Beautiful Life Determined By Healthy Relationship

In happy relationships, there are five simultaneous relationships happening. Healthy relationships are based upon each person having a relationship with him-or-herself. The relationship with the self is the basic building block of a relationship. Both parties must have broken through their denial systems to some extent, achieved some modicum of honesty with themselves, and become willing to take responsibility for themselves. In general, each must be a person in his or her own right. If one does not have a relationship with the self, it is truly impossible to have a living process (healthy) relationship; it will not be possible to be honest with the “other” if one is not in contact with oneself.

This relationship with the self is a source of pleasure and expansion and needs time and nurturing in order to grow. In order to have a relationship with the self, it is necessary to have quiet time alone, time to enrich one’s spirituality. A relationship with the self takes time. Truly having a relationship with our own process relates us to the process of the universe.

The next two relationships that occur in healthy relationships are each person’s fantasized relationship with the other. Each person has a fantasy about what is go in on with the other and about who the other is. In healthy relationships, it is necessary to bring these fantasized relationships into the conscious self, explore them, and make them available to and share them with the others. These relationships can be the source of a lot of fun, and as long as we know them for what they are, can add richness to our relationship with ourselves and with others.

A fifth relationship in healthy relationships is the actual relationship that exists between the two people. It is dependent upon the previous four having been developed, maintained, and “cleaned up” if necessary. Not that we have to be perfect to have a relationship; relationships provide a major arena for growth and self-awareness, and paradoxically they have to exist consciously and be worked with for the relationship between the self and other requires taking risks. In order to have this relationship, it is necessary to be able to see the self and the other and to respect the process of both. This relationship is a rich source of information for the self. And it is more than that; it is an opportunity to know and be known.

In healthy relationships, the focus is upon respecting one’s own process. When this happens, each – almost be default – respects the others journey and supports it as well as his or her own.

Healthy relationships imply supporting each other, yet these is no focus upon “fixing” the other person. Each person’s process is respected and it is recognized that each must do what he or she must. It is understood that if I have feelings about what the other does, these are my feelings and I have to handle them as best I can. Commitment is not incarceration. It is each being committed to her or his own process, sharing that process, and respecting the process of the others.

A healthy relationship is an open system, which means that both information that is external to the parties and the relationship are sought, listened to, and resolved. Therefore, in healthy relationships, choices are very important,, and the generation of options opens the possibility to growth and creativity. Choices are not threats.

Relationships are mysterious. Never-the-less, it is fun to play around with some “lists” of ideas for “healthy relationship skills.”

To be able to ‘wait with” the evolution of a relationship.

To be able to be honest when one is not interested or cannot listen.

To recognize and accept one’s own needs and honor them.

To care for, not take care of, the other.

To know that dependency in any form kills relationships; to honor the integrity of the self and the other.

To know that one cannot compromise one’s moral values without eroding the relationship.

To be present to the self and the other and share intimacy where appropriate.

To know that physical loving evolves as intimacy grows.

To know the relationship is only one important aspect of one’s total life.

To be unwilling to turn one’s life over to anyone.

To accept responsibility for one’s own life and recognize the others responsibility for his or her own life.

To be honest with oneself about who the other is and what important values, hopes and fears are not shared.

To see the other and the self clearly, without judgment.

To know that blame has no place in intimacy and to be willing to own one’s mistakes without judgment.

To be able to share “worlds” while maintaining one’s own.

To be present.

To take risks and be vulnerable with the other.

To share feelings as one feels them.

To have and respect boundaries.

To know that suffering is not love – pain will occur; suffering is a choice.

To live one’s own process and respect the process of the other, whatever it is.

To know that love cannot be created or manipulated. Love is a gift.

 

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.

 

Here Are The Explanation Why Your Relationship Is Fail

Is your relationship going downhill? Maintaining a relationship is not easy and most couples encounter a few bumps along the road to a lasting relationship. If not recognized earlier, these bumps could push couples to take the relationship to the wrong direction leading to break-ups or divorce. It is important to recognize these relationship killers ahead of time to avoid further damage. There are reasons why relationships fail and once these reasons are recognized ahead of time, you’ll have a better chance of saving your troubled relationship. Although no one can enumerate all the reasons why relationships fail, we have listed here the top reasons. So what are these relationship killers?

Poor or lack of communication. One way to connect with each other is for couples to have a strong and regular communication. Couples tend to drift apart due to poor or lack of communication. Many relation problems start with lack of communication. Assuming that you know what your partner or spouse is thinking is dangerous to your relationship. Misunderstandings and arguments are often the result of not communicating with your spouse or partner. If this is happening in your relationship then you should know that this is one of the reasons why relationships fail and you have to do something to improve the communication in your relationship.

Not supportive with each other’s goals, ambitions and careers. One of the reasons why relationships fail is the issues with careers and ambitions between couples. When two people in a relationship have different goals and ambitions and cannot compromise or support each other, the relationship may suffer in the end. It is given that two people naturally have different ambitions and careers to pursue but in a relationship, it is best to support each other’s interest or careers to avoid strain in the relationship. It is easier to make the relationship work with a partner or spouse who believes and supports their spouse’s or partner’s career. If 100% understanding, acceptance and support is not possible, at least a partner or spouse should be open to compromise and willing to find a work around to make both their careers and relationship work. Sacrifices and compromise is inevitable. Of course, both should know how to balance their careers with their love life. It is easier said than done but it is not impossible. There are couples who are both successful in their careers at the same time lead a happy and strong relationship.

Not getting along with your partner’s friends and family. One of the reasons why relationships fail is the conflict with people closest to your spouse or partner. Let’s face it, the world does not revolve around you and your partner alone. There are people around you like friends and families that both you and your partner cannot live without. Not getting along with people closest to your partner can put a strain in your relationship. A situation where you and your partner’s mother or best friend can’t see each other eye to eye or can’t stay in the same room can be really stressful in the relationship. Holiday dinners and family gatherings can be difficult if you are not in good terms with your spouse’s family and friends. If you want to create a long-lasting relationship with your partner, it is best to get along with people important to him or her.

Life’s issues and baggage. There are life’s baggage and issues when brought to a relationship can cause damage. A lingering ex can ignite jealousy, suspicion and distrust that can put a strain in your current relationship, so it is best to be clear with your ex that everything is already in the past and that you are serious with your current relationship. Comparing your current relationship with your previous relationships is also dangerous and damaging to your relationship. Children and issues from previous marriage can be challenging and can also affect your relationship so it important to know how to handle these things and make your current relationship work. One of the reasons why relationships fail is the failure to deal with your life’s issues and baggage.

Money issues. Financial issues is one of the reasons why relationships fail. If not addressed properly, money issues can kill your relationship. The stress brought by financial woes and struggles can eventually ruin a relationship. People or couples stressed with financial issues can become irritable, irrational, hostile and cold with their spouse or partner and these behaviors can slowly kill a relationship. It is best to be honest from the start about your financial status, be open to discuss each other’s spending habits, money sharing and expenses. With effective and open-minded communication, strategies and compromise about money, a financially challenged couple can work things out and can save their marriage.

