Equality and Balancing On Relationship

Which of us hasn’t dreamed of finally finding and keeping our perfect relationship? What if we are in a partnership that is confusing and always changing? How do we cope with the loss and heartache relationships can sometimes bring? What if we don’t seem to be attracting any kind of intimate interactions at all?

The working dynamics of good relationships are for many of us one of the greatest mysteries of life. It is a secret each of us seeks to unravel from the day we are aware there is more than one of us around. Why do interpersonal interactions — something we are all engaged in every day, every minute, every second of our lives — sometimes seem so challenging, complicated, confusing, difficult, and mysterious?

The quality of our partnerships with others actually reflects the quality of the relationships we have with ourselves. Do we know who we are, and do we like who that is? Do we believe we are worthy and deserve unconditional love? While we may know how we would like someone to love us, do we love ourselves that way already? Do we trust and accept all parts of ourselves? The bottom line for most all of us is we simply would like to be loved and accepted for who we are, for our real selves.

MALE AND FEMALE TEMPLATES

As we change our inner definition or template of our male and female selves to a place of balance and self-acceptance, we are able to attract someone who is more reflective of our true counterpart. Even if we are balanced with our inner masculine reflection, if we do not like our own femininity, we would be unable to create a truly balanced relationship for ourselves.

One aspect many people do not give much thought to is that we look to our partners to reflect aspects of ourselves back to us. For example, if we are a woman, our partner is holding a place for us so we can better understand the feminine part of ourselves. If we are a male, our partner is holding a place for us to understand the masculine part of ourselves. Although this may be the opposite way most people view their relationships, how, if we were a woman, would we be better able to understand what type of woman we were unless someone could reflect it back to us as we interact with them?

THE TASK OF ANY RELATIONSHIP

The task of any relationship is always to find ourselves, to understand ourselves, to be the complete and natural selves we already are. The only true relationship we ever really have is the one we have with ourselves. Everything else, every other interaction, whether we might realize it or not, is simply a reflection. As long as we resist being our natural, balanced selves, the real us, we continue to always attract relationships that will serve to remind us of what and who we are not. Resisting who we are will, therefore, usually attracts relationships that are unfulfilling, or ones where we have to work very hard. By being fully and completely who we are, we then attract relationships that reflect back to us the fullness of our creative being. It is the age old adage: What we put out is what we get back.

FUNCTIONING HALF COMPLETE

Many of us function as if we are only half complete. If we project the vibration of half of an individual, looking around for someone else to complete us, we attract an incomplete relationship. The resulting interaction with anyone attracted in this manner will usually come up short of what we ideally desire. Entering into any interaction from the viewpoint we need the relationship to feel complete, results in the relationship continuing to reflect and remind us of our belief in our incompleteness. What we will have is a partnership made up of two half people, truly satisfying to neither person. When we know we are a relationship unto ourselves, complete and sufficient within ourselves, we set up a vibration that attracts someone with those same qualities and assurance. Too many times people make out long, wonderful lists of all the attributes they wish their perfect partner to have. The question to ask is, are we all those things? Do we have all those attributes? Unless we are able to reflect the type of vibrational being we choose to attract, how will we ever be seen and recognized by someone who does?

WHAT DO WE ATTRACT IN OUR RELATIONSHIPS?

We always attract our definition of what we think we are capable of attracting, no matter what may be on our wish list. The first question we should ask ourselves (the most basic question for any relationship) is: What do we get out of it? What do we get out of having a relationship with so and so? Secondly, what did we learn about ourselves by being in that relationship? We primarily attract situations to ourselves that create interactions, allowing us to continue to accelerate, serve, and learn who we are. We can do this with ease, grace, love, and joy, or through the school of hard knocks. The choice is always ours.

RELATIONSHIPS ARE OPPORTUNITIES TO SHARE

The reason for relating to someone else is for the opportunity to share who we are. Approaching a relationship as an opportunity to share attracts individuals who reflect our belief in our own completeness. When our relationships are set up this way, we are able to interact with the other person as two complete individuals coming together to share experiences. We will both know and experience the idea of personal fulfillment.

THE RESULTS OF EXPECTATIONS AND JUDGMENTS

When we put expectations or value judgments on the outcome of our relationships, we never actually get to experience the real reason we created the particular interaction in the first place. For this reason, it is important to accept relationships for what they are. If we invalidate what we have drawn into our lives, we are really invalidating ourselves.

