Relationship counseling in Chiang Mai, Thailand.
“Life is relationship” – anonymous
The goal of relationship therapy is to resolve conflict and establish support, understanding and love in intimate relationship. Relationship counseling is available from the clinic in Chiang Mai and can also be explored in online sessions.
Relationship work is an opportunity to openly discuss conflict, uncover needs, explore boundaries and re-define relationship. Therapy uncovers repressed emotions understanding that it is essential to heal the past in order to be at peace into the present.
What is relationship
It might be said that “life is relationship”. All human interactions are examples of relationship, from the relationships that we have with co-workers, friends and family to intiamte partners. Therapy work can improve any form of relationship because relationships are defined through how we connect to and understand another.
The most common form of relationship to explore in therapy are intimate relationships . Romantic relationships have a special way of bringing to the surface unresolved emotional patterns. People come together to learn from one another and in no field of life is this more true than in relationship.
An intimate relationship is an agreement between two people to come together as a team and create a life together. Intimate relationships should be based on a common vision, shared understanding and agreed framework. There are respected boundaries and a natural desire to support and help one another.
One might imagine that life is like a boat. The first thing to do is to decide where to go! A course is plotted towards the desired destination. Like the weather, obstacles might come on the way causing the boat to stray off path. As long as the original decision is never wavered from, the course is simply corrected and eventually the boat reaches it’s destination.
In intimate relationship, there are now two people in the boat. If the individuals have a different idea of where to take the boat (and fail to communicate!) then energy is hopelessly wasted and the boat goes in circles. Life simply works better when both partners agree where they want to go and work together. When they work together as a team, the boat can move gracefully and powerfully towards the goal.
There is wisdom in understanding relationship by examining the word itself – “relation”, “ship”. “Relation” is the art of relating. How do two people relate in the different arenas of life – physically, emotionally, mentally, spiritually, socially, sexually…. because relationship is multi-dimensional!
“Ship” implies movement. Ships move great distances very slowly over long periods of time. Life is movement. In fact, the only constant is change! Two people who form a relationship in their 20’s will be entirely different people in their 40’s with evolved needs, perspectives and goals.
Therefore “relationship” might be defined as “how do you relate to someone over the movement of time”. Relationship is an art requiring understanding of love, emotion and needs. The adaptability to be able to respond to change is an essential relationship skill as well.
Core concepts that form the foundation of relationship therapy
All relationship with other people is a reflection of our relationship with ourselves. In order to have a healthy relationship with the outside world, it is essential to have a healthy relationship with oneself.
Life is a process of growth. People come together to learn from one another. There is no greater sense for this than in the context of intimate relationships. Relationships provide huge opportunities for growth because within them every unhealed emotional pattern from the past will surface.
Each of our lives has an emotional structure. Emotional patterns formed in childhood repeat until underlying emotions are healed. It can be quite striking how similar situations from the the past repeat in the present! As life is a reflection of emotion, whatever is not resolved from the past will arise in the present. If emotion is not consciously addressed, it is projected onto partners and often has a consequence (creative force) in the future.
It is essential to take complete responsibility for one’s own emotions. It is helpful to assume that it is never possible for anybody else to “make you feel” anything because every emotion felt in the present has been felt before. Emotions are a direct result of the “story that we tell ourselves” about what is happening in the world. Emotion is the result of the perspective that we take about the events and challenges of our lives. In other words, if we change the way that we think, the way that we feel changes as well.
Life is a journey of healing. Healing is the path to wholeness. To be healed is to be at peace with the world.
Repressed emotions form patterns and perspectives. Healing can only follow feeling. Therefore, repressed patterns from the past must be “triggered” through life circumstances in order to provide an opportunity for healing and – you guessed it – this most commonly happens in intimate relationships!
Some people say that we came to this world to learn to love. Every situation in life that triggers an unresolved emotion from the past is a blessing because it is an opportunity for healing. Relationships provide deep opportunities to develop awareness, unconditional love and compassion as well.
Relationship therapy begins with a group session (both partners and the therapist). Clear guidelines and boundaries for the therapy to follow are established, paying particular attention to rules regarding communication. It is important that each partner has an opportunity to communicate their feelings without interruption in an atmosphere of acceptance, respect and love.
The first session aims to establish a dialogue from which the therapist can clearly understand the structure of the relationship. In what areas of life is the relationship working? What are the challenges that present in relationship? How do these relate to each individual’s life and emotional structure?
The first session will aim to clearly identify toxic patterns within the relationship and give the couple clear practices to develop awareness and manage them. Many relationships can feel stuck on three or four repetitive patterns that can often be simply resolved. The couple is encouraged to continue to communicate in the way that they learn in relationship therapy.
Commonly therapy will continue with a individual session for each partner. Individual work focuses on identifying and resolving emotional patterns from the past which are coming up within the relationship. Private sessions provide an opportunity for each person to speak freely and deeply within a counseling context.
Following individual work, the fourth session of relationship therapy will be a meeting of everybody concerned to track the results of the therapy so far. What has improved? What has not? Have assignments and suggestion been followed and, if not, why?!
Therapy will continue with a combination of group and individual sessions as required to help each person develop the skills necessary to resolve emotions, set appropriate boundaries and learn how to give their partner respect and love.