Relationships are the cornerstone and the binding factor of stable society. Why then does relationship issues arise in all human contact? Relationship difficulties arise where two or more people take different approaches to a common or mutual problem. This situation can occur in a marriage, with a child, or sister or brother. It can of course also arise in a work place relationship. While different approaches to problems are not new or unusual and can be managed when there is enough goodwill that guide the individuals concerned to find a solution ameniable to both parties. The problem arises when one person sets out to manipulate or control the other person in the relationship.

Possible reasons for disent.

In my practice, when working on relationships issues I frequently come across many different presentations of psychopathology. When one person in a relationship is having difficulties, for instance they may be experiencing low mood or anxiety. Anything like this can put a strain on others in that realationship, thus starting a 'snowball' effect. Sadly sometimes this situation is allowed to rumble on, which in turn can often lead to a breakdown of the relationship.


When a relationship case presnts for treatment(I prefer to call it resolution), an assessment is done of the overall relationship.If there is evidence of violence or aggression and or some substantial psychological issue, this then would have to be handled very sensitivetly. If it is a couple relationship these issues would be dealt within that forum of couple counselling. To separate the couple at this stage and attempt therapy with one partner could lead to bigger problems later on. However, if it is a parent-child problem individual therapy may help, particularly if there is evidence of a skill deficit in one or other the of the partcipants.


Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) is now a recognised model of therapy with excellent results for this presentation of relationship problems. After 'wants' in the relationship are established the six core processes of ACT are used. Mindfulness exercises are used to start the process of therapy. Acceptance and defusion of thoughts and making room for feelings, while acknowledging that we will always have thoughts, feelings and body sensations. Life Values are really important in relationship therapy, simply because they identify the most important things in our lives. (for more information on ACT visit Acceptance and Commitment Therapy on this website)

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