Relationships

How to improve your social life: Do what the best baseball hitters do

In this article, I discuss why making frequent contact with a good swing leads to hits in baseball and in one’s social life. In my work as a Calgary psychologist and a Cochrane psychologist, I often have clients whose goal is to improve their social lives by having more friends or people to date. My advice to help these clients is to do what the best baseball players do in order to get on base: Make frequent contact with a ‘good swing’ and the hits will come on the baseball field as well as in your social life...[more]

2018-12-02T22:08:30+00:00By |Categories: Psychology, Relationships|

The more the merrier? When it is good and not good to have others participate in your therapy

In this article, I discuss circumstances under which having other people attend therapy with you is recommended and when it is better to attend by yourself. In my work as a Calgary psychologist and a Cochrane psychologist, most of my sessions with clients are individual ones in which I meet with one client dealing with particular issues. However, a significant minority of my sessions with clients are those in which more than one person attends and participates...[more]

2018-11-18T21:27:07+00:00By |Categories: Psychology, Relationships|

The irresistible force meets the immovable object: How to proceed when you become stuck during discussions of relationship issues

In this article, I discuss how you and your partner can proceed when you have reached an impasse while discussing an issue. In my work as a Calgary psychologist and a Cochrane psychologist, I often work with couples in relationship counselling who become stuck when discussing issues. This can lead to frustration, anger and other difficult emotions. Experiencing these emotions is often followed by the two partners making negative comments toward each other. This is followed by more of the aforementioned emotions as well as some additional difficult ones like hurt and sadness. The partners may then withdraw from each other, leading their relationship friendship to suffer. This can then result in the relationship as a whole moving in a negative direction. In the following sections, I will discuss several strategies you and your partner can use when you are stuck on an issue you are discussing...[more]

2018-10-21T21:31:48+00:00By |Categories: Relationships|

Relationship rules for managing conflict

In this article, I discuss how you and your partner can make and follow ‘relationship rules’ to manage conflict effectively. In my work as a Calgary psychologist and a Cochrane psychologist, I often work with couples in relationship counselling who have challenges in managing conflict. One of the reasons couples have difficulties is that they often lack agreed upon ‘relationship rules’ for how to proceed in particular conflict management situations.  Trying to address these situations without agreed upon rules is challenging for several reasons...[more]

2018-10-04T22:37:17+00:00By |Categories: Relationships|

After the affair: When the unreasonable becomes reasonable

In this article, I discuss how relationship requests which are unreasonable become reasonable in the wake of an affair. In my work as a Calgary psychologist and a Cochrane psychologist, I often work with couples in relationship counselling whose goal is to rebuild their relationship in the wake of one partner having had an affair. In these situations, one of the biggest challenges is for both partners to be patient with the healing process. For the hurt partner, this means understanding that it will necessarily take a lot of time to heal from the hurt and to regain trust in the unfaithful partner. For the unfaithful partner, patience entails understanding that the hurt partner is not likely to quickly get over the hurt and regain trust in them. Having said that, there are strategies both partners can follow to facilitate this slow process of healing and rebuilding trust...[more]

2018-09-09T22:10:02+00:00By |Categories: Relationships|

How to use CBT skills to keep your relationship on track

In this article, I discuss how you can use cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) to keep your relationship strong by focusing on your thinking patterns. In my work as a Calgary psychologist and a Cochrane psychologist, I often see clients in couples counselling whose relationships are in a bad state. These relationships are often characterized by one or both partners disliking the other—sometimes intensely. The dislike is often associated with each partner having general negative beliefs about the other’s character. Beliefs such as “He’s insensitive” and “She doesn’t respect me” are typical of the negative beliefs which fuel dislike in such relationships. Surprisingly, with many of these couples I discover that earlier in their relationships their feelings toward each other were completely opposite to the strong dislike they currently experience...[more]

2018-07-01T21:19:11+00:00By |Categories: Relationships|

How to use listening skills to improve communication in your relationships

In this article, I discuss how you and your partner can use listening skills to enhance your ability to discuss relationship issues constructively. In my work as a Calgary psychologist and a Cochrane psychologist, I often help individuals and couples whose goal is to improve their relationships. This often entails helping them to improve their ability to discuss issues constructively. One of the best ways to improve this ability is to use effective listening during discussions of issues...[more]

2018-05-06T21:48:33+00:00By |Categories: Relationships|

Tracking progress in rebuilding a relationship: Like in a marathon or a triathlon

In this article, I discuss how the approach to tracking progress in a marathon or a triathlon can be helpful in rebuilding a relationship. In my work as a Calgary psychologist and a Cochrane psychologist, I help many clients improve their relationships in couples counselling. In some instances, the relationship has deteriorated so much that one or both partners have very little motivation to work on skills to improve the relationship and may even be considering getting out. At such a dire point, the partners may believe that they do not have the energy to work on the relationship. They may additionally believe that even if they were both willing to work on the relationship, there would be little point in doing so given the relationship’s current hopeless state. In these apparently pessimistic circumstances, I try to be realistically optimistic with the couples with whom I am working...[more]

2018-03-25T21:24:57+00:00By |Categories: Relationships, Sport & Performance|

Improve your relationships by changing the way you think

In this article, I discuss how to improve your relationships by using skills from cognitive behavioural therapy. In my work as a Calgary psychologist and a Cochrane psychologist, I see a lot of couples who want help in improving their relationships. Much of the work involves applying skills from Dr. John Gottman’s Sound Relationship House model. These skills focus on two main parts of the ‘relationship house’—how well the couple manages conflict and how good a ‘relationship friendship’ they have. Skills to manage conflict entail learning how to communicate constructively about issues while friendship-building skills involve the couple spending time connecting with each other and nurturing each other’s preferred ‘love languages’. Couples who consistently apply Gottman’s skills to manage conflict and build friendship typically improve their relationships. Unfortunately, in many instances couples struggle in having the motivation to use the skills and stay consistent at them to the point that their relationships improve. A factor which plays a key role in this lack of motivation and inconsistency is negative thinking the partners have about each other and their relationship...[more]

2018-01-14T22:22:51+00:00By |Categories: 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]

2017-01-19T16:08:00+00:00By |Categories: Relationships|
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