Using Psychotherapy to Create Better Relationships and Improve Existing Ones

Psychotherapy can help you improve the quality of your relationships by revealing what’s goes on beneath the surface when you interact with others. Without realizing it many people struggle with forming good relationships because they’ve been living out of old destructive roles they’ve fallen into.

Therapy helps you to develop more constructive ideas about who you are and better ways to relate to others. Whether you avoid relationships or find yourself too dependent on them, psychotherapy provides a safe setting where you can identify patterns that weren’t clear before.

While I tailor therapy to each individual person, here are some aspects of therapy that are often helpful in working with relationship issues:

  • Identify how patterns of relating from the past affect your present relationships.
    • For instance, are you repeating old family patterns by either trying to maintain independence or to find security by being overly-attached?
  • Identify underlying fears and the way you’ve handled them so far.
    • For instance, do you have fears of rejection, getting too close and being seen, or of losing your identity and autonomy?
    • Do you try to manage social distance (too close, too distant) in a way that puts other people off?
  • Explore whether something you’re looking for in others is really something that you need to nurture in yourself.
    • For instance, might you be looking for the capacity for to experience feeling deeply, or the capacity to be strong?
    • Do you try to get others to live out these characteristics for you?
  • Question your interpretation of how others relate to you.
    • For instance, are people really judging you as critically as you imagine?
    • Might you be projecting your own shadow, parts of yourself that you don’t like, onto others?
  • Explore whether there is anything that you’re trying to work out through your relationships.
    • For instance, are you trying to prove that you are desirable, undesirable, or able to fix someone else?

Having the opportunity to explore these issues with another person in a completely confidential environment is often the key to finding better ways to relate. The therapeutic relationship itself can be healing, and can bring insight about what goes on inside of you and how you come across to others.