Healthy relationships are a source of joy and comfort. They provide a sense of safety and connection with partners, family and friends.  They can even help people live longer, healthier lives. But all too often, relationships can be jeopardized by a variety of stressful factors including finances, power imbalances, other well-intentioned family members and hidden issues from one another’s past.

Complex Causes for Relationship Issues

shutterstock_344275895.jpgRelationship issues can arise from poor communication, or when one or both parties are unable or unwilling to be honest about their problems. Conflicts can arise around issues of control, lack of boundary-setting in the relationship, or problems with trust and loyalty. Characteristics of troubled relationships can range from mildly annoying to severely toxic and dangerously abusive dynamics.

In all their forms, difficulties with relationships can have a powerful impact on a person’s self-esteem, outlook on life, and overall mental and physical health. Troubled relationships can contribute to a wide range of emotional issues, including anxiety, depression, feelings of worthlessness, and even suicidal thoughts.

Building Skills for Better Relationships

shutterstock_60504643.jpgThe journey toward building better relationships and healing the wounds of broken ones can be daunting. Discovering and exploring hidden blocks to connecting with others can raise long-buried memories and strong feelings that can be difficult to process. Sometimes, working to repair a relationship may lead to an understanding that it has to end in separation or divorce in order for both parties to move forward.

Improving existing relationships and learning how to build healthy new ones begins with learning how to listen, communicate and set boundaries. Working on relationships with others is also a process of self-discovery and reflection. This process can reveal past traumas and old patterns that can contribute to problems in current relationships. If both parties want a healthy relationship, have open minds and are willing to work hard on new skills, the relationship doesn’t have to end in separation or divorce.  Instead, a happier, healthier relationship can emerge as well as a new found sense of self and understanding of one another.

Counseling for All Kinds of Relationships

shutterstock_439120651.jpgRelationship counseling can help not only couples but also families and individuals establish open and honest communication, set healthy boundaries and see things from the other person's perspective.  Therapists experienced in relationship issues can offer support for dealing with the range of emotional issues that can surface during relationship conflicts. Through therapy, people can discover new approaches to making relationships work or to cope with the consequences of ending them.

Dr. Lehman is a family psychologist based in West Palm Beach, Florida whose counseling services include couple’s therapy, family therapy and relationship counseling. She offers insight, support and practical tools to help clients strengthen existing relationships and create healthy new ones.  Dr. Lehman draws from a range of treatment modalities including Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT), Family Systems Therapy, Emotion-Focused Therapy, Solution Focused Therapy, Attachment-Based Therapies and Motivational Interviewing.