BALANCED RELATIONSHIPS

It is important to understand why we have drawn certain individuals into our lives. We usually have attracted others to allow ourselves the opportunity to grow and to give us more information about who we are. The idea is not to become like each other. The idea is to allow each individual to be the strongest, healthiest, most balanced individual they can possibly be. Sometimes we might forget this because we think unity is the product of conformity. Unity is the product of granting and allowing equality to uniqueness and diversity. In a balanced relationship, we do not lose our individuality — just the opposite occurs. We each become stronger reflections for each other of all that is possible for each of us. The purpose of any relationship is to allow us to be more of who we choose to be. It is like looking into a mirror and seeing another aspect of ourselves. This does not mean our relationships will be an exact 1-1 reflection of who we each are. Rather, our relationships become a reflection of what the two of us have agreed to learn and teach each other.

The best possible relationship is a balanced sharing, without dependency. Each party in a relationship has strong, natural attributes that can assist the other in their growth. If our support is aimed at creating a space for our partner or friend to grow in their own self-support, the relationship will be a happy and flourishing one. Think of it this way. Instead of constantly doling out small pieces of bread, wouldn’t it be of true, lasting benefit to teach someone how to bake their own bread? If we are in a relationship where we are giving, giving, giving, it sends out the message to our partners that we do not believe they have the ability to match or mock up their own vibrations of completeness and sufficiency. Offer support to others as long as it does not represent the idea we are taking on responsibility for them. We cannot really be responsibility for other adults. Our attempts to do this usually leads us very quickly to examine our own issues about boundaries, because taking on another person’s responsibilities brings us outside of where we prefer to be. The idea of responsibility is not to lay the blame on anyone, rather it allows us the freedom to choose what we prefer.

In a balanced relationship, each of us can still do what we prefer to do. We don’t have to change our lives just because someone else disapproves. There is no reason to attempt to be anything that we are not. Doing that only brings us more of what we are not. We will only become more uncomfortable, unhappy, unhealthy, and unsuccessful, if we keep trying to be something we are not. It is vital to express who we are, be who we are, and say what we think. We should only change our lives because we choose to, and because we are becoming more completely the real us. If we know we are functioning in true personal integrity, even if others around us don’t like it or want us to change, we continue to be who we are.

If we are doing what we enjoy and love in life, it very quickly provides us confirmation of who we really are. The idea is always to relax, have fun and be ourselves. Remember, anyone we attract into our lives by being ourselves belongs in our lives. Being of service to ourselves and others is only possible when we are complete within our own selves. If we are not fully ourselves, then the other person is not really in a relationship with the real us anyway!

“WRONG” RELATIONSHIPS

Why would any of us create a whole series of wrong relationships? The reason itself is basically very simple. Either we have forgotten who we are, or we are afraid to accept who we are. Who we are is actually our naturally centered selves in a state of balance and complete self-acceptance. As long as we resist being our natural, balanced selves, the real us, we will not attract harmonious, long lasting, or healthy relationships.

Once we become true to ourselves, we automatically attract the right person to ourselves, even as we move through changes. If someone decides to change or leave a relationship with us, realize their energy is no longer in harmony with ours. Therefore, by understanding this even if someone leaves us nothing will really be missing. We cannot miss anything from a vibration that we are not truly a part of.

HOW DO WE SHOW WE REALLY LOVE SOMEONE?

We can really show we love somebody by accepting them for who they are and by allowing them to be just where they already are. It is very important not to put any expectation on how it must be, or regret how it was or was not. When we live in the moment and trust ourselves enough to be in each and every moment, we always attract whomever is appropriate for ourselves. The best advice ever given for relationships is to trust, let go, and be ourselves. Trust is the glue for any relationship — the trust we feel for ourselves, as well as the trust we have with others.

WHAT INGREDIENT WILL INSURE OUR RELATIONSHIPS ARE ENHANCING?

