How to Do a Dyad Exercise with Your Teen


Get two chairs. You and your teen sit in the chairs facing each other. Both of you put your hands in your lap as opposed to folded across your chest. From the moment you sit down, make and maintain eye contact. This is what is referred to as a dyad. It's simply a two-person unit wherein the people are face to face and are involved in active eye contact. You will have several topics for discussion. Finish the sentence provided with as much embellishment and honest disclosure as you possibly can. There is a specific pattern in which you must talk to each other. The person who is to speak first (it can be either one of you) shares his or her feelings about the assigned subject matter for three uninterrupted minutes while maintaining eye contact with the second person, who is to keep time and signal when the three minutes are up. You must stop talking when your time is up. At the conclusion of the first person's remarks, the second person can make only one response: "Thank you for caring enough to share, and I promise to weigh it carefully." No other statement may be made. Then, it's the second person's turn. He or she has three minutes to respond to the same subject matter as the first person while being timed by the first person. Again, eye contact is to be maintained throughout, and the first person's only response can be: "Thank you for caring enough to share, and I promise to weigh it carefully."

Sample Topics for Discussion:

    1. "My greatest fear in opening up to you has been ..."
    2. "What I hope to gain by opening up to you is ..."

  1. "I feel that my greatest contributions to this relationship are ..."
  2. "I feel I have contaminated this relationship by ..."
  3. "I am most excited about the future of our relationship because ..."

  1. "Agreements I have made with you and then broken or failed to live up to are ..."
  2. "It hurts me when you break agreements because ..."
  3. "I feel better about myself when you treat me with dignity and respect because ..."

  1. "When I have forgiveness and acceptance instead of judgment in my heart for you, it helps me because ..."
  2. "When I  have forgiveness and acceptance instead of judgment in my heart for me, it helps me because ..."
  3. "I want and need your forgiveness because ..."
  1. "The things that are going well for me in my life are ..."
  2. "The things that are not going well for me in my life are ..."
  1. "Our greatest barriers to a successful relationship have been ..."
  2. "Our greatest assets in having a successful relationship have been ..."
  3. "Our relationship is worth the hard work because ..."

  1. "What I like least about me is ..."
  2. "What I like most about me is ..."
  3. "What I like least about you is ..."
  4. "What I like the best about you is ..."

  1. "If I had the power to change your experiences of life in any way, I would ..."
  2. "I am most proud of you when ..."
  3. "I want you to feel special because ..."

You can also start a journal for yourself. Record your thoughts and feelings about what's happened so far. It can be important to return to your journal and review these thoughts and feelings in weeks and months to come.

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