Infidelity. Keeping a relationship between two people is hard enough but involving a third party or cheating a partner is a bomb that can instantly kill a relationship. Infidelity is the ultimate relationship destroyer and some relationships won’t be able to survive this. Betraying the trust of your partner is one of the top reasons why relationships fail. The feeling of being replaced or being betrayed is not easy to cope with and so the betrayed spouse or partner often walk out of the relationship. Although there are couples who were able to survive cheating and make the relationship work again, it is best to not to commit infidelity in the first place if you want a long-lasting relationship.

Disgusting behaviors and habits. Although it is true that loving someone includes accepting all his or her flaws, in reality there are habits that can become annoying over time and can push your partner to wake up one day and realize he or she wants to get out of the relationship. Even simple things like not putting back the toothpaste cap, not making the bed, not putting the soiled laundry in the laundry bin or leaving dirty shoes and socks around the house can be magnified if things are not going well in your relationship and these can trigger your partner to finally end the relationship. Nagging, being a war freak, fighting in public, humiliating your spouse or partner, name calling or cursing when arguing, holding on grudges, hitting your spouse or partner when you are angry, throwing things when arguing, too much or unreasonable jealousy, avoiding discussions about the issues in your relationship, lying or being dishonest with your spouse or partner are some of the bad behaviors that can damage a relationship and could lead to break-ups or divorce. Being in a relationship should teach couples to be better people and not become worse so it is better to change for the better to create a strong relationship than acquire unfavorable habits or behaviors that can eventually damage your relationship.

Things in your relationship becomes a routine. The fire and excitement in the relationship could die because you became too comfortable or complacent with each other that things become more of a routine than an act of love. You become more like siblings or friends than lovers. Being too comfortable with each other takes away the excitement and the romance in the relationship and it makes the relationship boring and a routine. When couples do the same things together over and over again, they stopped growing as an individual and as a partner. Break the routine and spice up your relationship. There are things and interests that you can do separately to grow as a person and there are things that you can do together to bond with each other. It is important to allow your spouse or partner to have his or her own space to do his or her own thing or enjoy the company of his or her friends but it is also important to have time alone with each other through regular dates or vacations to bond with each other and create new and exciting memories.

Lack of intimacy and sex. Life can become too busy and complicated that couples may end up too busy or stressed for intimacy or sex which is not a good thing in a relationship. Couples need to connect intimately emotionally and physically and the best thing to do it is through sex. Sex could dry up in a long-term relationship and couples tend to have less sex through the years. Couples should prevent this from happening. Lack of intimacy or sexual dissatisfaction is one of the reasons why relationships fail. When couples stop having sex, they tend to get disconnected and detached from each other and they become susceptible to infidelity. It is best for couples to maintain an active sex life to keep the connection and make the relationship more alive and exciting. Although it is important to maintain an intimate connection with your partner through regular sex, couples should know that it is not good to put pressure on your spouse or partner to engage in frequent sex. You don’t have to have sex everyday but there are studies saying that having regular sex once a week is ideal and enough to maintain that intimate connection between couples. There are many hindrances to accomplish this like stress at work, stress in everyday life, taking care of the children and the state where you are not in the mood for sex but like any other issue in your relationship, the frequency and timing of having sex should be discussed and planned. Intimate connection through sex is vital in every romantic relationship and when couples are not having enough connection through sex, they have to do something to fix this problem to save the relationship.

All About Relationship Management

Introduction

The management of relationships has been a facet of business for as long as business transactions have existed. On the most basic level, Relationship Management is about interaction with customers. From a broader perspective one can consider employees, suppliers and consumers as customers, the employees being the internal customers of the organization. Relationship Management deals with the treatment and management of partnerships, connections, linkages and chains between business entities.

For the purposes of this paper, we view Relationship Management (RM) as a conscious and planned activity. It would be misleading to suggest that there have not been relationships in business or any focus on relationships by companies. However, the thrust of RM, as expounded in recent times, points to a more tactical and strategic approach to focusing on the customer rather than a relentless focus on the competition.

After the economic downturn of the 90s, many companies started to examine the possible benefits to be gained from less negotiation strong-arming, closeness to suppliers and the establishment of constructive relationships with strategic stakeholders. This does not suggest that RM was founded in the US, or has not existed before then; the Japanese had perfected RM and value-concretisation into an art form on the basis of social structure and communal creed.

RM itself has not just many types but many levels. The manufacturer has his suppliers and the end users as his customers; the retailer has the manufacturers and the end users as his customers, and manufacturer, the supplier and every organization with a tactical or strategic agenda have internal customers.

Literature Review

There have been several different sub types of Relationship Management introduced by writers, marketers and business pundits, starting from the most widely known Customer Relationship Management (Buttle, 2004; Kracklauer, Mills & Seifert, 2004) to Customer Centricity (Gummesson, 2008); Collaborative Customer Relationship Management (Kracklauer, Mills & Seifert, 2004); Supply Chain Relationship Management (Kracklauer, Mills & Seifert, 2004), Integrated Supply Chain Relationship Management (Kracklauer, Mills & Seifert, 2004), and so on. Hines (2006) delineates three types of relationships: the strategic alliance, the functional partnership and the one-sided partnerships. Donaldson & O’Toole (2007) outlines four types of relationships: partnership, friendship, adversarial and detachment. Our discussion here centres on four components of Customer Relationship Management: Customer Identification, Customer Attraction, Customer Retention and Customer Development; all of which, for the purposes of this paper, we shall consider all of these under the blanket term Relationship Management; Relationship Marketing, the management of, not the cooperation with customers; the latter being the job of relationship management, is not within the scope of this paper but since from a conceptual perspective, the difference between the two may not be as simplistic and marked, it may be mentioned or discussed in passing.

Traditionally, RM was an activity (or non-activity) that involved an electronic customer database of an organisation’s customers or consumers,which reports on consumer buying behaviour. Contemporarily, RM delves much deeper than this: undertaking intensive research on customers and customer behaviour and using the result of such research to (re)design business culture. RM, at its strategic level, advocates for a business culture with a concentrated focus on the customer rather than on the products or the sales, but what seems to be the biggest trump card of and in RM is loyalty. The customer-centric concentration in business relationships in recent times has forced a move towards shared goals and shared benefits, and for this to work there has to be commitment; each party being committed to their personal objectives but also to the shared goals; each party having the competence to carry out their responsibilities and believing and relying, having a confident and positive expectation that the other party will act within the ambits of the agreement.

The focus on the customer (which is the basis for a relational existence) runs across certain concepts: price, quality, innovation, reliability of product, reliability of associated service and brand reputation. On the proven premise that it is easier and cheaper to retain a customer than to attain a new one or regain a lost one, customer RM on the concepts already discussed should be the goal of the contemporary business.