All relationships, when created through a sense of integrity, are fundamentally enhancing. Relationships are meant to expand and evolve. If our relationships restrict us and cause us to inhibit and repress our true selves, we need to ask ourselves very quickly what are we still doing in the those relationships? What lessons are we learning from staying in these situations? If relationships are created from a point of dishonesty — and it could even be we are dishonest with ourselves, or with the other people about our truth — then these types of relationships will act as exclusive, disharmonic interactions. If we are able to let go of fear in our relationships, we become compassionately supportive and allowing of the other person so they, in turn, can be true to themselves. It is up to us to set the example first. The negative side of support is manipulation and interdependency and this makes everyone feel icky.

Some of us may have a fear that being a strong individual will cause problems or separation and may eventually push us away from one another. However, this is not true in a healthy relationship. The point is not to lean on anyone, the idea is to support them. In supporting them, we become supported. More importantly, we all need to practice unconditional love, acceptance, and support for ourselves. This is what allows us to trust and know, no matter what changes are made. Know, by divine law, we are never cut off from anything that is truly intended for us.

CHANGE

When we come from a place of integrity and changes occur then the changes belong in our lives. Fear of change is usually the fear of losing something. If we understand everything is happening as it needs to, then we never need to fear losing anything. It is usually only the fear of the change that prevents us from changing along with our partners. By letting go of our fears, we will know that no matter how much we might change, we will attract whatever and whoever is representative, harmonious, and unified with our changes.

If we allow change into our lives as we naturally grow and evolve — instead of resisting it or pretending it isn’t happening — the vast amounts of energy we used to put into resisting change become available for our own creative purposes. It has been said the only constant thing in this world is change. As we honor the changes that occur in our lives, we will find we no longer experience others who have made the choice to live and act differently. We will interact and co-create with those who exist on the same level as we do, with similar natures and vibrations. The best way to share our wisdom and ideas is to simply be an example ourselves.

“CHANGING” OUR PARTNERS

If we feel we have to mold, change, or manipulate our partners, the relationship bears examination. When we force someone to do something, it is a statement that we believe we will never really get what we are after, or that the person we are with will not be able to give it to us. When we force changes in our relationships, even if certain changes occur for awhile, our relationships are no longer in balance or integrity. Sooner or later the individuals who are being forced to go against their true selves will be forced to leave as the relationship is no longer a reflection of the real them.

Force is a non-integrated, distorted way of taking action. Remember, everyone naturally moves at the perfect rate and speed for themselves already. There is never any positive reason to accelerate someone (by force) to look and accept things they are not ready for. Even if they would be able to hear or see some part of the lesson we are attempting to force down their throats, until they are ready, in their own time and place, they will never grasp a true understanding of the lesson we are forcing them to learn. And because of our intervention, their original lesson became distorted and is much more difficult and confusing for them to learn. Usually, once interfered with, they will have to recreate their lesson all over again in an effort to counterbalance our interference.

Someone is ready to truly gain from our assistance and wisdom when they ask, of their own free will, for our guidance and insight. In such an instance, truth and wisdom is then shared, understood, and integrated in just the right way. The other person, by the fact of their asking, is in just the right place and state where they can truly hear, know and understand what we have to offer.

SAFETY

If we feel we need to keep ourselves safe or protect ourselves, we end up limiting the type of relationships we can create. We hear often from others that they are not currently in relationship because it does not feel safe. Two things might be the cause. If we feel we need safety, we may somehow feel we are in a relationship that will not allow us to be our real selves. On the other hand, if we are in a relationship that is not satisfying, but we stay in it because we feel safe, maybe we are not safe with the idea of taking full responsibility for who and what we are, and who and what we could be. As soon as we stop resisting our natural selves, our reality will automatically change to allow loving and supportive relationships to come into our lives.

In some cases, people feel they need safety to avoid being in a position where they could be abandoned or vulnerable. Some of us would rather be alone than express our true inner needs. If we are in a relationship where we do not feel safe or comfortable expressing our deepest inner needs, we are alone anyway. We are simply alone together.

COMPLETE TRUST
Trust really boils down to our own ability to trust ourselves. Complete trust occurs when we have an absolute knowingness we deserve to exist. Do we have to do something special in order to deserve to exist? No. We simply have to be. Creation has already decreed we deserve to exist. Can we give ourselves the same acknowledgment, respect, and love? We have a Divine right to exist in the manner we choose, simply because we prefer it! There is no other reason needed.

