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  • Writer's pictureLeAnn O’Neal Berger

Guidelines for Healthy Arguments

Guidelines for Healthy Arguments. Tools for better couple communication.
Tools for working through disagreements in a healthy way.

Stable partnerships need 5 times as many

positive interactions as negative ones

Verbal fights activate the body’s fight / flight / freeze

response, flooding your system with adrenaline

It takes about 20 minutes for the

body’s nervous system

to calm down after a heated argument

Where Arguments Come From

· The need to feel important, or to be right

· The desire to feel appreciated, respected, valued

· The attempt to get or keep attention, feeling unheard

· Fear of losing something precious or vital

· Inability to trust, giving in to paranoia and suspicion

· Old family patterns of dealing with disagreement

· Clashing values, or views on how things should be

Fight Fair

1. Don’t physically attack, threatening, intimidate, or use over-powering words, gestures, or postures.

2. Express frustration safely – without emotional abuse, sarcasm, mean spiritedness, or shaming.

3. Say: this is how I feel… this is how I see it…this is what I need….this is what I’d like…

4. Listen to the other as you want to be listened to – with respect, openness, and fair feedback.

5. Plan the time to argue. Write out your points and hoped for result. Agree to disagree if necessary.

6. Keep the fight on the point -- argue about just one thing at a time. Don’t “save up” irritations.

7. Ask Dr. LeAnn about "presencing" and practice this daily. It only takes a few minutes a day.

When You Feel Yourself Losing Control:

· Take a time out & physically leave the room

· Defuse tension with humor if possible

· Disclose what you really fear

· State what you really want

Find out what you’re really arguing about

Or talk to Dr. LeAnn, Psy.D., L.M.F.T.


Dr. LeAnn O'Neal Berger, Psy.D., L.M.F.T., specializes in helping couples strengthen relationship, argue productively, and regain intimate connection. Her tools and techniques teach how to discuss disagreements without endangering your connection . Her virtual office is in California. Dr. LeAnn is most easily reached by phone at 1- (530) 676-3847 or by email at


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