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Relationship Counselling – Things to Enhance Communication, Empathy & Happiness

  • The love of another person can offer us the keys to greater self knowledge, helping us to get to the very heart of who we really are and a shared spontaneity.
  • Being oneself is key, not changing ourselves for the image of what our partner wants us to be.
  • Communicating within a relationship so that both sides’ opinions can be respected. Healthy relationships are when both sides of an opinion can be heard and responded to.
  • If there is a reoccurring problem in your relationship that triggers a deep feeling of rejection in you, recognise that the hurt you feel is because it has affected you on a fundamental level. Because of this, couples tend to blame each other leading to demand, expectation and pressure on the partner who has triggered the problem to alleviate the pain caused. In this case both parties need to stand back from the “problem” otherwise it can affect all communication and closeness.
  • Listen closely to each other with empathy, warmth and respect, remember after many years of being together you have grown close and a deep emotional attachment occurred between you and when that bond is damaged it can create fear, disappointment and disconnection.
  • Nurture and cultivate emotional responsiveness you can do this in many ways, remember that both of you want to feel appreciated and loved so reassurance that the relationship is secure and safe will help you both to maintain an emotional response that is mutual for you both.
  • Remember a secure emotional response is the very fabric that grounds a relationship in union and togetherness, if this is hindered by rejection or disapproval, then it can leave two people feeling that they have disappointed their partner, but if you listen closely to each other with care and attention, this cultivates a strong secure emotional base for the relationship to grow in to the future.
  • No matter how busy your weekly schedule may be, even if you have children, find time for one another; go out to dinner or lunch and experience communication and closeness with one another.
  • Treating yourself and your ambitions with respect, talking openly and asking for what you want and need – not backing down in the face of indifference and conflict. Remember in a relationship both people want to feel that they are needed and appreciated; it’s very easy to fall in to bottling up thoughts or feelings inside without expressing why you might be unhappy with something that your partner may have said or done to hurt you. Find a time when you can communicate this with one another so that neither of you feel you may have upset your partner which can lead to feelings of disapproval and disappointment. The pebble exercise and is a good and gentle way to make this new way of communicating playful and responsive.
  • Set boundaries and defend them with conviction and not aggression – your partner will treat you with respect if you speak your piece without pushing them away or closing down.
  • Everything in the couple relationship depends on the amount of empathy, validation and respect, if this is in a state of “flow” the general health and well being of each individual will flourish and move towards a sense of living together apart in unity, security, emotional connection, independent individuality and happiness.
  • Take time to communicate, even for a few minutes a day before you go to sleep – take time to talk about your day together. Good communication is a key element in happy relationships.
  • Try new and exciting things together, just simple changes can rekindle romance in your relationship.
  • Have a good balance of “togetherness” and “separate time”. For a healthy relationship you need some time to be separate, this enhances appreciation and there will be things you want to share when you see each other again.
  • If this is something your partner is finding difficult about your behaviour, then try to make positive changes and empathise with what she/he may be feeling. This clearly shows your partner that you respect how they might feel and that really does make a difference to how she/he will respond to you – this alone builds warmth, respect and closeness.
  • Use your therapy or counselling to understand what you might be doing that triggers a negative response in your partner – aim at making conscious changes to break the pattern between you.
  • Don’t hide resentment, if something is bothering you don’t hide it or forget it, because it will continue to build and your partner will fall in to feeling she/he has done something wrong which can lead to self disappointment and guilt, it takes a lot of courage to be vulnerable and open and say what is.
  • Appreciate each other and try not to take each other for granted.
  • Acknowledge your partner’s concerns. If something goes wrong and we feel responsible, it is easy to become defensive when our partner expresses their concerns, listen with openness and empathy and you will then feel a mutual loving responsiveness.
  • Respond rather then react. The difference between response and reaction has to do with the amount and type of emotion that’s involved. If we choose to respond rather then react, our reaction will be softened by our desire to maintain peace and unity in our relationship.
  • Honour each other’s feelings. The way men and women respond to stress is often very different. Recognising that we all express our concerns in different ways makes it easier to honour the feelings and expressions of our partner,
  • Respect is key to happy healthy relationships. In reality it’s not familiarity that breeds contempt: it’s a lack of respect and consideration for our partner.
  • Differentiate between the relationship and the problem. It is vital to always recognise the difference between the “actual” relationship and the problems and challenges you face. The love you feel for one another needs to be protected from the problems you encounter. Confusing the two is heading for the end of a relationship. To do this we need to work at confining our response to stress so it doesn’t poison our feeling about our loved one.
  • Reassure and validate your partnership often. It is important to remind yourself that you are allies in every struggle and challenge. Remind each other that you are there for your partner no matter what. If you make a mistake, be quick to apologise and speak about why you are apologising, this will show that you fully empathise with what has hurt your loved one which demonstrates your commitment to the partnership, allowing your partner to sense how much you value and respect the relationship will help you clear away any doubts caused by problematic situations and fear of getting closer and more open to love.
  • The main key point is: get help if you need it. When things get confusing and painful, don’t be too proud to seek qualified help, sometimes when we are close to a situation we lose objectivity. An impartial third party like a relationship therapist can often see things much more clearly and provide valuable insight at just the right time.

If you need help with your relationship Helen is available for personal appointments via Skype or at her clinic in Sevenoaks, Kent. Please contact us for more information.