COMMUNICATION

Most of the problems that occur in relationships are caused by what is not being said, rather than what is said. Non communication, or withheld communication, is simply another way many of us hold back the real us from our partner. The problem with unspoken communication is more complex than might first be perceived. Saying “everything is all right,” when we are thinking “drop dead,” won’t fool the other person for very long. Our real heart’s truth and our honest feelings will always be psychically picked up by the other person on some level. Count on it! This is an ability we all have. It is the same sense that tells us when there has been a big fight or disagreement as we step into a strangely quiet and tense room. It is the same sense that we use psychically to energetically scan large groups of strangers at a party, as we decide who would be interesting to spend an evening getting to know.

Direct unspoken communication is often used by intent by a man we know, well versed in martial arts. He uses it to defeat very powerful and well known karate masters. Gifted in his own right, this particular gentleman is very aware of the power of unspoken communication and uses it to his advantage. As he takes his preliminary bows before his match begins, he smiles on the outside while mentally projecting extreme violence towards his opponent. His opponent energetically and mentally picks up these projected waves of discordant energy. These waves temporarily short out his opponents’ power centers, making it almost impossible for them to defend themselves as the bout begins.

Every relationship, in order to grow and flourish, requires open and honest communication coming from a point of inner truth and balance. Honest communication enables the other person to truly relate and to have a relationship with who we actually are. Open, clear, conscious communication enables the other person to observe and act with trust, for they know where they stand. By being clear and direct, they won’t be receiving one message from us verbally and another mismatched or opposing one psychically. It is time to share what is in our hearts with truth, trust, honest, and clarity.

SUMMARY

True creative relationships are expressed and experienced from a state of relaxed trust and creative joy. Relationships are simply learning how to play with each other, how to love and accept ourselves unconditionally, and how to trust who and what we are. When we share ourselves in a relationship, we will feel our own sense of completeness, and we will realize we are never alone. Allow yourselves to remember the world is magical, and allow that magic and enchantment back into your life. Be who you are, and do the things you love to do as often as you can! That is really the only way to really live our lives.

 

Things You Should Know About Relationship Therapy

“Maybe if I have this client blink his eyes at an increased speed, while exposing him to his past, and add some cognitive behavioral therapy while sitting next to a waterfall, he may be able to function more effectively in his life!” Yes this is rather exaggerated, however it demonstrates the idea that as professionals in the field of therapy, we often seek complex theories, techniques, and strategies to more effectively treat our consumers. A large amount of our precious time is spent seeking new theories and techniques to treat clients; evidence for this statement is shown by the thousands of theories and techniques that have been created to treat clients seeking therapy.

The fact that theories are being created and the field is growing is absolutely magnificent; however we may be searching for something that has always been right under our nose. Clinicians often enjoy analyzing and making things more intricate that they actually are; when in reality what works is rather simple. This basic and uncomplicated ingredient for successful therapy is what will be explored in this article. This ingredient is termed the therapeutic relationship. Some readers may agree and some may disagree, however the challenge is to be open minded and remember the consequences of “contempt prior to investigation”.

Any successful therapy is grounded in a continuous strong, genuine therapeutic relationship or more simply put by Rogers, the “Helping Relationship”. Without being skilled in this relationship, no techniques are likely to be effective. You are free to learn, study, research and labor over CBT, DBT, EMDR, RET, and ECT as well as attending infinite trainings on these and many other techniques, although without mastering the art and science of building a therapeutic relationship with your client, therapy will not be effective. You can even choose to spend thousands of dollars on a PhD, PsyD, Ed.D, and other advanced degrees, which are not being put down, however if you deny the vital importance of the helping relationship you will again be unsuccessful. Rogers brilliantly articulated this point when he said, “Intellectual training and the acquiring of information has, I believe many valuable results–but, becoming a therapist is not one of those results (1957).”

This author will attempt to articulate what the therapeutic relationship involves; questions clinicians can ask themselves concerning the therapeutic relationship, as well as some empirical literature that supports the importance of the therapeutic relationship. Please note that therapeutic relationship, therapeutic alliance, and helping relationship will be used interchangeably throughout this article.

Characteristic of the Therapeutic Relationship

The therapeutic relationship has several characteristics; however the most vital will be presented in this article. The characteristics may appear to be simple and basic knowledge, although the constant practice and integration of these characteristic need to be the focus of every client that enters therapy. The therapeutic relationship forms the foundation for treatment as well as large part of successful outcome. Without the helping relationship being the number one priority in the treatment process, clinicians are doing a great disservice to clients as well as to the field of therapy as a whole.

