In my profession, what I do throughout the day is talk with people who are struggling. The nature of the struggles varies. Some individuals are depressed about specific circumstances, situations or people. Others have perceptual difficulties that interfere with their ability to maintain a connection with reality. These struggles can manifest in degrees of challenge and severity.
Manifestations can occur anywhere during one’s life, and following are some examples of such scenarios. While balancing work and life, an individual is planning to take on a new job, but his partner does not trust him since he has not shared the plans, which in turn creates stress in their marriage. At work, an individual thinks they know better than a colleague regarding how to do a job, and deals with tension every day at the office creating significant anxiety. Among family, an individual dreads every holiday because it is always a conflictual time provoking stress and anxiety. Within a community, a new member wants to do things differently in the neighborhood resulting in emotional distress and legal bills. In all situations, some people have ideas, thoughts or issues that are unsettling and they struggle with them without having a venue that enables further discussion, clarification and problem-solving.
When reflecting on the above examples, the idea of effective communication is a constant thread and need. Communication is a simple concept but has multiple steps that must occur to be effective for all parties. Initially, someone needs to express himself or herself through writing, speaking or physical expression. Then someone must, not just hear, read or see, but understand and respond to complete the communication loop. When this pattern happens, there is a possibility of establishing and growing a relationship.
Human beings are social creatures, and relationships serve a valuable, integral purpose as part of our lives. We all have relationships with our family, significant others, friends, classmates, teammates, work colleagues and trade professionals—all represent different dynamics and ups and downs throughout life. In the right situation and context, cultivating healthy relationships can go a long way to make life better. Developing mutually beneficial relationships is not just about problem-solving, but, more importantly, it is about life enhancement. Relating to others centers on engagement, which focuses on positive action and enriches the quality of life.
At certain times, we need the help of trade professionals. Most of us need experts in different specialties including doctors, teachers, accountants, lawyers, electricians, plumbers, and even mental health therapists. We find that when we establish good relationships with these professionals, it helps us deal more effectively, and hopefully can improve our lives.
In my experience, I have found that people come at relationships with different agendas having individual expectations of what they want from the relationship. When individuals communicate transparently and honestly, they ultimately foster better relationships. This communication practice applies to family and friends but also to the trade professionals.
When you reach out to experts in the therapy world, it is essential to evaluate the relationship to determine that the agendas are consistent enough to accomplish the desired goal. Whether this is in a group or individual setting, identifying your priorities and communicating them is the best way to achieve your goal, as well as to help clarify issues. Applying this understanding can help address relational matters, a family of origin problems or mood disorders.
Some relationships may be easier than others, but the world is a social environment, and we are social creatures, and it is essential to develop and maintain healthy relationships to overcome struggles and improve our daily lives.