Relationship Difficulties

Relationship Difficulties and Interpersonal Effectiveness

As human beings, we feel the need to be connected to others to fulfill our social and emotional needs. Social interaction is such an important component of our lives as we form relationships in each of the unique areas of our lives, such as personal and professional relationships.  Relationships can also vary in complexity and almost all relationships require effort in order to maintain a healthy balance for all individuals involved. It it not uncommon for interpersonal conflict to arise. When relationships have been impaired, feelings of worthlessness, isolation, sadness, and misunderstanding may appear. Individual relationship therapy can be explored to help navigate changes in our relationships and unpack our internal feelings that may be interfering with our interactions with others.

Individual relationship therapy may be helpful in:

  • Addressing underlying issues that may be unresolved within a relationship
  • Improving communication skills and ways to interact with others
  • Learning new ways to address interpersonal conflict and problem solve collaboratively
  • Rebuilding connection with others
  • Establishing healthy boundaries
  • Improving self-esteem and purpose in relationships

It is not uncommon for our emotions to interfere with our relationships. Learning interpersonal skills can help strengthen existing relationships, build new ones, or end those that are unhealthy. Interpersonal effectiveness skills can teach strategies for asking for our needs, for saying no, and for managing interpersonal conflict skillfully. Additional skills for relationships include skills for doing these things:

  • Not letting problems or emotional wounds build up
  • Actively working to address problems or concerns
  • Repairing relationships (or ending them if necessary)
  • Reducing avoidance behaviour to resolve conflicts in a timely manner

If we leave relationship problems unattended the create intense stress potentially resulting in emotional vulnerability and reactivity. By developing effective interpersonal skills, we can learn to be assertive with our wishes for our relationships through clear communication while also maintaining our self-respect to preserve our relationship with ourselves.

Therapy can help teach effective interpersonal skills to embrace conflict in a healthy way to address relationship concerns as they arise. Individual therapy can also bring about positive reflection on how we interact and socialize with others, and what needs we may have from our relationships. By working through some of these concerns in therapy there is an opportunity to improve overall relationship satisfaction that may also impact an individual’s mental health and well-being.


Linehan, M. (2015). DBT Skills Training Manual. The Guilford Press. 2nd Ed.