If there’s one thing most of our clients have in common, it would be the struggle within our personal relationships. Healthy relationships are a sign of vitality, purpose, compassion, and a sense of worth. They are also incredibly complex and for some, seemingly unachievable. Why do so many of us struggle to maintain healthy relationships? This question is often at the heart of what brings people into therapy.
WHAT ARE THE BUIDING BLOCKS OF A HEALTHY RELATIONSHIP?
These include a sense of shared values, good communication skills, mutual trust and respect, honesty, and a willingness to be empathic and supportive in another’s time of need.
Some of these important foundations can be really difficult. For example, honesty usually means a willingness to be vulnerable, which for some, can feel like an invitation for emotional abuse. As with most personal struggles, the reasons behind this are most likely a combination of “nature” and “nurture.”
HOW CAN RELATIONSHIP COUNSELING HELP?
At Heartland Therapy Connection, we view relationship issues through the lens of early attachments. Perhaps your relationships with your earliest caregivers were chaotic or neglectful, rather than nurturing and safe. On the other hand, maybe your caregivers were attentive, but emotional expression wasn’t necessarily a “thing.” Maybe you were exposed to situations (divorce) or environments (multiple caregivers, moving frequently) where a sense of stability or boundaries was lacking? Either way, the “blueprint” developed from your very first relationships will likely inform all future relationships. Without adaptation, early neglect or abuse can make trusting others or communicating effectively extremely difficult.
HEARTLAND THERAPY CONNECTION CAN HELP.
Don’t lose heart! Evidence-based therapy can do much to introduce adaptive behavior, while challenging or changing old habits. Dialectical Behavioral Therapy and Eye-Movement Desensitization Reprocessing (EMDR) are just a couple of the modalities used to promote mindful insight and emotional awareness, while also teaching healthy interpersonal effectiveness skills. Through these therapies, you can learn to hold space for both acceptance and change, and learn ways to communicate effectively while keeping your dignity and values intact.
Relationship issues are common, but they don’t have to be permanent. Things can get better, and you can do the work to get there.