There have been more self-help books written on the subject of relationships than any other in the whole spectrum of mental and physical health.
Whether it is forming and maintaining friendships, or influencing or negotiating with other people and groups in our family, socially, in business and work environments, good relationships, by which we mean maintaining harmonious interactions around common interest, are probably one of the most important aspects of our being.
It should be remembered that we all have different personalities, which makes it extremely unlikely that we will relate easily with every member of the various circles in which we move. However, in principle it is important that, if we have to deal in any way with those who for whatever reason we do not like, it is done civilly and with respect.
The varying circumstances in which people form relationships and in which those relationships break down or do not achieve the goals for which they are intended, means that it is almost impossible to characterise the problems likely to arise other than in the most general of terms (however, see for example, Couples, above). By and large it is the failure to communicate clearly and effectively, usually accompanied by a lack of mutual trust, that creates the problems and which must be rectified if the relationship is to be established or re-established.
I can assist clients having to adjust to a broken relationship or handle a difficult one by allowing them to voice grievances in the safety of the counselling process whilst, at the same time, encouraging them to consider the relationship from the perspective of the other party. This allows them to assess for themselves whether any change in their own behaviour would improve matters.
It is also essential for the person affected to determine what, if any, outcome they expect from the improved relationship and whether this will satisfy them. There are, of course, circumstances in which, if it is in fact possible, it may be preferable to put the relationship behind them rather than extend the unhappiness that follows if their offers and gestures are rejected. In these instances, it may be appropriate to introduce aspects of loss counselling.