Different types of RM have been identified, ranging from the transactional, the collaborative and the formation of alliances, which is also known as partnerships or value-added exchanges. The alliance is a partnership with suppliers that involves a mutual beneficiary arrangement where cost-cutting ventures are jointly addressed by both buyer and seller, the seller being considered an extension of the buyer’s organization. The business relationship between Japanese suppliers using JIT is a good example. For example Toyota holds a strong alliance even with its 3rd tier vendors. The result of such partnerships means added value, reduced production and transport costs, a more seamless supply and delivery network, and maintenance of exceptional quality, as per TQM considerations.

Traditionally, companies were preoccupied with rigorous competition, firm-induced and firm-controlled business strategies, focus on short-term profits and strategies and independent decision-making. This transactional existence meant a focus more on the competition than the customer, a concentration on short-term profits rather than long-term strategic gains and likelihood to be blind to opportunities for expansion and change. Today’s strategically-minded companies are pre-occupied with partnership with other firms, collaboration and coaction, boundarylessness, joint decision-making and a focus on long term benefits. With today’s business climate, one can easily foresee a rapidly changing business environment where manufacturers will have the most fruitful partnerships with every member of the supply chain and the consumers, a scenario where the manufacturer will run a ‘virtual factory’ with the effective and efficient use of value chain networks unlimited by geographical location or consideration.

RM functions on a strategic, a tactical and an operational level. Businesses that are product-oriented ensure effective performance of their products, in the design, the features and output; the production-oriented business (not to be confused with the product-oriented) believe in mass production at a cheap scale on the notion that the customer uses low-price as a singular consideration; sales-oriented businesses put a lot of stock in advertising, promotions and public relations while the customer-centric enterprise strives to understand its customers preferences and purchasing behaviour and models its business activities to suit this. This is considered strategic RM. The operational level deals with automating the customer management process using computer applications and devices across market, sales force and service categories. Tactical RM deals with using the data from customer management computer applications to add value both to the customer and the company.

While it would be immensely useful to run a customer database to keep the organization in sync with full information with its customers, RM especially from a strategic perspective delves deeper than mere software; it deals with a ‘pull’ strategy, letting the wants and needs of the customer dictate what products and services are offered, rather than the other way round, using a production-oriented strategy to ‘push’ products and services that the consumers may or may not need, but which does not ultimately satisfy the customer.

Companies generate more revenue when they satisfy – and because of this retain- their customers. It is hereby propounded that the simple economic fact that customer retention is cheaper than customer attraction provides the customer with an intrinsic importance to business performance than anything else.

The Customer

Discussions on RM, or even relationship marketing, cannot be possible with the exclusion of the word ‘customer’. The customer is the object – and sometimes also the subject – of RM. Attainment of an effective RM is consistent upon customer satisfaction, customer retention, customer loyalty and a host of sub-concepts preceded by the word ‘customer’.

But while it is known what the customer represents, it is not always known who the customer is or how many different representations of the customer we have.

A vehicle manufacturer for example will have its suppliers of raw material in tiers, its distribution partners, and the actual end users. From a business point of view, all these are customers and even though there is only a single set of consumers. The basis of the RM between these different customers (and even between different sub-levels of customers – supplier tiers for instance) could be immense. Customer Relationship Management in its true sense may refer only to the end users or consumers in this case, for the attraction and retention schemes may not apply to first tier suppliers, though development will, albeit from a different perspective.

In business, the customer therefore is not someone who pays for goods and services; it is evidently a unit that has some considerable stake – not stock- in the business and whose input contributes in one way or another to the bottom line. By the same token, the employees in an organization are customers; internal customers. Paradoxically, so are senior management; and middle and junior management. On the concept of ‘keiretsu’, the Japanese takes the word ‘customer’ to a disparate level. Kaoru Ishikawa, one of the top five Quality Management gurus, supersedes that when he suggests that ‘the next process is your customer’ as an appropriate maxim for the drive towards customer satisfaction. For Ishikawa, the customer is not merely an object, it becomes an activity, a process, a goal.

Supply Chain Relationship Management

From a supply chain management perspective, RM is centred on the chief players: the manufacturer and the supplier. There may be several suppliers, several tiers of suppliers and several types of suppliers (retailers, resellers, etc). There would obviously be the end user. Of major importance is the relationship between manufacturer and principal suppliers.

Three major types of relationship types in the supply chain are hereby identified: the adversarial, the transactional and the strategic. Both sets of authorities on the subject hold that the transactional relationship (as opposed to the relational variety) has a transactional rather than a partnership focus; is competition rather than collaboration-oriented; is firm-benefiting as opposed to being partnership-profitable; is independent and therefore myopic rather than interdependent and is viable only for the short term.

Strategically, it is the relational type that is considered a partnership. The traditional partnership is that between the manufacturer and its principal supplier(s). There are also lateral partnerships, between competitors; buyer partnerships between firms and eventual and/or intermediate customers; internal partnerships which refer to the concept of the internal customership within organizations and across functional departments.

A relationship is considered adversarial where there is fear, threats (whether tacit or overt) and coercion (whether esoteric or actual). In the automotive manufacturing business for example, a manufacturer can have an adversarial relationship with suppliers if the bargaining power of the manufacturer is considerable in a case where a good percentage of the supplier’s products are purchased by the one manufacture or a chain of them. In such cases, the manufacturer attempts to attain value by pursuing only its own interests; being strategically independent (rather than interdependent); communicating unilaterally; influencing decisions using force or the threat of force; using competitive bidding rather than establish strategic relationships with few suppliers; and entrench all discussions, agreements, terms and conditions in detailed formal contracts.

For the most part, RM in the supply chain is vertical, as partnerships are built with firms along the value chain. Some companies do not realize any value because their customer/consumer RM is kept separate from their supplier relationship management; for supply chain networks to thrive effectively, establishing partnerships is simply a means, not the end itself. The mere establishment of partnerships does not suggest a collective move towards a shared goal. For that to be existent, the partnerships must be collaborative. Collaboration involves significant investment of those involved incorporation mutual understanding, shared vision, shared resources, united goal achievement, trust, trustworthiness and complete functional interdependence.

Culture and Relationship Management

Culture refers to the way things are done and have been done in an organization or social setting for a considerable period. Culture determines behaviour patterns; it is integrated into the behavioural framework of a person or a group of people; it is the result of not only learned, but acquired behaviour patterns, and it is a collection of behaviour, attitudes, character traits, convictions and belief shared by a group of people.

