Throughout our lives we interact with people; family, friends, fellow students, work colleagues, people at the checkout of our local store, our hairdresser and so on. These relationships will vary considerably in how close we feel about each individual. Some relationships will feel comfortable and safe, whilst others will be uncomfortable and challenging.
When relationships are running smoothly there is nothing better. We look forward to seeing and being around that person and they can even make a ‘bad’ day better. However the converse is also true. When we feel a relationship is not going well, it can be uncomfortable, stressful, distressing and painful.
Whether the relationship we are struggling with is a personal or a work relationship, it has the power to adversely affect our psychological and emotional well-being.
In a close personal relationship, an individual may understand clearly what the difficulty is but may need support to explore what is or has happened and what they want or need to do about it. However sometimes whilst we understand that there is difficulty in the relationship, it may be that we have no idea what is going wrong. Another situation where someone else e.g. a partner may be telling us that we are the problem but nothing we do is working to resolve things. Therapy can give us a safe space in which to consider what has or is happening in our relationship and to explore and what you would like to do about it. If necessary therapy can enable to identify what is blocking you from making decisions or from carrying out your solutions.
In therapy you can unburden what you feel is happening in your relationship, without feeling judged. In therapy we can explore why you feel the way you do, how you relate to others, how you feel they relate to you, how well you understand others and more importantly, how well you understand yourself. Understanding how relationships, from our formative years onwards have impacted us may enable us to manage our relationships more effectively.
How we behave in personal relationships may also impact our work relationships. This is made more complicated by the different aspects at play in the workplace e.g. power differentials in our roles. We can never control the other person, their behaviour or how they relate to others directly but we can look at how we relate to others and potentially learn to ‘manage’ the relationship more effectively.
Many people choose not to address issues in their relationships because they “don’t like conflict’. This is completely understandable. However, please consider that most people do not want to go into conflict with others but actually conflict despite all the negative associations comes about because we care about something. The issue is not about coming into conflict but rather about how we communicate our differences with others, how we listen to them.