The following discussion will be based on the incredible work of Carl Rogers concerning the helping relationship. There is no other psychologist to turn to when discussing this subject, than Dr. Rogers himself. His extensive work gave us a foundation for successful therapy, no matter what theory or theories a clinician practices. Without Dr. Rogers outstanding work, successful therapy would not be possible.

Rogers defines a helping relationship as , ” a relationship in which one of the participants intends that there should come about , in one or both parties, more appreciation of, more expression of, more functional use of the latent inner resources of the individual ( 1961).” There are three characteristics that will be presented that Rogers states are essential and sufficient for therapeutic change as well as being vital aspects of the therapeutic relationship (1957). In addition to these three characteristics, this author has added two final characteristic that appear to be effective in a helping relationship.

1. Therapist’s genuineness within the helping relationship. Rogers discussed the vital importance of the clinician to “freely and deeply” be himself. The clinician needs to be a “real” human being. Not an all knowing, all powerful, rigid, and controlling figure. A real human being with real thoughts, real feelings, and real problems (1957). All facades should be left out of the therapeutic environment. The clinician must be aware and have insight into him or herself. It is important to seek out help from colleagues and appropriate supervision to develop this awareness and insight. This specific characteristic fosters trust in the helping relationship. One of the easiest ways to develop conflict in the relationship is to have a “better than” attitude when working with a particular client.

2. Unconditional positive regard. This aspect of the relationship involves experiencing a warm acceptance of each aspect of the clients experience as being a part of the client. There are no conditions put on accepting the client as who they are. The clinician needs to care for the client as who they are as a unique individual. One thing often seen in therapy is the treatment of the diagnosis or a specific problem. Clinicians need to treat the individual not a diagnostic label. It is imperative to accept the client for who they are and where they are at in their life. Remember diagnoses are not real entities, however individual human beings are.

3. Empathy. This is a basic therapeutic aspect that has been taught to clinicians over and over again, however it is vital to be able to practice and understand this concept. An accurate empathetic understanding of the client’s awareness of his own experience is crucial to the helping relationship. It is essential to have the ability to enter the clients “private world” and understand their thoughts and feelings without judging these (Rogers, 1957).

4. Shared agreement on goals in therapy. Galileo once stated, “You cannot teach a man anything, you can just help him to find it within himself.” In therapy clinicians must develop goals that the client would like to work on rather than dictate or impose goals on the client. When clinicians have their own agenda and do not cooperate with the client, this can cause resistance and a separation in the helping relationship (Roes, 2002). The fact is that a client that is forced or mandated to work on something he has no interest in changing, may be compliant for the present time; however these changes will not be internalized. Just think of yourself in your personal life. If you are forced or coerced to work on something you have no interest in, how much passion or energy will you put into it and how much respect will you have for the person doing the coercing. You may complete the goal; however you will not remember or internalize much involved in the process.

5. Integrate humor in the relationship. In this authors own clinical experience throughout the years, one thing that has helped to establish a strong therapeutic relationship with clients is the integration of humor in the therapy process. It appears to teach clients to laugh at themselves without taking life and themselves too serious. It also allows them to see the therapist as a down to earth human being with a sense of humor. Humor is an excellent coping skill and is extremely healthy to the mind, body, and spirit. Try laughing with your clients. It will have a profound effect on the relationship as well as in your own personal life.

Before delving into the empirical literature concerning this topic, it is important to present some questions that Rogers recommends (1961) asking yourself as a clinician concerning the development of a helping relationship. These questions should be explored often and reflected upon as a normal routine in your clinical practice. They will help the clinician grow and continue to work at developing the expertise needed to create a strong therapeutic relationship and in turn the successful practice of therapy.

1. Can I be in some way which will be perceived by the client as trustworthy, dependable, or consistent in some deep sense?

2. Can I be real? This involves being aware of thoughts and feelings and being honest with yourself concerning these thoughts and feelings. Can I be who I am? Clinicians must accept themselves before they can be real and accepted by clients.

3. Can I let myself experience positive attitudes toward my client – for example warmth, caring, respect) without fearing these? Often times clinicians distance themselves and write it off as a “professional” attitude; however this creates an impersonal relationship. Can I remember that I am treating a human being, just like myself?