Cultural differences could not only limit the functional success of relationships, it could derail the effectiveness of RM, or terminate it completely. Cultural differences cover personality traits, gender differences, geographical, social and business disparities. Social culture defines how people manage relationships, and effectively therefore, to what extent relationships can be properly managed. Corporate culture issues aptly capture the issue of RM and the extent to which relationships can be successful across two or more firms: The essence of corporate culture is an organization’s conviction about how its business is to be enacted. Then there is culture based on geography; Country culture determines corporate culture(s) to a large extent. One of the main determiners of country and corporate culture may be the extent to which people treasure personal relationships. While the long-standing relationship of two firms in Asia may be maintained primarily because of some earlier personal connection, the long-standing relationship of two firms in the US may be maintained primarily on the betterment of the bottom line of both firms. While using coercion as a conduit for good RM may be an effective negotiating strategy in the US for example, it may be considered grave disrespect in many parts of Asia and may lead to the premature severance of a good business relationship.

From a country culture perspective, it has been suggested that the French are not interested in whether they are liked; the Americans are impatient and negotiate to tie up every loose end, as opposed to the Chinese who negotiate solely to build a better relationship, not to tie up loose ends all at once, since as far as they are concerned negotiations never end; the Italians and Germans never offer praise before they criticize; the Indians feel that interruptions during discussions is a way of fostering more understanding; the Americans are said to talk too much and would ask personal questions which people from other cultures may find distasteful. These classifications may be too generic and type-casted, but if they are to be accepted (or even tolerated) as factual, then it is but natural that customer relationship management with have different results and outcomes in different countries with disparate cultures and different people. As a prerequisite to effective management of relationships therefore, a useful understanding of personal and social attitudes and expectations of the other parties may help the partnership.

‘Guanxi’ is a Chinese cultural way of interacting and managing relationships in business. It encourages supply chains and networks based on interactions and negotiations between family members, friends and people of trust. Anyone outside this circle of trust is likely to be treated with suspicion at best, and hostility at worst. In the management of relationships between international firms for instance, a subject who does not fall within that circle of trust is likely to have zero limit to manoeuvrability in negotiations and discussions. The giving of gifts which is an essential element of ‘Guanxi’ may be viewed upon as unethical or improper by another party or potential partner.

It may be easy to suggest that the establishment of relationships should not in any way be affected by culture. However, if cultural issues are likely to limit the organizations ability to manipulate or manoeuvre in business relationships, it means that realization, identification and modification of the cultural issues should be a valid point in the establishment of set objectives for the effective management of meaningful business relationships. Capon (2004) seems to concur when she says that ‘everyone lives culture, but only the clever are able to manage it’.

For RM to be successful, there has to be a constant supply of reliability between and among all parties. Every party to the relationship should have the confidence that the other party is in a position to deliver as promised, and will. This is where the issue of trust comes in. Trust is one of the most important antecedent to a successful business partnership; in the realm of retailing, many repeat purchases and purchase considerations are made based on product trust, store trust, brand trust or a combination of these.

Trust and Relationship Management

Many attempts have been made to define or (failing which, to) describe the apparently elusive concept of trust. Plenty definitions have been offered, some have been markedly different, but most have been consistent on the central issue: that trust is the anticipation by one that the other will not take undue advantage. Trust is an expectation that another will not take undue advantage; it is the chosen susceptibility of one party to be vulnerable to the possible unfairness and selfishness of another; it is the belief in the integrity of another person and party; it exists only where there is risk and uncertainty which connotes that the concept of trust is linked with the likelihood of opportunism by one or more parties. Undertaking to trust therefore is synonymous to undertaking the management of risk.

The thrust in all of the definitions are basically the same; that trust is an anticipation of behaviour or actions based on stated or tacit agreement that another party will not act in its own interests. While the definitions are consistent, the treatment of the concept, the construct and its relationship to management theory and practice seem to differ. There has been very little empirical research to verify how trust functions in business or what determines trust.

Models, Types and Constructs of Trust

There have been myriad views on the models, types and constructs of trust. There are three types of trust: deterrence-based (trust that exists on the basis that opportunism will have dire consequences); knowledge-based (trust based on predictable actions) and identification-based (trust based on emotional association between the parties). Similarly, there are 3 sources of trust: process-based (trust which is based on an exchange relationship of considerable longevity); characteristic-based (trust based on social or other group characteristic) and institutional-based (the inducement of trust by social institutions.

Trust is based on 5 cognitive processes: the calculative process; the prediction process – which is the same as calculative except that the analysis here is more qualitative than quantitative; capability process; the intentionality process – the assessment of the motives and intentions of the other party; and the transference process – situation where trust is based on a trusted reference from a third party.

The processes outlined here do not necessarily challenge the conceptual theories of; rather they represent disparate viewpoints based on environment and whether trust is being viewed as a social or a business construct, and whether these are mutually exclusive. It would seem that the intentionality process is a little redundant; the interpretation of the intentions of the trustee could be analysed under the calculative or the prediction process.

The deeper the examination of trust as a concept and as an intrinsic integer in business practice, the more elusive it seems to become. If the contracts, agreement or legal implications, which we can call ‘governance devices’, do exist, then it follows that these devices were created because one or both parties do not trust each other. This does not refer to distrust, but an absence of trust. Nascent literature has propounded that an absence of trust by a trustor could be based on the fact that the trustor knows nothing about the trustee and has decided therefore not to take the risk of trusting. Since this does not mean that the trustor’s absence of trust was based on knowledge and/or experience of the trustee’s actions, it is not distrust, but an absence of trust.

Relationships and Trust

These two concepts are not the same, but in today’s business environment, the discussion of one brings out the other. Unlike relationships which just exist, trust is not a given. Trust, like respect which it incorporates, is earned; thus trust cannot exist without trustworthiness, which is the ability to earn trust, the capability of being trusted. Trustworthiness is rooted in the believer’s trust that the other party possesses integrity, values and a good sense of ethics, and therefore can be trusted. Trustworthiness has to be fathered, to be engendered by firms and organizations themselves, and this, by running the organization using a visible set of values and ethics. Trust and distrust are to be understood as one ‘bipolar construct’, diametrically existing in a continuum.

Areas for Further Research

As a firm that claims to live on customer satisfaction and successful relationship management as its key to competitive advantage, Toyota does not expect the total absence of errors though it continuously drives towards it. The Toyota Production System does provide several modes of detection and fixing of errors as they occur, but not all errors are fixed, mainly because not all errors are readily visible or apparent.

The cases of the sticky gas pedals, obstructive floor mats and the Sudden Unintended Acceleration (SUA) are cases in points. A gas pedal as a component may not have been sticky up to when the car is driven and tested at Toyota’s plants, nor would any unexpected acceleration show itself. Nonetheless it is a manufacturing error that Toyota has addressed and has recalled vehicles to replace the faulty components at Toyota’s own cost. This does not mean that customers may easily forget or that their trust goes unaffected, especially since the death of an entire family in a Lexus crash after SUA occurred but these mishaps may have dented (not destroyed) the brand loyalty and trust of the world’s foremost car maker, if the customer assesses that the satisfaction considerably outweighs the errors. The recall of vehicles and Toyota’s promise to replace all defective gas pedals may suggest an innate concern for customers.

 

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.

