Ideally, good relationships contribute to life’s joys and help ease inevitable hardships. When we need it most, other people in our lives can offer security, support, understanding, acceptance, affection and love. We rightfully expect people with whom we are close to treat us with respect and kindness and they, in turn, have a right to expect the same from us. But when our primary relationships become strained or conflict-ridden, we feel unhappy rather than fulfilled, anxious or depressed rather than secure, discounted rather than understood. Common sources of difficulty include:
- Excessive arguing
- Financial concerns
- Inequality in the relationship or unfair expectations
- Physical, emotional or sexual abuse
- Lack or fear of intimacy
- Addictions (alcohol, drugs, gambling, pornography)
- Conflict with extended family
- Blended family concerns
- Defiant children
- Lack of commitment
A psychologist can help to address these issues by looking at the core patterns in a primary relationship. Is it fundamentally respectful, stable and cooperative? Are disagreements handled with adequate communication skills? Are problems solved successfully or do they resurface repeatedly? How are decisions made?
Discovering and working on self-destructive patterns can lead to their resolution. With increased effort, awareness, effective communication and understanding, all participants can contribute to developing a more mutually satisfying relationship. A successful outcome becomes more likely when all involved parties contribute in good faith to the therapeutic process. But even if your significant other refuses to participate, you can still make changes in your relationship by learning to respond differently to him or her.
Although no relationship is perfect, a therapist or counselor can substantially help to improve it by raising awareness of interpersonal dynamics and emotional transactions. When seeking to engage in conflict resolution, overcome impaired patterns of interaction, build trust, or effectively work to change or end a dysfunctional relationship, individuals, couples, or families should seek out a therapist who specializes in relationship issues. Such a psychologist or counselor can provide people with objective, compassionate, and therapeutically insightful feedback and help them resolve their relationship difficulties in a positive and growth-producing manner.
If you would like my help, you can schedule an appointment with me by calling my office at 904-687-6336 . I look forward to working with you.