4. Can I give the client the freedom to be who they are?

5. Can I be separate from the client and not foster a dependent relationship?

6. Can I step into the client’s private world so deeply that I lose all desire to evaluate or judge it?

7. Can I receive this client as he is? Can I accept him or her completely and communicate this acceptance?

8. Can I possess a non-judgmental attitude when dealing with this client?

9. Can I meet this individual as a person who is becoming, or will I be bound by his past or my past?

Empirical Literature

There are obviously too many empirical studies in this area to discuss in this or any brief article, however this author would like to present a summary of the studies throughout the years and what has been concluded.

Horvath and Symonds (1991) conducted a Meta analysis of 24 studies which maintained high design standards, experienced therapists, and clinically valid settings. They found an effect size of .26 and concluded that the working alliance was a relatively robust variable linking therapy process to outcomes. The relationship and outcomes did not appear to be a function of type of therapy practiced or length of treatment.

Another review conducted by Lambert and Barley (2001), from Brigham Young University summarized over one hundred studies concerning the therapeutic relationship and psychotherapy outcome. They focused on four areas that influenced client outcome; these were extra therapeutic factors, expectancy effects, specific therapy techniques, and common factors/therapeutic relationship factors. Within these 100 studies they averaged the size of contribution that each predictor made to outcome. They found that 40% of the variance was due to outside factors, 15% to expectancy effects, 15% to specific therapy techniques, and 30% of variance was predicted by the therapeutic relationship/common factors. Lambert and Barley (2001) concluded that, “Improvement in psychotherapy may best be accomplished by learning to improve ones ability to relate to clients and tailoring that relationship to individual clients.”

One more important addition to these studies is a review of over 2000 process-outcomes studies conducted by Orlinsky, Grave, and Parks (1994), which identified several therapist variables and behaviors that consistently demonstrated to have a positive impact on treatment outcome. These variables included therapist credibility, skill, empathic understanding, affirmation of the client, as well as the ability to engage the client and focus on the client’s issues and emotions.

Finally, this author would like to mention an interesting statement made by Schore (1996). Schore suggests “that experiences in the therapeutic relationship are encoded as implicit memory, often effecting change with the synaptic connections of that memory system with regard to bonding and attachment. Attention to this relationship with some clients will help transform negative implicit memories of relationships by creating a new encoding of a positive experience of attachment.” This suggestion is a topic for a whole other article, however what this suggests is that the therapeutic relationship may create or recreate the ability for clients to bond or develop attachments in future relationships. To this author, this is profound and thought provoking. Much more discussion and research is needed in this area, however briefly mentioning it sheds some light on another important reason that the therapeutic relationship is vital to therapy.

Throughout this article the therapeutic relationship has been discussed in detail, questions to explore as a clinician have been articulated, and empirical support for the importance of the therapeutic relationship have been summarized. You may question the validity of this article or research, however please take an honest look at this area of the therapy process and begin to practice and develop strong therapeutic relationships. You will see the difference in the therapy process as well as client outcome. This author experiences the gift of the therapeutic relationship each and every day I work with clients. In fact, a client recently told me that I was “the first therapist he has seen since 9-11 that he trusted and acted like a real person. He continued on to say, “that’s why I have the hope that I can get better and actually trust another human being.” That’s quite a reward of the therapeutic relationship and process. What a gift!

Ask yourself, how you would like to be treated if you were a client? Always remember we are all part of the human race and each human being is unique and important, thus they should be treated that way in therapy. Our purpose as clinicians is to help other human beings enjoy this journey of life and if this field isn’t the most important field on earth I don’t know what is. We help determine and create the future of human beings. To conclude, Constaquay, Goldfried, Wiser, Raue, and Hayes (1996) stated, ” It is imperative that clinicians remember that decades of research consistently demonstrates that relationship factors correlate more highly with client outcome than do specialized treatment techniques.”

 

Time When You Need Relationship Coaching

Relationship Coaching is the application of coaching to personal and business relationships. While many become motivated to seek help when struggling with their relationships, coaching and relationship coaching are positive, results-oriented professions that help functional people achieve their personal and relationship goals and is not a substitute or replacement for therapy provided by a licensed clinician trained to treat mental, emotional, and psychological disorders. While relationship coaches might be experts in relationships, the art and science of coaching is to facilitate success for the client without providing advice or “professional opinions.”