Consider You Are In Abuse Relationship

Do feel like you are thriving in your relationship? Some people don’t realise that they are in a one-sided relationship where their rights as a human being are abused. They don’t always consciously notice that they are being manipulated, controlled and used for the purpose of pleasing their partner. An abusive partner can be male or female and abuse can be sexual, physical and/or emotional abuse.

Are All Your Relationships Abusive?

Some people just seem to attract people who abuse them. They may have escaped one abusive relationship only to find the next relationship also brings abuse too. Psychologists have recognised that some people unconsciously choose partners who will abuse them because that is the only form of attention they have been used to. Others would rather endure an abusive relationship than end it because to leave it brings other anxieties such as fear of loneliness (eg. I’ll never find anyone at my age), financial difficulty (eg where would I live), shame (eg. what would my friends say) or other stresses that might make the abuse seem the easier option.

Tell-tale Signs of an Abusive Relationship

There are signs that can indicate abuse in a relationship. This list is not exhaustive give an idea:-

1. Your partner is excessively jealous and possessive and will accuse you of betraying them or not loving them enough. They will constantly check on your whereabouts and what you are doing almost to the point of interrogation. They may even monitor your internet and mobile phone activity

2. Your partner manipulates your existing relationships and attempts to cut you off from anyone that might criticise them or encourage you to have your freedom

3. Your partner never takes responsibility for anything unless it is a success. If things fail it is your fault or they blame other people or situations.

4. Your partner’s emotions are made your responsibility. So that if they become angry, sad or stressed it is your fault

5. Your partner makes all the important decisions and doesn’t discuss these with you. You are expected to agree with these decisions unquestionably.

6. Your partner wants their needs met by you and others and never pays any heed to your needs unless it is a manipulation to get their needs met (eg. I did that for you therefore you must do this for me)

7. Your partner may expect you to adhere to rules that they do not follow themselves. They may have been unfaithful but expect you to be faithful.

8. Your partner will accuse you of being unreasonable and yet be unreasonable themselves.

9. Your partner will hide all of the above and often be charming and agreeable with everyone else except you. You will feel trapped in the relationship because everyone else will believe their smoke-screen of being wonderful and how could you contemplate leaving such a wonderful person?

These are probably the most obvious elements of an abusive relationship. Yet any relationship can have elements of abuse that are detrimental to the health of the relationship. Most of us “turn up” to relationships that form as we go along and as the relationship matures.

What Happens to a Relationship?

Rarely does someone begin a relationship understandably with a list of do’s and don’ts about what they like. Rules in a relationship may form in verbal communications (eg. I don’t like it when you… ) and they can form in what we perceive through interactions (eg. partner looked angry when I… ). They can even be historical rules that are brought to the relationship from childhood and observing your parents relationship or from past intimate relationships.

We rarely sit down and consider how our relationships run and have become. This is a pity because it is only through talking about our personal relationship ( or other wider relationships) can we address unspoken issues that, if not resolved can lead to resentment, betrayal, depression and ultimately the ending of the relationship.

Abuse and What it Does to You

Feeling used, abused and disrespected in a relationship eventually leads to low self-esteem and low self worth for anyone. If you feel like you have no status and no respect in your relationship than you won’t get it by acting like a door mat. If you’re always being criticised and never praised, how can you feel good in your relationship? If you’re always giving but never receiving you will find it unsustainable.

Everyone deserves a happy life and for many people, being in a relationship is one of the main pillars of happiness and fulfilment in life. Staying in an unhappy relationship drains your energy, muddles your life purpose and saps your will and if you’re not careful can waste many years of your life.

It’s Time to Find You Again

If you’ve lost yourself in your relationship along with your sense of purpose and don’t know quite which way to turn, this can be a sign that you are no longer thriving. It doesn’t mean that the relationship needs to end but on the other hand sometimes it is the best for all concerned.

Even being free of an abusive relationship can leave you with feelings that cause you doubts about ever finding happiness. Maybe you are in a loving relationship but are unable to let go of insecurities that a past unhealthy relationship has left you with.

Finding Your Authentic Self

What can really make a difference and empower you to make informed choices is to find your ” authentic self ” again. This is the self that you put away and that was rejected by others and has felt crushed, never to come out for fear of being laughed at, teased, bullied and rejected again. Let’s face it, how can you really feel loved if you hide away your authentic self and only present to the world the mask of acceptability you have been manipulated into creating?

Whilst emotions such as sadness and anxiety are a part of living and as much as happiness and joy are, they don’t have to dominate your every moment. Wouldn’t you rather live and thrive with the energy, enthusiasm and verve that goes hand-in-hand with a healthy purposeful life?

EMSRP and Healthy Relationships

There is no secret to living a happy and thriving life. It begins with being honest with yourself, who you are and what your needs are. EMSRP – Emerging Meta-Schematic Repatterning provides a series of simple steps that help you flourish in all your authenticity. It gets you to map what is right for you and then check this against your relationships to be able to make informed choices. It helps to set you free to live and thrive in life.

 

The Meaning Of Relationship

I was recently having a conversation with a friend of mind who is much older. She got involved with a gentleman in which after being in a “relationship” for a few weeks they broke up. She was shocked to find that only a few weeks after breaking up with her that he was in a “relationship” with someone else.

This was mind blowing to her because she is like me in many ways. She just does not jump into a relationship easily. For myself, I think I have had about 2 boyfriends in my life. Both boyfriends I introduced to my family and I was very serious about. This is not to say that I did not date, because I have, but boyfriends and dating are two very different things.

For myself, I will date someone, and in the process of dating them I will determine if I would like to get more serious with them or not. Meaning, I like to determine if they are boyfriend material while dating them. I state this fact, all to say this. Both men and women of this generation need to understand what relationships are and what they are not.

Anyone can say that they are in a relationship. However it takes true work to be in a relationship. What a relationships is not, is you finding someone being attracted to them and calling them your boyfriend or girlfriend. Then after a month or so, you find out you do not really like them, and then you jump to someone else and that person is now your boyfriend or girlfriend.

This is something that my friend seem to be shocked about. She takes her relationships very seriously and those that she is in a relationship with, she deems them as someone that she is going to be with for a long time for the purpose of moving into something more serious.

Although this is how it should be, this is not how it is. Both men and women will jump from person to person stating that they are in a relationship not knowing what it really takes to be in a relationship. True relationships are beyond self satisfaction and getting your rocks off for the moment. True relationships can be fulfilling if you let them, I am convinced that so many go bad because people do not know what true relationships are.

Relationships are not about you. This is a common mistake that people make. They get into relationships because they want to be fulfilled, because they are looking for someone to make them better, because they want, they want, they want. This is not to say that when you are in a relationships that these things do not happen, but you are not the focal point of a relationship.

Relationships are about a mutual understanding of one another. Coming together for a purpose that enriches both lives and also fulfills your purpose. Does this make sense?

Some people who enter relationships are not really ready for relationships. To be in a true relationships you need to have your stuff together. This does not mean that you need to be a millionaire. But it means that you should be self sufficient.

