Blog Items

What do I do when nothing seems to help my loved ones?

Many of us have the idea that to be the best partner or family member we can be, we should be doing all we can. We share our loved ones' struggles and anxieties, and at times it's hard to stay strong and provide all the help that we would like to. In many situations, though, the truth is there may not be much we can do. In so many situations people's struggles are often their own - coming to terms with being diagnosed with a serious illness, losing a job etc.

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should we separate or stay together?

It's never easy to make the decision whether to stay together and try to work things out, or whether to separate. It's even harder when there are children involved. The beliefs we have will guide this decision to some extent. If we believe, for example, that children are always better off if their parents remain together, we will probably stay together no matter how miserable it makes us.

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keeping the passion alive in long-term relationships

It's often challenging to keep the passion alive in our long-term, committed relationship. After the early days of excitement and novelty, lust gives way to the deeper and quieter contentment of love and caring. However, keeping the spark sexually is an important part of being in relationship! For some, this is as easy as creating quality time together, lighting candles, buying some lovely lingerie etc. For others, this may not be enough. Research suggests that there are some particular things we can do to keep the passion happening.

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Emotional safety in intimate relationships

We all know the importance of safety, at least when it comes to our physical wellbeing. Although there are still some worrying statistics about the high incidence of violence in our community, most of us agree - at least in principle - that it's not OK to use physical or verbal abuse in partner and family relationships. For true intimacy to flourish, though, we need to think much more broadly about safety - to encompass our needs for emotional and psychological safety.

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"Don't just do something, sit there! Quality of presence in intimate relationships.

So often, we respond to problems in our relationship by trying to do something - do more, do it smarter, do it differently. Couples come to counselling desparate for the magic tip that will help them 'do intimacy' or 'do conflict' better. I am not saying there isn't a place for taking action. Sometimes indeed we are doing the wrong thing, or are failing to take action where it is urgently needed. However, at our core we are, in fact, 'human beings', not 'human doings'!

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Separating well - doing it for the kids

Many of us remember a time when it was thought that once we were parents, staying together - no matter how miserable we were - was better for the kids. Nowdays, research tells us that divorce is not necessarily worse for kids, especially if the alternative means remaining in an environment where there is ongoing conflict between parents.

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how do we 'affair-proof' our relationship?

It can be a shock to discover that even the seemingly strongest relationships can be vulnerable to an affair. Many of us think that if we are happy in our relationship, are looking after ourselves and each other, and are making sure we address issues as they come up, then we should never have to worry about infidelity. However, Dr Shirley Glass, author of 'NOT just friends', has a different view. Based on extensive research, she has found that it is not the quality of a relationship that predicts whether someone will have an affair.

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It's the little things... 'turning toward' in intimate relationships

Relationship problems can feel very big! When confronted with a partner's distress, it can feel overwhelming, and in that overwhelm we may feel unsure that we are able to make things better. The good news is, though, that the quality of our moment-to-moment interactions can make a great deal of difference. While not replacing the need to work through important issues, our 'distress dial' will go way down once we feel our partner is tuning into what we are saying and feeling.

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The healing power of relationships

We hear a lot about the troubles that can happen in relationships - traumas and life stressors that can drive people apart rather than bring them close. But for those of us who have managed to find in our partner someone who is able to see us in our uniqueness, love us as we really are, and to keep us in mind in the face of the many competing demands for their attention and focus, we may discover that our relationship can be a source of healing and strength.

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It's never too late to create the love you want and deserve!

When most of us think about trauma, what comes to mind is soldiers who have been in war, perhaps someone who has been in a car accident, or physically assaulted. We don't necessarily think about other traumas, more every day, closer to home - like the trauma of a parther's betrayal, being hit by a partner or parent, or having basic needs neglected, ignored or even judged negatively. It's these second set of traumas though, that can cause more problems for us in our closest relationships moving forward. It's hard to trust after being betrayed.

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