Origins

The label “relationship coach” has been used for many years by professionals (Psychotherapists, Psychologists, Marriage and Family Therapists, Social Workers, etc.) and entrepreneurial para-professionals with a wide variety of backgrounds.

With the evolution of personal/life coaching as a recognized profession in 1995 with training standards and certification initially established by the International Coach Federation, relationship coaching as a coaching specialty with its own professional training, standards, certification and methodologies was first developed in 1997.

Relationship Coaching Specialties

Singles Coaching

44% of U.S. adults are single, and 27% of adults live alone. If this trend continues, soon, the majority of the population of the western world will be single.

Helping singles have fulfilling lives and successful relationships requires understanding that not all singles are alike and most do not fit the stereotype of being lonely and desperate for relationship.

Here are seven types of singles:

  1. Temporarily Single-actively seeking a partner and in between relationships
  2. Recently Divorced/Widowed-recovering from loss and not ready for a relationship
  3. Frustrated Single-wants a partner, not able to find one and gives up
  4. Passive Single- wants a relationship but not actively seeking a partner
  5. Single But Not Available- self-perception of being single and desires a lasting relationship, but “hooking up” to get needs met
  6. Busy/Distracted Single-absorbed in being a single parent, career, school, etc. and doesn’t have time or desire for partner
  7. Single by Choice- no desire for a partner, being single is a conscious permanent lifestyle choice for many reasons, including –
    • “Been there, done that, don’t want to do it again”
    • “Why buy the cow when you can get the milk for free?”
    • Ascetic or other religious/spiritual reason
    • Loner
    • Values independence more than couplehood
    • Polyamory/alternative lifestyle that doesn’t lend itself to cohabitation
    • Celibate/asexual
    • Financial reasons
    • Aging
    • Health

Each type of single has their own unique developmental goals and challenges requiring specialized skills and strategies to effectively coach them to experience relationship success independent of the advice-driven approaches of other professions.

Couples Coaching

As with singles, not all couples are alike. Here are four types of couples:

    1. Dating Couples: Self identify as “single” but have an on-going, non-exclusive relationship. “Friends with benefits” is one common way of describing these couples. These couples see the purpose of their relationship as fun and recreational. Dating couples often seek coaching when one or both partners want to take their relationship to the next level.
    1. Pre-committed Couples: Both partners have decided to stop dating others and become an exclusive couple, and while co-habitation is common at this stage, no formal or explicit long-term commitments have been made. These couples often desire commitment and are testing their relationship for long-term compatibility. Pre-committed couples often seek coaching when they encounter a “deal-breaker” (also referred to as a “requirement”) preventing their ability to enter into a long-term committed relationship without sacrificing something important (such as whether or not to have children).
    1. Pre-marital Couples: Both partners have decided to become committed, but haven’t yet acted to formalize their commitment (marriage, commitment ceremony, etc.). Many of these couples are acutely aware of the high failure rate of committed relationships and seek coaching to acquire the skills and practices needed for long-term relationship success.
  1. Committed Couples: “Commitment” can be defined as both an “attitude” (belief) and a “fact” (formal, symbolic, even legal act). While most couples might think of their relationship as “committed,” if they haven’t acted to formalize their commitment they have the attitude but not the fact of commitment. Couples who have made a formal commitment sometimes bring up divorce in response to a problem, which can be a cause of confusion, consternation and conflict. Most committed couples are married or have formalized their commitment in a ceremony of some kind. These couples often seek coaching because they desire to find a way to successfully solve problems and “live happily ever after.”

Family Coaching

Family coaching includes nuclear and extended families, parenting, siblings, family businesses and co-housing arrangements.

Business Relationship Coaching

Productive businesses require effective relationships. Coaching business relationships can include workplace relationships such as manager-employee, peer-peer, between corporate divisions, teams, as well as customer and vendor relationships.

Comparing Coaching and Therapy

In short, coaching is a results and goal-oriented methodology that assumes the client is functional and fully capable of success, while (psycho)therapy is a healing profession trained and licensed to diagnose and treat mental, emotional, and psychological disorders. Coaching and therapy can complement each other very well. It could be said that coaching starts where therapy ends, making coaching a good fit for personal growth-oriented therapists.