For men, this means that you do not need to be living with your mother, unemployed, and not taking care of the 15 children that you have by 9 different women. If you are not taking care of your own responsibilities, the last thing you need is a women to add on to more responsibilities that you have. And for women, if a man is not taking care of himself and his kids, then why would you want to be with him any way.

This was the case with the friend I mentioned above. When she first told me about her potential man, he was not seeing any of his kids nor did he have a relationship with this children. I tried to explain to her that being romantically involved with him was the last thing that she needed to do at this time. Make him get his crap together first. This type of behavior symbolizes a flaw in his character. If he does not have enough sense to take care of his own self, what makes you think that he can fulfill responsibilities as a man and potential husband to you.

The bigger issue is that women do not know what to look for. This or that they are to hungry for a man that they are willing to overlook his shortcomings all to say that they are in a relationship. Then they are shocked a few weeks, months, or years down the line when the man disappoints them. Did they not see this coming? He was a disappointment when you meant him? Why did you think you were going to change him?

For men, why look for women who do not take care of their kids or do not have their stuff together. And even worse, have more kids by them and then you are shocked when they are a bad mother. They were a bad mother when you got with them. Did you not see the writing on the wall?

People get on me because I am single. But I am confident, and get offers on a regular basis. But as a single mother, I have to look beyond the idea of being in a relationship and think to myself, is this person really good for me? Will this person be a good man and potential husband or would they just be an added burden?

Yes they may look good, they may even talk good, but actions speak louder than words. Look at their life, their past history, look at what they do over what they say and this is what would tell you if they are a fit person to be in a relationship with or not.

In today’s world, 50% of marriage end in divorce. This is for many reasons. But mainly it is because people do not really know who they are marrying. They are so busy putting on a facade, or looking at the physical and do not reflect on if the person fits into their long term plan.

God taught me this lesson which is why I needed to slow my role on dating. He told me

“Sophia, why do you even give half these men the time of day? Get to really know them first. Do not pay attention to the nice words they are speaking or what they promise. Find out who they really are, and then you will find out if they are the one of you.”

This may sound like a none humble thing to say, but God has shown be what He wants me to be and what He wants me to do. And since then every person that I go with, I see if they fit into that plan. There are certain things about men that I must have. I do not like men who lie, cheat, steal, who have a bad moral character, and those who are not Christian. Before I use to entertain such men, but then I found that there was no point. These are the things that I require from a man, and therefore, if they do not have these characteristics, no matter how fine are, or how much their 8 packs looks good to me; I rather pass.

I want a man that is after God first and foremost. Not just one that goes to church and fakes the funk stating they are Christian but there is nothing in their personal life that resembles God.

I am not saying that all women should be like me, but I am so tired of women condoning none sense out of men. Allowing men to bounce between them, and fighting each other over a no good man. What world do we live in?

I am tired of seeing men talk about how their women cheat on them and how much of a bad women she is. I know they saw her posing half naked on Instagram, with man number 1, 2, and 3. Why would she change that because she is with you?

A lot of relationships issues can be prevented if you refuse to get into the relationships in the first place. A lot of men when learn to man up if women stop fighting one another over a sorry behind man and leave him alone to get his life together. A lot of men would avoid trifling behind women if they look beyond her breast and butt implants and actually observe how she lives her life and see that she is trifling.

I am not saying that you cannot look for outward appearance for the person that you are with, but look for something deeper than that. If a person has a history of having a relationships of 3 months and moving on to the next. This is a red flag. Something is wrong with this. You do not need to waste the next 3 months of your life entering into a relationships with a person where you can clearly see that something is wrong here.
When you get into a relationship with someone, it is not your job to fix them and try to mold them into the person they are meant to be. Leave that up to them and God. If God cannot do it for them, then please know you certainly cannot make them into the man or women that you want them to be.

Just think about it, which one is worse. Wasting your precious time and effort on someone trying to make them into a person you want to marry. Only to be disappointed in the end. Or find someone who is already a good man or woman, and the two of you growing together making each other better in the process. Think about it.

Signs You Make Your Relationship More Worse

When you start off in a relationship, the future looks rosy and you envision a lifetime of eternal bliss and contentment with the person you love. The very idea of relationship problems might seem alien to you and you believe that you have found the perfect partner. However, as time passes, the reality of relationship problems begins to hit you. You quarrel for small things and things that would have been easy to handle earlier, now become a major irritant. Clearly, your relationship has hit troubled waters.

All relationships do have problems, and these problems usually can be dealt with. However, there are times when your actions can break your fragile relationship and can lead to the bond being broken, at times even beyond reconciliation. If you are doing any of the following things, it is time to stop right now if you want to fix your relationship.

Playing The Blame Game

There are times we spend so much time pointing fingers at our partner’s mistakes that we stop to take a look at our own contribution to the problem. When your relationship is in trouble, take ownership of your own mistakes and work towards setting things right before you point at your partner’s failings. Fault-finding and blaming your partner will only make your relationship problems worse, even if there is quite a lot that your partner needs to work on. If you really need to address concerns as to your partners behaviour or activities, wait for the right time and do so without blaming him/ her for your relationship problems.

Getting Suspicious

Suspicion is a major relationship breaker. If you have the habit of constantly checking your partner’s text messages, e-mails and correspondence, of it you constantly suspect him/ her of being unfaithful to you, then your relationship problems are bound to go from bad to worse. Most suspicions are unfounded and if you spend some time thinking about the root of these, you will find that they actually lie in your own insecurity. Therefore, address your own issues before allowing your suspicions to ruin your relationship. If there is a valid reason for your suspicion, then address the matter calmly and refrain from constantly bringing it up if it has been proven to be baseless.

Throwing Tantrums

No one likes to be in a relationship with a person who throws either temper tantrums or emotional tantrums at the slightest provocation. If you have a problem in getting your temper or your emotions under control, work on this as it can really ruin your relationship if left unchecked. A tantrum could be the last stray for an already troubled relationship, and you definitely do not want to let things get to that stage.

Gossiping About Your Relationship Problems

While you might want to unburden yourself to your friends, gossiping about your relationship problems is one of the worst things that you can do if your relationship is already in trouble. Things that you tell mutual friends might be passed around in a totally different light and could reach the ears of your partner as something absolutely contrary to what you actually said, and which you will not be able to defend anyway. This can break your relationship irrevocably. Work on settling your relationship problems in a mature way. If you need to talk to anyone about it, seek out the advice of a relationship counsellor.

Beginning To Stalk

You know that you relationship is in trouble and you then begin to wonder whether your partner is distant toward you because he or she is seeing someone else. Suspicion leads on to paranoia, and you begin to stalk your partner. This can take many forms – keeping a track of where he or she is going, checking on correspondence, and even monitoring phone calls. This is a huge relationship breaker and should be avoided. Give your partner some space. Stalking is not the sign of a healthy relationship and can lead to major complications.

