Relationships - understanding patterns, difficulties and loss

Psychologist approaches to relationship patterns, difficulties and loss

In 1938, health researchers at Harvard University began collecting data on the health and well-being of 268 students. They continued to collect data over time to track what areas of life are of importance when it comes to health and happiness. One finding of significance has emerged from this research: having a sense of community and developing quality relationships appear to be vitally important when it comes to life satisfaction. Further information on this can be found if you search online for the Harvard study of adult development.

Relationships are, for many people, the area in life that is responsible for the most joy, the most pain, the most nostalgia, and the most worry. There are times when people pursue psychological therapy in order to understand how one ends up in recurring patterns/problems when it comes to romantic relationships and friendships.

Recurring and possibly problematic relationship patters can include:

  • choosing unhealthy partners
  • being passive and overly agreeable to unfair behaviour from others
  • turning people off with neediness, passive aggressiveness, control or insecurity
  • overcompensating for insecurities with overconfidence, perfectionism or aggression
  • staying with partners too long when it is clear that the relationship is unhealthy
  • leaving stable and healthy partners as a result of fear

Psychological therapy is great place to start this work, as it allows you to speak to professionals who’s bread and butter work is understanding how the past informs our present and future experiences.

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The Harvard Study of Adult Development. http://www.adultdevelopmentstu...

Young, Klosko, & Weishar. (2003). Schema Therapy: A Pracitioner’s Guide. The Guildford Press.