Relationships

Habits to make your relationships thrive: Part 3—Habits which focus on the five love languages

In this article, I discuss habits to help you and your partner build friendship and intimacy by focusing on each other’s love languages. In my last article, I discussed one of the keys to having thriving relationships—learning and practicing habits to help you and your partner build friendship and intimacy by nurturing the three elements of the relationship friendship. According to Dr. John Gottman, creator of the Sound Relationship House model, these elements involve building love maps by having ongoing knowledge of each other, expressing fondness and admiration toward each other and turning toward each other by frequently making and accepting bids for connection. In this article, I will discuss additional habits which will help you and your partner to build friendship and intimacy. These habits focus on the Five Love Languages, a concept introduced by Dr. Gary Chapman whose landmark book of this title is subtitled, ‘The Secret to Love that Lasts...[more]

Habits to make your relationships thrive: Part 2—Habits for a good relationship friendship

In this article, I discuss habits to help you have thriving relationships by building and maintaining a strong relationship friendship. In my last article, I discussed one of the keys to having thriving relationships—learning and practicing habits to allow you and your partner to discuss issues constructively. In this article, I will discuss habits which will help you and your partner to have a solid relationship friendship. Practicing habits in these two important areas is fundamental to having a good relationship according to Dr. John Gottman, creator of the ‘Sound Relationship House’ model of relationships...[more]

Habits to make your relationships thrive: Part 1—Habits for discussing issues constructively

In this article, I discuss habits to help you have thriving relationships by discussing issues constructively. In my last article, I discussed the key to having good emotional health and thriving relationships—learning and practicing habits. In this article, I will discuss specific habits to help you have thriving relationships. I will categorize these habits using the ‘Sound Relationship House’ model of Dr. John Gottman. The two categories from this model on which I will focus are constructive discussions of issues and having a strong relationship friendship. In this article, I will consider habits which facilitate constructive discussions of issues in relationships...[more]

The key to achieving good emotional health and thriving relationships: It’s all about the habits

In this article, I discuss the key to achieving good emotional health and thriving relationships—having habits which help you to generate these positive results. In my work as a Calgary psychologist and a Cochrane psychologist, I often have to dispel misguided notions in my clients regarding how I can help them improve their emotional health and their relationships. Many people come to counselling expecting to be ‘cured’ by my identifying and fixing some problem they identify as the reason they or their relationships are not doing well. Although addressing a major problem can often play a role in having good emotional health and fulfilling relationships, what usually makes the biggest difference is less dramatic...[more]

Fake it until you make it to enhance your life

In this article, I discuss how taking action when you don’t feel like it can bring you benefits. In my work as a Calgary psychologist and a Cochrane psychologist, I often encounter clients who could benefit from taking action to improve their lives. For example, a client in depression counselling may benefit from engaging in pleasurable activities or a client who is lonely would help to address their issue by taking action to increase their social interactions. A common barrier to clients taking action toward improvement is that they don’t feel like taking action at a given time, preferring to wait until they feel like taking action before doing so. Given that it may be some time before they do feel like taking action, this barrier can present a major challenge facing the client in addressing their issues...[more]

Psych up for the holidays: Lessons from Christmas movies and television specials

In this article, I discuss some important lessons Christmas movies and television specials offer to enhance your life. The Christmas holiday season has long been one of my favourite times of the year. Having some time off to relax and spend time with family and friends sharing good food and drink makes this a special time of year for many people. An additional reason I enjoy this season is that I get to watch my favourite Christmas movies and television specials...[more]

Three options to choose from when you’re in a difficult situation: Two good, one bad

In this article, I discuss the importance of being mindful of three options to choose from when you’re in the midst of difficult work and relationship situations as well as which of these options are preferred. In my work as a Calgary psychologist and a Cochrane psychologist, I often have clients dealing with ongoing difficult and stressful situations involving their work or their relationships. In my experience with these clients, I’ve concluded that it can be very helpful to be aware of three options in dealing with these difficult situations. I refer to these as Options A, B and C...[more]

Spending time on your relationship friendship: A ‘not urgent but important’ task

In this article, I discuss how taking the time to nurture your relationship friendship is an example of what Dr. Stephen Covey referred to as ‘putting first things first’. In his classic book The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People, the late Dr. Stephen Covey listed ‘put first things first’ as the third of the seven habits practiced by highly effective people. This habit, which focuses on spending time on what is most important to you, manifests itself through attending to tasks which are what Dr. Covey called ‘not urgent but important’. Such tasks often get neglected in favour of tasks which have a sense of urgency such as those which have deadlines...[more]

Want to have more effective discussions of issues in your relationship? Choose the right time to have the discussions

In this article, I discuss the importance of you and your relationship partner being in the right emotional state in order to have constructive discussions of issues. In my last article, I focused on one of the most frequent issues for which clients seek help in couples counselling--to discuss their issues more constructively. In that article, I discussed one of the key skills to help achieve this goal—going beyond thinking only about what you want to say to each other by also paying attention to how you communicate your points. This article will focus on a second important skill to help couples discuss their issues more constructively—choosing the right time to have the discussions...[more]

Want to have more effective discussions of issues in your relationship? Focus on how you communicate your points

In this article, I discuss the importance of how you and your partner raise issues and respond to issues when they are raised. One of the most common goals with which clients seek my help in couples counselling is to discuss their issues more constructively. In turn, one of the most valuable skills to help achieve this goal is to go beyond thinking only about what you want to say to each other by adding skills which focus on how and when you are choosing to communicate your points. This involves thinking about not just the content of communication but also about the process of communication...[more]