Becoming Clingy

When you are afraid of losing the person your love because of relationship problems, you might be tempted to cling to him or her even more. This can lead to the push and pull effect – the more you push towards your partner, the more your partner pulls away. Being clingy also causes your partner to get suffocated in the relationship and relationship cracks become more pronounced. Therefore, give your partner some space and resist the temptation to cling, no matter how insecure you might be feeling.

Becoming Extra Nice

While it is good to be sweet, avoid being saccharine sweet. This means that when you see that your relationship is in trouble avoid being unnaturally sweet and good to your partner, or being a doormat. This is not going to help. On the contrary, your partner will see that you are not being yourself and this can put him or her off. Be yourself, while avoiding traits that could make things worse between the two of you.

Keeping In Touch All The Time

You are so worried that your relationship is going to break completely, that you begin to constantly remind your partner of your presence, either by texts, e-mails, instant messages, phone calls or gifts. Cut this out if you want to hold your relationship together. While you are doing all of this out of love, these actions could make your partner run even further from you. An occasional positive bit of communication is fine. However, avoid overdoing it.

Flirting With Others

Some people make the mistake of thinking that if they flirt with others their partner will get jealous and work on the relationship. To an already troubled relationship, this can be a major cause for complete breakdown. If you flirt with others when your partner is already unhappy with your relationship, he or she will feel that this is added reason to leave you, and the next thing you realise is that your relationship is over. Be faithful to your partner. It will pay off in the end.

Having A Don’t-Care Attitude

Having a don’t-care attitude will give your partner the impression that you are not interested in the relationship and in him or her. There are many people who might tell you that if you back off and use reverse psychology on your partner, he or she will come back to you. Well, this might work to a small extent. However, this will break your relationship in the long run since the underlying problems still remain. Take an interest in your partner and continue to work on your relationship. When you care, even the most disgruntled partner will care too.

Many people feel that it takes two to make a relationship and it should therefore take two people to even fix a relationship that is in trouble. This is true in most cases. However, there are some cases where this is not the rule. There are times when relationship problems might have pushed your partner to a point where he or she is fed up of the relationship. In other cases, there could be circumstances that stress your partner out to the point where logical and reasonable thinking is difficult. In these cases, it is illogical to expect your partner to work with you on the relationship right at the start.

By not contributing further to relationship breakdown by doing the things mentioned above, you will be giving your partner a chance to heal and come to a state where he or she can work on the relationship. Once this stage is reached, you can take things forward together.

 

Sexting on Relationship

‘Sexting’… So what is it anyway? ‘Sexting’ by definition is sending or receiving sexually explicit messages or photos by mobile phones or other social media. This is a trend that has increased steadily through the years as more and more people have utilized phones as their main method of communication. In fact, 88% of adults have engaged in some kind of ‘sexting’ within the context of a relationship according to a paper called: “Reframing Sexting as a Positive Relationship Behavior.” 2

Is ‘sexting’ more common than we believe or are these research studies just turning up coincidences with this type of behavior? Emily Stasko, at Drexel’s University in Philadelphia, surveyed 870 heterosexual individuals and found that more ‘sexting’ was associated with a higher level of sexual satisfaction. 2

These are just two studies, you might say, and don’t represent the population at large. Well, another way to look at this is that technology is something that most people (in larger cities or suburban areas) concentrate on daily. People are very involved with social media on mobile phones, computers & tablets. They are using these social media applications for various reasons (i.e. Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, WhatsApp, Tumblr, Vine, Snapchat, etc). Is there any reason to think, even for a minute, that people are not using technology to date or enhance their present relationships? People all over the country (and the world) have access to texting/messaging, social media, and video chatting (Facetime, Viper, etc.). It is extremely easy to use any of these modalities in the context of a relationship.

So how do people view ‘sexting?

The problem is that not everyone defines ‘sexting’ the same way. Is it the sending of sexually explicit or provocative messages? Is it primarily the sending of sexual images? Some people see it as one, the other or even as both. This has been unclear because there have been various opinions about the subject. ‘Sexting’ may not be limited to just messaging but could also include the use of Twitter, Facebook, Skype and Facetime, as well as, other social media platforms. This could also mean sending sexually explicit video or showing nude body parts while video conferencing. This complicates matters even more and broadens the current definition.

Most people have really warmed up to the idea of ‘sexting’ and according to the research, previously cited, a very high number of people have engaged (and continue to engage) in this behavior. These research studies and surveys have focused on how ‘sexting’ can improve relationships and rekindled sex lives. However, there is a darker side as well. This article focuses on those individuals that use ‘sexting’ as a way of seeking excitement, sex, and/or attention outside of their present relationship. The lines are sometimes blurred with regards to virtual or internet relationships because they are not viewed as being “real.”

Is ‘Sexting’ outside of a relationship considered cheating?

That is a good question. We already know that ‘sexting’ or sending these sexually provocative messages can really enhance a committed relationship. However, what happens when people send these types of messages outside of a committed relationship? How is ‘sexting’ viewed among the general population?

“A 2013 Huffington Post article of 1,000 U.S. adults found that 85 percent of women and 74 percent of men consider ‘sexting’ a form of cheating.” 1

‘Sexting’ outside a relationship can be exciting especially for those individuals that are looking for ‘that extra something’ in their lives. Perhaps these individuals love their spouses or partners but seem to have ‘lost’ the passion or excitement in their relationship. For other individuals, maybe they are looking to find someone else online or in a virtual sense (i.e. via texting, online websites or other media) that they can flirt with and is considered “safe.” That could fall into the “grass is greener on the other side of the fence” scenario. A person may be very happy or mostly satisfied with their partner but think that they might be able to find something better outside their relationship.

Other scenarios could include men or women that seem to feel as if they are invisible to their partners or spouses due to over demanding careers, children, mental illness, physical illness, alcoholism, etc. These individuals may find that through ‘sexting’ with a 3rd party that they can feel loved, desired and even sexy. It is through this media (and possibly other reasons) that people justify their actions and tell themselves that they are not cheating because there is no physical relationship.

Is this behavior wrong? Is it cheating? There are various reasons why an individual may decide to engage in ‘sexting’ outside of his/her relationship but what is the intention exactly? Some people may believe that due to the virtual nature of ‘sexting’ that it isn’t necessarily wrong. ‘Sexting’ doesn’t have to involve physical contact and it could just be chalked down to a simple fantasy (or something that they don’t intend to pursue). It may have started as something very innocuous (like work-related messages sent to a colleague, coworker or fellow student) but then it moved forward to a more sexual type of relationship.

However if a person is deleting texts, hiding cell phone bills, or being secretive about this virtual relationship then it seems that he/she has become more involved with someone other than a spouse or partner. This person is now thinking about another person, sending pictures to that person, and possibly wishing he/she could spend time with that other person. If we are looking at the health of a marriage or relationship, any time someone else becomes involved, that health has now been compromised. We could also argue that the commitment toward the relationship or marriage has waned because of the 3rd party that is now part of the equation.

