Are you having Relationship Difficulties?
We are in relationships in many different ways and forms. With family members, love relationship, work relationship, friendship etc.
Psycho-emotional Approach to Treating Relationship Difficulties
* Identification of Emotion — Helping the person identify what their emotion is and where it is coming from.
Example: Sara is upset and fighting with her husband. Exploration in therapy reveals that she is feeling neglected and unimportant since her husband started working outside the home. Discovering that the relevant emotion is hurt and not anger, Sara can begin to address the problem.
* Expression of Emotion — This involves helping the person express their emotions in a healthy way.
Example: When Sara feels neglected by her husband, she responds with anger and sarcasm. This in turn leads her husband to react negatively. By expressing her hurt and anxiety at no longer being important in his life in a healthier, more authentic manner, Sara can now make it easier for her husband to react with nurturance and reassurance, which is more in line with what Sara needs.
* Dealing With Emotional Baggage — Often, people bring unresolved issues from past relationships to their present relationships. By looking at how these past relationships affect their present behavior and emotions, they are in a better position to be objective in their present relationships and able to address these past relationship issues in an appropriate way, allowing for our current relationships to become more intimate and loving.
Example: Growing up, Sara’s father was not a nurturing man. He was very involved in his work and often put Sara’s needs and the needs of the family on the back burner. When choosing a husband, Sara subconsciously chose a man who was very attentive and nurturing. While she agreed that the family needed the increased income, she did not anticipate how her relationship with her own father would affect her reaction to her husband’s working outside the home.
Identifying Unhealthy Dynamics in the Relationship
There are many dynamics that play out in all different relationships, identifying and understanding the nature and reason of the unhealthy dynamic can help an individual become aware of what is at play. Often our partner is a mirror reflecting back to us our own lost self, desires and unmet needs from our past. When we can identify and heal these dynamics, we can start to develop more honest and intimate relationships with not only others, but ourselves too.
Carla Bertolin is the psychotherapist at KIH Clinic and is currently accepting patients. Read more here:
Rakel: Integrative Medicine, 2nd ed, Copyright © 2007 Saunders, An Imprint of Elsevier