New Year: New (and Improved) Relationship Status
The New Year brings the renewal of change for many people. This includes relationships. Perhaps you have taken time to reflect on your relationship—aspects that bring you safety, security, joy, pleasure, and happiness and aspects that leave you feeling uncertain, insecure, anxious, disappointed, and depressed.
After contemplation and wishing for a change, now is a great time to take the next step to assess your relationships by working with a therapist. Here are five ways a therapist can help you with your relationships.
Assess the Current Status of Your Relationship(s)
By understanding the current dynamics of your relationship, your therapist will have a framework to help support you with what you are looking for and can create a tailored plan to help you achieve this. This may include making changes to a current relationship, adding new relationships, or working on skills within yourself. If you have been hurt by relationships, it is important to take time to heal and love yourself.
Explore your Relationship Values
What do you value in a relationship? What are the desirable characteristics that you are seeking and what characteristics do you bring to the relationship? Your therapist can assist with open-ended questions to help bring clarity to values. They can also support you with processing experiences within relationships that impact your beliefs and values about relationships.
Identify Your Relationship Needs
After having a good understanding of your relationship values, your therapist can help you identify your needs within relationships. Perhaps you already have clarity of your values and needs but are struggling with communicating these needs and regulating your emotions. Learning and practicing new skills may be the next step for you. This work can be done both individually and with your partner(s).
Learn (and Practice) Effective Strategies to Communicate Needs
Learning and practicing new skills takes time and practice, but the results are worth it! It is important to be consistent when learning and practicing new skills both in and outside of the session for them to be effective. Your therapist is there to help support you throughout this process.
Find Effective Ways to Cope
Sometimes it can be scary to communicate your needs within relationships because there is no certainty in how the message will be received. It may go better than expected, which is wonderful; it can be exciting to take the next steps. When messages are not received well or when consequences impact the status of the relationship, you will likely need additional support with coping. Your therapist is available to support you with coping and can assist with crisis resources if needed.
Written By: Charlotte Johnson, MA, LPCC