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Elaine Belson (she/her)

Elaine joined Momma on May 8, 2023 live on Twitch to talk about Communication Skills to Save Your Relationships

About Elaine

Elaine Belson has 30 years combined clinical, military, political and teaching experience. She has worked in a variety of settings, including private practice, community agencies, hospitals, and combat zones. At the age of 42, Ms. Belson joined the US Army as a Social Work Officer, handling domestic violence cases and running an anger management group for Soldiers at Fort Bragg, NC. She deployed to Afghanistan from 2009-2010, providing clinical services to Soldiers and serving as Executive Officer (XO) for Medical Command. She served on the Safety Advisory Committee for Charles County Public Schools, Maryland Department of Social Services Board of Directors, and Civista Women’s Center Diabetes Advisory Board. She has also taught psychology at the college level and held several legislative positions in Washington, DC. Ms. Belson has had her own private practice since 2011. She has a podcast and blog called, “It’s More Complicated Than You Think,” looking at social issues through a psychological lens. She is also developing a mental health curriculum pilot program for Charles County Public Schools.

Socials / Links for More Info

References / Things Mentioned During the Stream

Episode Summary

MommaFoxFire engaged in a thoughtful and insightful conversation with an expert in social work, Elaine Belson, discussing various aspects of communication, relationships, and mental health. Elaine's extensive experience and expertise in the field offered valuable insights that are applicable not only to personal relationships but also to society as a whole.

Our discussion delved into the nuances of effective communication, especially in relationships. Elaine emphasized that her approach involves refraining from giving direct advice and instead focuses on asking questions. This technique helps individuals identify their feelings and consider possible solutions. She highlighted that understanding the "why" behind behavior is crucial and that helping individuals identify their emotions and problem-solving methods leads to better outcomes.

Elaine shared a practical communication exercise for couples involving empathetic listening and "I messaging." This exercise aims to encourage open dialogue by enabling individuals to express their concerns using a structured formula. By employing reflective listening, couples can enhance their understanding of each other's perspectives and work together to find solutions, rather than engaging in power struggles.

Our conversation also goes into recognizing when a relationship may not be worth saving. Elaine emphasized the importance of assessing whether the relationship aligns with one's needs, is characterized by respectful treatment, and shows flexibility in adapting to changes. She advised seeking professional help before reaching the point of considering a breakup and highlighted the value of professional therapy in providing guidance and insight.

Addressing common misconceptions around mental health, Elaine stressed that mental health encompasses more than just psychiatric disorders. She advocated for integrating mental health expertise into mainstream conversations, both personally and within society. We talked about the concept of "honoring the past while staying in the present," and how couples can balance past disappointments with a willingness to move forward and embrace change.

Elaine also emphasized the significance of boundaries in relationships. She encouraged individuals to set and assert boundaries while acknowledging that doing so may initially lead to discomfort or resistance from others. She urged listeners to recognize that change is possible and to prioritize their own well-being and growth.

Overall, this episode provided a wealth of valuable information on effective communication, relationship dynamics and mental health. Elaine's insights, combined with practical exercises and thought-provoking concepts, offer listeners a comprehensive guide to fostering healthy relationships, understanding mental health complexities and promoting personal growth. The engaging conversation underscores the importance of open dialogue, empathy and continuous self-improvement in navigating the intricate landscape of human interactions and emotions.

Autobiography in Five Short Chapters (from There's a Hole in My Sidewalk: The Romance of Self-Discovery)

by Portia Nelson


I walk down the street.

There is a deep hole in the sidewalk.

I fall in. I am lost. I am helpless.

It isn't my fault.

It takes forever to find a way out.


I walk down the same street.

There is a deep hole in the sidewalk.

I still don't see it. I fall in again.

I can't believe I am in the same place.

It isn't my fault.

It still takes a long time to get out.


I walk down the same street.

There is a deep hole in the sidewalk.

I see it there, I still fall in.

It's habit. It's my fault. I know where I am.

I get out immediately.


I walk down the same street.

There is a deep hole in the sidewalk.

I walk around it.


I walk down a different street.