Authored by Cordelia Loots-Gollin, MSW, LCSW, IntraSpectrum Counseling Clinical Director and a member of our clinical team.
As Mental Health Awareness Month comes to a close, IntraSpectrum Counseling applauds all those who continue to raise awareness of mental health / behavioral health issues, and who work to reduce the stigma that so many experience. The blog entry below offers valuable practical strategies to help you take care of your relationship by prioritizing communication.
So much talk about mental health centers around individuals, but relationships are also an important component of our mental health. Relationships can be a source of support and comfort during stressful times. When communication isn’t going well in a relationship, however, the relationship itself can be a source of stress.
While this narrative is written from an romantic / life-partner relationship perspective, the strategies presented here can be applied to all types of primary relationships in your life: family, friendship or romantic. If you feel like a relationship is stuck in a rut, consider trying the following:
- Solve Together: When you find yourself in a disagreement on how to handle a particular item, try reframing the conversation. Work together to identify the challenge, and discuss how to solve the problem you are facing–together. Trying this approach to reframe the conflict from a disagreement between people in a relationship to people working together to solve a challenge that they share.
- Schedule Quality Time: Between work, school, family, and other obligations, it can be hard to find time to connect with one another. Setting aside time to connect and focus on the relationship is vital. This doesn’t have to be a planned event like going out to dinner and a movie, but it does need to be distraction-free. Try taking a walk, scheduling a video chat, or sitting outside together for 15 min without your phones. Giving yourselves time to be with each other is crucial to nurturing your emotional connection.
- Seek Out Therapy: Therapy, whether individual therapy, or relationship therapy, can help give you skills to communicate better. Therapy can also help build your understanding of how you respond to certain situations and behaviors. As you increase your insight into your interaction patterns, you can start taking steps to interact differently.
IntraSpectrum Counseling is Chicago’s leading psychotherapy practice dedicated to the LGBTQ+ community, and we strive to provide the highest quality mental health care for multicultural, kink, polyamorous, and intersectional issues. For anyone needing affirming and validating support in their healing, please click here or email us at email@example.com.