As a licensed therapist, coach and addictions specialist, I work with clients with some pretty serious conditions, including, alcoholism, sexual compulsivity, road rage, bi polar disorder, and personality disorders, such as borderline personality disorder and narcissism. Much of the time these issues (and others) may be occurring at the same time and make for immense complexity.
However, over the many years of practice, I continue to find it curious that despite the crisis, physical and emotional challenges and other problems at hand, that the conversation always comes back to relationships, communication and the development of connection and intimacy. Even in the face of chronic pain, depression and job loss the underlying concern is often “I don’t think my spouse loves me” or “I am afraid of being left.”
The number one reason why people seek counseling is related to their relationships. Whether it’s due to an intimate couples’ problem, social isolation, family or work related conflict; relational concerns always take precedence – even over finances. It doesn’t matter what the presenting concern seems to be – addiction, eating disorder, pain, depression, etc. – at the end of the day the conversation comes back to connection, love, and belonging. These are not lofty needs or desires, but are necessary for our health, well-being, and survival. But, in today’s world of technology, pressed schedules, increased consumerism, family difficulties and economic pressures, the simple things that have served as the foundation for human health and happiness have been strained and minimized. It’s no wonder chronic disease is on the rise with 25% of American facing such challenges.
Many years ago an author by the name of Robert Fulghum wrote a book All I Really Need to Know I Learned in Kindergarten http://www.peace.ca/kindergarten.htm. In his own simple and elegant manner the author provided practical guidelines for successful living and loving through looking back on what is taught to children in kindergarten, as they learn to take care of themselves and socialize with one another – The importance of respect. Sounds simple, right? However, sometimes the simplest of things are not so easy. What happens when those basics either get lost or are not learned? These relational deficits leave a large gap in one’s ability to relate and have needs met, leading to immense dissatisfaction and suffering – For everyone.
This next grouping of blog postings is focused on getting back to the basics of relating effectively with others; highlighting the importance of our ability to listen, understand, and to develop collaboration and cooperation in order to construct safe, balanced relationship dynamics that are healthy and satisfying.
As you read the blog, you may wish to ask yourself how you rate in these areas and or how others around you rate. Through increasing your skills it becomes easier to discern what healthy relating looks like and how it feels verses poor relational fit. You will also learn how to build a healthy and satisfying network of supportive relationships in your life in order to feel more balanced, connected and competent.
We hope you find this information useful and encourage you to forward the blog onto a family member or a friend.