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+00:00 By |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+00:00 By |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+00:00 By |Categories: Relationships|

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]

2016-11-20T23:43:03+00:00 By |Categories: Psychology, Relationships|

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]

2016-11-09T12:13:16+00:00 By |Categories: Relationships|

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]

2016-11-09T12:14:04+00:00 By |Categories: Psychology, Relationships|

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]

2016-11-09T12:03:42+00:00 By |Categories: Depression, Psychology, Relationships|

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]

2016-11-09T12:03:42+00:00 By |Categories: Anxiety, Depression, Relationships, Self-Esteem, Stress|

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]

2016-11-09T12:03:42+00:00 By |Categories: Relationships|
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