Being a professional Relationship Coach is a fun and fulfilling way to make a great living as well as make a difference in the world. If you enjoy helping others and find that your friends, family and co-workers come to you to talk about their relationship goals and challenges, you’re probably a good fit for this growing profession.

 

Easy Tips To Change Unhealthy Relationship Become Healthy Relationship

How to Turn an Unhealthy Relationship Into a Healthy Relationship

Falling in love feels like soaring with eagles, but an unhealthy relationship can bring you crashing to the ground. We’ve all been there a time or two. In the beginning, you love each other so much that the whole world glimmers and glows. But this perfection soon gives way to ups and downs, even in a healthy relationship.

Sadly, many couples break up as that romantic high wears off, leaving them with the reality of real love. They let normal relationship issues tear them apart rather than bring them closer together. Obviously, a healthy relationship can’t develop without two people determined to stay together.

There’s no way around the truth: Relationships require work. No two people are alike, and sometimes differences create painful misunderstandings. Moreover, people make mistakes. No matter how good the intentions, both partners in a relationship will mess up from time to time. If you want to turn an unhealthy relationship into a healthy relationship, prepare to face these realities.

The tips below will show you how to rekindle love and turn a bad relationship around; but you don’t have to wait until after a break up. Start early. As soon as relationship issues pop up, tackle them head on. The trick is to fix a broken relationship, before it breaks you.

How to Turn an Unhealthy Relationship Into a Healthy Relationship

1. Stop rehashing the past.

It’s important to discuss the issues in your relationship, but that doesn’t mean bringing up the past in every argument. In order to grow as a couple, especially after a break up or communication break down, you must forgive each other. Of course, forgiveness doesn’t come easily; but you must decide, once and for all, whether to let the past go or let the relationship go.

If you spent any time broken up with your love, you know how hard it is to be apart. So, prepare to move forward. That means, no more trying to make your partner feel guilty about past mistakes. Don’t bring up the past when having a disagreement about the present, and don’t use the past to justify your current feelings or behaviors. There’s no way to turn an unhealthy relationship into a healthy relationship while holding on to old resentments. The festering anger and constant rehashing the past will lead to bitterness, bad arguments, and a dismal future. Don’t let the past ruin your future. You can create new, better memories together; but only if both partners willingly forgive the past.

2. Deal with the real relationship issues.

Forgiving the past does not mean ignoring relationship issues. Unhealthy relationships often come from inattention to underlying problems. In the past, you may have argued over everything without really fixing anything. Or you may have dealt with the symptoms of relationship issues rather than digging up the root cause.

For example, if everything blew up after one of you was unfaithful, the focus may land squarely on that single act of betrayal. Cheating is horrible and inexcusable, but there is almost always a problem beneath the surface. Were you feeling vengeful, unfulfilled, or insecure? Did your partner feel ignored, unloved, or neglected? Had your relationship become too mundane or boring? Did you miscommunicate your desires? Is your partner not ready for total commitment? Sometimes it is difficult for couples to discover all the underlying issues, so don’t hesitate to bring in a neutral third party. That might mean going to couples counseling or using online relationship repair sources.

Once you understand the root cause, you can clearly see if it is fixable. If so, develop a solid plan to prevent break up and breakdown of your love. Make sure you both agree on this solution, since it takes two committed partners to turn an unhealthy relationship into a healthy one.

3. Give your all. Don’t hold back.

Some couples feel insecure when rekindling love after break up or breakdown. It’s tempting to hold back, just in case things go wrong again. But this approach sets you up for failure. Try to find comfort in the fact that your partner chose to work things out with you, even though it might be easier to give up on the unhealthy relationship.

Many couples just break up rather than fix a broken relationship. Instead you’re working to build a healthy relationship. That makes your love special. Use this knowledge to bolster feelings of security, so you can give your all in the relationship.

Don’t hold back out of fear or distrust. Don’t put your love on probation while you wait for something else to go wrong. Set your mind on healing the relationship rift, loving each other more completely, and creating happy memories together. You wouldn’t take time to read about how to turn an unhealthy relationship into a healthy relationship if you didn’t love your mate enough to try.

When relationship issues arise (and they will), remember that it takes more work to stay in love than to fall in love. Also, remember that it is worth it. True love lasts because two people refuse to give up on a love that’s worth fighting for. Best wishes and a happier relationship to you!