Nothing is certain except death and taxes…and relationships?

In this article, I discuss how to cope with uncertainty about the future of your relationships. I once had a session with a couple in relationship counselling in which the focus was the negative impact of one partner’s individual issues on the relationship. The issue was one that the partner had been dealing with throughout her life. Not surprisingly, the issue had manifest itself in their relationship. In exploring ways to help the couple get their relationship back on track, we discussed steps that the partner could take to address her issue including meeting with a therapist in individual counselling. Near the end of the session, the second partner asked me what assurance I could give him that his partner would not slip back into having difficulty as result of her individual issue. He expressed concern about committing to a relationship and a partner for which the possibility existed that the struggles they were facing as a result of her issue may reemerge. The best way I found to respond to him was with the adage, “Nothing is certain in life except death and taxes.”...[more]

2019-06-30T22:25:33-06:00By |Categories: Relationships|

Agreement on goals: An additional challenge of couples counselling

In this article, I discuss why one of the keys to success in therapy is more difficult to achieve in couples counselling. In my work as a Calgary psychologist and a Cochrane psychologist, I work with many clients in individual counselling as well as helping many people with their relationships in couples counselling. One of the keys to helping all these clients is for the clients and me to agree on what goals we should pursue in counselling. Reaching agreement on goals is typically easier to achieve in individual counselling compared with couples counselling...[more]

2019-06-16T21:45:50-06:00By |Categories: Relationships|

CNN’s Crossfire: A model for constructive communication?

In this article, I discuss what features of the program couples should and should not model when discussing their issues. In my work as a Calgary psychologist and a Cochrane psychologist, I sometimes help clients by referring to material in the media such as television, radio, books, and the internet. A television show I often discuss when helping couples with constructive communication is the CNN program Crossfire. Crossfire was a political program which originally ran from 1988 until 2005 and then had a brief second run between 2013 and 2014. It featured discussions of issues...[more]

2019-06-02T22:28:13-06:00By |Categories: Relationships|

How to address abuse in a relationship: Take the right approach in counselling

In this article, I discuss the relative merits of different options clients can take to address issues involving abusive behaviour in relationships.In my work as a Calgary psychologist and a Cochrane psychologist, I sometimes work with individuals and couples whose goal is to address abusive behaviour in relationships. This is an issue often entails a pattern in which one partner in a relationship engages in behaviours intended to dominate and control the other partner. This leads to abuse in various forms including verbal and physical.There are different counselling options for addressing the issue of abuse in relationships...[more]

2019-03-24T22:05:01-06:00By |Categories: Anger, Relationships|

How to address social anxiety issues:  Be aware of and target self-fulfilling prophecies

In this article, I discuss how you can become less anxious in social situations by recognizing how your beliefs affect your and other people’s behaviour. In my work as a Calgary psychologist and a Cochrane psychologist, I often work with clients who become overly anxious in social situations. The discomfort these people experience can be so strong that will often avoid social situations or leave social events prematurely. A key factor which contributes to excess anxiety in social situations is negative thinking the person has regarding how others are likely to respond to them when they enter such situations. This negative thinking sets in motion a negative self-fulfilling prophecy in which...[more]

2019-03-12T09:49:18-06:00By |Categories: Anxiety, Relationships|

How to deal with difficult people: Use strategies from cognitive behavioural therapy

In this article, I discuss ways of thinking and behaving which can make it easier for you to deal with difficult people. In my work as a Calgary psychologist and a Cochrane psychologist, I sometimes have clients who have who want help in dealing with difficult people. The people in question could be friends, co-workers, family members, supervisors or intimate relationship partners, to name a few. The problem of dealing with such people is often tied to clients being required to interact with them—sometimes on a regular basis. Given that a significant amount of your time is consequently occupied in interacting with people you find unpleasant, it is important to have strategies to decrease this unpleasantness and thereby make dealing with such people more manageable...[more]

2019-02-24T22:14:37-06:00By |Categories: Relationships, Stress|

How to increase closeness in a relationship: Use the principles of self-disclosure

In this article, I discuss how you can use self-disclosure to turn casual relationships into close ones. In my work as a Calgary psychologist and a Cochrane psychologist, I sometimes have clients whose goal is to have closer relationships. In many instances, these clients already have some interaction with people in ‘casual’ relationships and are seeking to move from the ‘small talk’ of these encounters into closer and more fulfilling relationships with more substantive conversations. A pivotal step which can take relationships to the next level entails using the principles of self-disclosure...[more]

2019-01-13T21:51:46-06:00By |Categories: Psychology, 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]

2018-12-02T22:08:30-06:00By |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]

2018-11-18T21:27:07-06:00By |Categories: Psychology, Relationships|
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