Atlanta Therapy for Relationship IssuesKathleen Leser, LCSW. Atlanta Therapist.
Although I don’t offer couples counseling, I work with individuals who are having challenges in their relationships with others and /or themselves. Your relationship with yourself is paramount. After all, this relationship is lifelong.
Relationships With Others
Living life involves interacting with people, and by building strong relationships a person can get social support and fulfillment. Maintaining good relationships can have lasting benefits on your life, and even on your physical, mental and emotional health. Of course, on the flip side, being in a strained relationship with someone can cause problems, and can even effect your overall health.
Although there are different types of relationships, there are important elements in common. Some basic principles of healthy relationships include:
Having a relationship and maintaining it are not one and the same. Involvement in a relationship requires quality time, effort and energy. If you don’t meaningfully engage in your relationships, emotional distance, misunderstandings and perhaps conflicts can occur.
Acceptance and respect
Accepting and respecting the other person for who he / she is and the uniqueness of his / her journey is essential. It is unrealistic to think that you can fix, change or control another person. Attempting to do so is a huge waste of time and energy. It is a futile exercise that can result in unfavorable outcomes like frustration, resentment, anger, fear, insecurity, defensiveness and disconnection.
It may sound cliché, but communication is still key to a strong relationship. Two people who are comfortable being open with each other and expressing their sentiments build trust and closeness. Remember that communication involves not only words but also non-verbal expression such as eye contact or touch.
Problems in intimate relationships, friendships, professional relationships or family relationships are typical. No matter how simple or complicated your conflicts seem to be, the important thing is not to fear them. Conflict avoidance is not helpful and can actually be counterproductive. Expressing your feelings and thoughts in a respectful manner and encouraging the other person to do the same can help bring about resolution and enhance connection. In some cases, agreeing to disagree may be what results.
Social network expansion
In an intimate relationship and perhaps in a friendship, some people think that it seems best to devote all of their time, affection and love to one person only. However, this may put too much pressure on the other, especially if you’re demanding too much. It is desirable to have other friends and external interests. Having a varied social network and interests outside of the relationship gives you the opportunity to be exposed to different people and experiences, which contributes to your growth and well-being. Also, you can bring these new interests and experiences into all of your relationships.
Valuing boundaries and interdependence
Setting boundaries in a relationship refers to openly communicating and asserting core personal values as a way of upholding and protecting against these values being compromised or violated. This is particularly applicable in relationships with controlling people or people who don’t take responsibility for their own life.
Interdependence can be described as an interdependent relationship of two independent people. Each person maintains and protects their core values regardless of the nature of the relationship. Also, each person has values which can be negotiated and adapted in an effort to bond and collaborate with others.
The Relationship With Yourself
Do you treat yourself as well as you treat your family and friends? If the answer is “no”, this is an opportunity to explore, attend to and nurture the lifelong relationship with yourself.
Considering the following sets of questions may be helpful.
- Do you put the needs and wants of others before your own? If so, why do you think you do so?
- Do you frequently criticize yourself? If so, replay some of this critical dialogue. How does this self-talk make you feel about yourself? Is there a sense of dislike and perhaps even self-loathing? Do you speak to your family members and friends in the same critical language and tone? If so, what happens? If not, why not?
- How do you take care of yourself? Is self -care a priority?
- Are you comfortable being alone with yourself? Do you enjoy your own company?
Cultivating a relationship of self-compassion fosters self-acceptance and self-liking. When relating with self-compassion, the good, the bad and the ugly parts of oneself are acknowledged with kindness. After all, personal failings and imperfection are universal human experiences. Self-compassion is motivating. When you care about yourself, you are inclined to do what’s healthy and in your best interests.
Ready to talk?
I welcome the opportunity to talk with you about your concerns. I offer an initial fifteen minute phone consultation at no charge. I look forward to talking with you.