Four Steps to Repair Your Relationship With the H-E-A-L Technique

Real, lasting relationships are NOT what you see in romance movies. There is a reason the movies only last a few hours—a real relationship cannot stay at that gushy, melt-your-heart level for much longer than that. A true relationship is based on the ordinary. The relationships that are built to withstand the everyday, routine life are the ones that are the strongest. The H-E-A-L technique can help repair a relationship as well as build and maintain relationships that you want to work every day of your life.

Step1. Hear—It has been said to that you should listen twice as much as you speak, but this only works if you are really trying to hear what your partner is saying. Try to fully understand your partner’s state, which includes body language and facial expression in addition to the words being said. Be present in conversations, and make sure you are communicating. Lack of communication is a huge relationship killer.

Step 2. Empathize—Not all problems need solutions. Sometimes it is best to just be there for someone and let them know you understand where they are coming from. Giving a solution can sometimes come across as judgment, according to Dr. Greenberg of Psychology Today. Really try to put yourself in your partner’s place. If you can understand why he or she would feel a certain way, your response to those feelings will likely be more positive.

Step 3. Act—Do not get caught in a negative cycle. If there is problem, address it. Take action to discuss and fix any issues that are troublesome. If you are constantly fighting about the same thing, there hasn’t been any resolution. It is important to remember that couples fight. You don’t always have to agree or see eye to eye on every issue to be in love. However, it is important to be respectful and understanding of each person being unique and having their own ideas. No one is perfect. Be accepting of that in others and yourself and always work to make yourself and the relationship better.

Step 4. Love—Love, love, love, and love some more. Make special effort to help your partner feel loved. Do not take one another for granted and never forget the special moments from your relationship. Take time to reminisce. Talk about the good qualities and feelings that make that person special to you.

Remember that relationships take work. There are some moments that may feel like the love story on TV, but those are the rarity. You have to choose to put in the effort to find happiness in the ordinary, but the good part, it is worth it.

Dr. Parisi and his staff of marriage and family therapists in Chicago offer affordable counseling that can help you use the H-E-A-L technique as well as many others (See this post to avoid relationship problems) to make a healthy and lasting relationship.

Greenberg, M. (2013). Four steps to relationship repair with the H-E-A-L technique. Psychology Today.

What is Solution-Focused Couples Therapy?

Often times, couples seek professional counseling help far too late after having experienced years of tension and built-up resentment.  In order to avoid becoming a statistic in the nation’s soaring divorce rate, it is important to select a mental health professional who practices Solution-Focused Couples Counseling.

Solution-Focused Couples Counseling, as the name implies, is geared toward helping couples devise practical solutions for their problems focused on meeting each other’s needs. The primary assumption of Solution-Focused Couples Counseling is that relationships succeed or fail to the extent that couples meet each other’s needs and place their partner’s need on par with their own needs.

Solution-Focused Couples Counseling is a type of psychotherapy that is active, goal-driven, and focused on the here-and-now.  The central question posed by a mental health professional who practices this type of psychotherapy is “What would you be doing differently if you were doing a better job of meeting this particular need of your partner?”

There are a variety of exercises employed in the practice of Solution-Focused Couples Counseling.  One type of exercise has the couple come up with a list of what they perceive one another’s needs are. This allows for honest communication about needs and a chance to dispel misunderstandings.  Another exercise allows the couple to define specifically, in behavioral terms, what they can do to meet each other’s needs. Over the course of therapy, the couple reports back to the mental health professional how they are doing with trying out new sets of behaviors.  The emphasis is on having the couple offer each other positive feedback to try to build in more goodwill, encouragement, and engender optimism that the relationship can succeed.

Overcoming Relationship Problems

Problems can strike at relationships any time. Whether the couple is celebrating many years together or just getting to know one another, there is no immunity to such issues.  How can you avoid having these problems strike your relationships? There are several things to keep in mind during any kind of relationship problem; a few of them are listed below.  Although each relationship is unique, these tips are universal.

  1. Communicate – sometimes when couples are experiencing problems related to their feelings for each other, they retreat into themselves rather than discussing their thoughts, feelings, concerns, and emotions. Unfortunately, this may make the problem worse.  By communicating with the one you love, you may find that the problems are resolved more easily than you had anticipated. You may find that the issues you thought were a major division between you and your partner was simply a misunderstanding that had gotten blown out of proportion.
  2. The Blame Game – relationship problems often turn into a never-ending round of the blame game in which each of you blame the other.  It is important to resist this game; it does not help solve your problems and often deepens the chasm between you.  Communicate, as emphasized above, rather than playing this game.
  3. Airing Dirty Laundry – for many couples, relationship problems lead to talking to family members and friends about intensely personal, relationship issues. This can be a huge mistake.  It is important to remember that this does not help solve your problems – and your gripes may make their way back to your partner and cause tremendous conflict and resentment.

Although you, like everyone else in the world, are susceptible to relationship problems, you can overcome them. (See here for more tips on how to heal your relationship.)

Just remember to communicate, avoid playing the blame game, and resist the temptation to air your dirty laundry in a way that may intensify conflict between you and your partner.

If you employ these simple tips – as well as heeding any other good relationship advice you may have heard from people you trust – you should find that your relationship problems are resolved.  Others may crop up in the future, but you will have the tools to handle them.