Case Examples:

Maria and Thomas (not their real names) have been married for 3 years but have been together for about 12 years. Thomas had been dealing with anxiety issues for his whole life but had developed a drinking habit to numb the intense feelings that he dealt with on a daily basis. This drinking problem had become so bad where Maria had found him passed out on the couch a few times after work and he spent a good amount of time drinking with colleagues. This situation caused her to feel very detached and distrustful of Thomas. She didn’t feel as if Thomas loved or desired her and that his drinking had become his new relationship. Maria decided to contact a former male friend from school with which she began a ‘sexting’ relationship. She never sent any sexually explicit photos of herself to this other person but the messages they shared were very provocative.

Maria never had any intentions of actually cheating on Thomas but she just felt lonely and unattractive. She sought companionship with someone that showed interest in her and chose to continue this ‘sexting’ relationship for a couple of months. She mentioned that this person made her feel sexy and desirable. She also felt good that someone was interested in her and although this person requested to meet her in person, she never did. Maria had some guilt that she was busy sending messages to someone other than her husband yet she continued. She got so frustrated with Thomas that she even ‘sexted’ this friend of hers while her husband was next to her on the couch.

Now, although this behavior of Maria’s was not having a physical affair it was an emotional affair. Maria was tired of trying to get through to her husband about his drinking and lack of interest in her. She spent a good amount of time looking for affection outside her relationship because her husband was not available to her. When Thomas found out about this ‘sexting’ relationship that Maria had started, he was devastated that she would do such a thing.

Maria made the decision to seek therapy to discuss her concerns and disappointment in herself and her relationship. Obviously she realized that while her marriage was not in the best state that she needed help to put things into perspective. After a few sessions, Maria wanted to bring her husband to join in the sessions. These sessions were spent having both of them discuss their feelings and how they were each disappointed with one another. Maria was able to discuss how she felt undesirable and lonely while Thomas received validation for his anxiety issues. Thomas was confronted for his alcohol abuse and how that was affecting their relationship. This couple was able to communicate, forgive each other and move forward.

A second couple, Julio and Gabrielle (not their real names) were not so lucky. Julio started ‘sexting’ with another woman he met online just after the birth of his daughter. He had been unhappy with Gabrielle for some time however just didn’t know how to communicate his feelings. He had come from a family in which communicating feelings was highly discouraged. So while his wife was pregnant and tired a good portion of the time, Julio was online looking for some attention.

At first, things were very mild. He sent a few texts here and there just looking to see if other women were interested. However, once his daughter was born, Julio spent a lot of time on his phone. He ‘sexted’ with a particular woman with whom he had a connection at work and in the car. He also deleted all of the messages because he didn’t want his wife to become suspicious or to find them ‘by accident.’ So he was able to keep up this front for some time…a good 6 months.

However, one day he wasn’t so careful. Julio forgot to delete some messages and his wife looked at his phone while she was up in the middle of the night feeding the baby. She was appalled and devastated at what she found. Gabrielle chose not to say anything right away because she wanted to see if she could catch him or get him to admit to this behavior. And one day she was able to do just that. She found him in the bathroom taking pictures of his genitals and sending the pictures & messages. She confronted him on the spot and but he denied ever meeting up with this woman. Gabrielle realized that they needed some serious help and sought therapy.

She communicated that she loved Julio and wanted to keep their marriage intact but was not going to accept this type of behavior from him. Julio was able to finally, after some encouragement, to communicate that he had been unhappy with Gabrielle for years. He stated that he only married her because she had become pregnant with his daughter but he didn’t feel that the two of them were very compatible. She also found out in therapy that Julio had lied about meeting up with the woman that he was sending messages to and that they had been dating. It was at this point that Gabrielle and Julio decided to separate because their relationship was not reparable.

So what should you do?

If you have found yourself interested in finding attention outside your marriage or relationship, it is important to ask yourself some important questions.

What do you want to accomplish? What are your intentions? Have you found that you are not interested in maintaining your marriage or relationship? What is the reason you are trying to connect with someone else? Are you looking for some attention because you are not getting it at home? Are you seeking out something more exciting or compatible than your partner/spouse? Or is your relationship salvageable with the help of someone who can encourage better communication and engagement? Are you just looking to make you’re your partner/spouse jealous? These questions need to be answered before the relationship deteriorates past the point of no return.

If you decide that you are simply not interested in continuing with your present relationship, then some honest dialogue needs to occur with your spouse or partner. It is important to communicate your feelings and to allow this other person the opportunity to hear that the relationship is over. This allows your partner to start the process of grieving the relationship and eventually moving on. Hopefully, you are able to provide some support and compassion for your spouse or partner and allow for a more amicable separation.

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However if you have recently found out that your spouse or partner has been involved in a ‘sexting’ relationship, it is important for you to maintain composure. It is completely normal to have intense emotions regarding the situation however it will not help in the communication process. Please ask questions about this other relationship and find out about your partner’s intentions. It is important to know if your spouse or partner is interested in continuing with your relationship and ending the other one or not. It is helpful to have an objective 3rd party there to help both of you to determine in which direction you both want to travel.

Emotions will be high in either situation especially for the person that has just found out about this outside relationship. If you are too deeply hurt by your spouse or partner’s ‘sexting’ relationship to stay with him/her, then this must also be addressed. Each person deals with highly emotional situations in different ways. One couple might be able to communicate effectively even in difficult situations while another couple might not be able to be in the same room together. So it is important to know how your spouse or partner will react in this situation and find a way to come to a workable conclusion that best fits both of you.

Conclusion

Since ‘sexting’ has become such a popular activity among adults in monogamous relationships and with those that are dating based on the research provided in this article, it is important for everyone to be more knowledgeable regarding the topic. The research shows that ‘sexting’ can enhance a monogamous relationship. The case examples show two different scenarios that can ensue. If people are unhappy in their present relationship and choose to utilize ‘sexting’ to find excitement with another person, the end result could be relationship or marital dissolution.

Couples are encouraged to seek out help. A counselor, therapist or psychologist can help couples to find their way through this situation. If a relationship has been extensively damaged by ‘sexting’ (through which a physical relationship may or may not have begun), there are important feelings on both sides that need to be addressed. Depending on the desires of both people involved, these relationships can be saved but does take time to rebuild trust and confidence. Since most of these relationships consist of one (or both) persons seeking out someone else, it is vital to encourage verbal communication about the things that each person views is lacking in the relationship. Feelings need to be communicated and each partner or spouse needs to have the opportunity to express him/herself. Forgiveness plays a HUGE part in this type of situation. Each person has to ask him/herself if forgiveness is an option and if so, they can proceed toward creating a new relationship together. They can do this by spending time together and discussing how to satisfy each other’s needs. Only after these important issues have been brought up can the couple begin to move forward on a new path toward happiness.

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.”