relationships and communication. And I think it’s really nice to have two experts just share some insight of what’s worked what’s not work and a bit of advice here and there.

So Tony I thank you so much and I really look forward to… I jotted down that new title to knock down and rebuild it. Is that right? So maybe we’ll do that next time. That’s great. Any final words from you Toni? 



Go out and start listening instead of using your voice. Yeah I agree. All right Well I’ll do the same too. Thank you very much. Thanks for the call. 


All right Toni. I’ll see you next time. Bye.

Remember the importance of gratitude

Click here for ways Positive Thinking Clinic can help you

Amanda Dounis

Positive Thinking Clinic

1/7 Magdalene Terrace

Wolli Creek, 2205

0458 850 850



It is important to know that resources are available if you are experiencing anxiety , and exploring other websites, such as mindaustralia, and headspace.  

I welcome you to visit my podcast to learn about anxiety basics.

In any emergency you can always reach out to lifeline.

Couples relationships and communication can often involve critical moments and these moments may need attention.

Help is also available for kids, and support for families too.

You may find my Coping Skills Handbook a great resource.  It teaches kids how to cope with everyday challenges using a simple C.O.P.E. formula. Couples relationships and communication, has its foundations built from a young age, and this book has a whole topic on relationships.

You can find out more about me on natural therapy pages or psychology today

I am a level 3 member of the Australian Counselling Association and am a member of the Hypnotherapy Council of Australia

Here is a short clip on FAQ at Positive Thinking Clinic https://youtu.be/GNWaRVsC-OU

Ways that Positive Thinking Clinic can help you https://youtu.be/m0z-f0PSQNM

Couples relationships and communication is an important topic. Amanda and Toni hope you enjoyed this read.

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