The Syrona Method: Understanding the Child/Teen/Adult Mindset

What Makes SCR So Effective?

In our experience, couples seek help when communication – and therefore emotional intimacy – breaks down.  When efforts to fix the problem don’t work, couples are left feeling stuck and frustrated.  

Most people don’t realize how their brain influences their communication.  They don’t know that they have three inner mindsets – child, teen, and adult- operating behind the scenes – controlling the style and motivation of their communication. 

We find that most couples coming to therapy are communicating from their teen mindsets – and don’t know it!  The teen mindset is our inner defense mode- it serves to protect us from certain emotional vulnerabilities, but it’s not so great at understanding others. 

And herein lies the problem.  Couples can’t hear, often misinterpret, nor understand each other- yet so want to be heard, understood, and validated by their partner.  They struggle not because they don’t know how to communicate- but because of WHO (internally) is communicating.  


Watch this short video of a couple having a small conflict. You’ll see the same discussion THREE WAYS.  From: 1) the child mindset, 2) teen mindset and, 3) adult mindset.  Can you relate? Which mindset seems most like you? 


Take the quiz at the bottom of this page to find out about your child, teen, and adult mindsets! 

Intro to Child/Teen/Adult Mindset:

Meet Sarah & David, a couple going about their life, having a conversation about day to day family logistics.  Watch this discussion unfold through the lens of the child/teen/adult mindsets.  Can you predict what is going to happen in each short video?

Part 1: The Wife’s Request

Child Mindset:

So it starts – a straightforward question.  You can’t really tell what mindset Sarah is in based on how this discussion starts, but can you sense Sarah’s hesitation, maybe anxiety towards the end as she watches David’s reaction?

Teen Mindset:

Same question, but can you pick up any differences in Sarah? Listen to her tone, her words – does she ask (like in the previous video), or does she demand?

Adult Mindset:

Same question – notice any differences?  Watch her body language, her tone, her words.  She asks the same basic question but no urgency or demand.

Part 2: The Husband’s Response

Child Mindset:

David asks a question to clarify, but his facial expression and tone expresses some surprise, and even a little annoyance.

Teen Mindset:

Again, David double checks about the date, but this time more clearly showing annoyance in facial expressions and tone.

Adult Mindset:

Again, David clarifies the date but seems sorry to tell Sarah no… facial expressions, tone, even words are more conversational, not accusatory or adversarial.

Part 3: Conversation Concludes

Child Mindset:

Notice Sarah’s emotional stance- she is practically crying and does not look or sound like an adult woman having a conversation with another adult. It’s not a big leap to suspect she feels powerless…

Teen Mindset:

Sarah’s body language, tone, energy, all very different from the previous video.  The dialogue between them is becoming adversarial – as their mutual frustration rises, so do their voices.

Adult Mindset:

Sarah immediately accepts David’s “no” as an answer to her request, and acknowledges her discomfort with saying no instead of “needing” David to save her from it. This prompts David to step up and support Sarah.

How to Recognize Your Mindset

What a difference a mindset can make! In child and teen mindset videos, the conversation ends with a relationship rupture – a disconnect between Sarah and David. Neither one feels good at the end of their conversation, which started with a simple, everyday request. Compare this to the last video, where Sarah and David’s tone and words stayed conversational and calm.  This conversation ends with a real moment of emotional bonding- an emotional connection that leaves them both smiling.  A win-win.

Here at Syrona, we start off every couples retreats by having you each do a type of life review – we go over each of your life stories so we can learn how your child and teen mindsets developed – and how they hijack your adult mindset under certain (emotional) conditions.  

By knowing how your mindsets developed, you have the key to truly understanding not only what drives your communication, but your partners as well. Our clients tell us constantly that just knowing this changes their lives.  We agree- if you can recognize the three inner mindsets that govern your (and everyone else’s) communication, you become a communication master. 

Learn more? Take the quiz below to discover your mindset map!

Or learn more by visiting Emotions University by clicking the button!

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