Relationships

Articles on the applied positive psychology of relationships and communication based on the latest scientific insights.

What Are Social Skills & Are They Important? 23 Examples

Social skills examples

Are you someone who effortlessly navigates even the most testing of social situations without even breaking a sweat? If this sounds like you (or someone you envy), try to put your finger on exactly what contributes to your successful social-butterfly status. It’s probably not one single thing, but many things, […]

What Is Relationship Counseling? Tips for Helping Your Client’s Romantic Life

Relationship counseling

Relationship counseling is something we all hear about in a variety of contexts. Since relationship counseling is something that is often brought up when a relationship is already in distress, we might assume that it only functions to help couples who are experiencing serious problems. However, relationship counseling in all […]

Transference vs Countertransference in Therapy: 6 Examples

Countertransference

For ages, the term “transference” has been associated with pathology, enmeshed boundaries, and unhealthy therapy sessions. In reality, transference occurs within the context of relationships and represents a complex interplay of emotions, memories, and subconscious actions. While transference is a phenomenon seen in daily life, relationships, and interactions, we will […]

Your Definitive Nonverbal Communication Skills Guide

Nonverbal communication

In 1956, sociologist Erving Goffman wrote The Presentation of Self in Everyday Life. In it, he introduces the concept of dramaturgy, which compares everyday social interactions to actors' portrayals of characters, suggesting that one’s social interactions are analogous to a string of varying performances (Ritzer, 2021). Goffman’s work also included […]

How to Improve the Therapeutic Relationship Digitally

Digital Therapeutic Relationship

A significant shift has taken place in psychotherapy over recent years. Based on continuing research, it has become clear that the client and therapist are equal partners, and there must be a move toward a greater degree of mutuality (DeAngelis, 2019). Crucially, it is about the therapist committing to be […]

Attachment Styles in Childhood: 6 Tips to Raise Secure and Happy Children

Attachment styles

As a parent, have you ever wondered how your child’s attachment to you would affect them as an adult? Would they become a 'mama's boy' or a ‘cold fish?’ Attachment is a concept that is often underrated in the role it plays throughout childhood and beyond. It is crucial that […]

Pets & Mental Health: 15 Benefits of Emotional Support Animals

Pets and mental health

As I write, my dog lies beside me, snoring. He’s our companion, colleague, friend, and family member. Despite ignoring most commands and eating what he shouldn’t, he is deeply loved and the ideal listener. While often boisterous, when approached by a child or someone elderly or less able, he yields […]

Therapeutic Relationships in Counseling: 4 Phases Explained

Therapeutic Relationship

Psychotherapy has been described as a dance, “a synchronicity of the mind and body that occurs between therapist and client” (Schore, 2014, p. 388). Psychotherapy and counseling in general are arenas for authentic, intimate, and unique interactions between a client and a therapist. With over 200 different approaches to counseling, […]

Relationship Therapy Sessions: 45 Questions & Worksheets

Relationship therapy

We live in a fast-paced, consumer-oriented world in which we all too often either forget or fail to communicate effectively with our partners. Communication, as with all other aspects of our relationships, can be improved with practice and the right techniques (Robinson, 2012). Relationship counseling is challenging for the couple, […]

Support Groups for Mental Health: 53 Proven Benefits & Tools

Support Groups Mental Health

There is never a need to suffer in silence. Countless support groups are available that provide participants with encouragement, guidance, and camaraderie with others dealing with similar circumstances. Such groups are offered for a wide range of issues and may be facilitated by a clinician or layperson with shared experiences. […]

Social Problem-Solving Model: 12 Tools to Resolve Disputes

Social problem solving

Psychology has defined a “social problem” as anything that interferes with adaptive functioning in our social world (D’Zurilla, Nezu, & Maydeu-Olivares, 2004). Each of us faces such social problems. Despite our best intentions, conflicts with others – family members, neighbors, coworkers, etc. – will sometimes arise. What is the best […]

Harlow’s Monkey Experiments: 3 Findings About Attachment

Harlow expriment

Attachment theory refers to the idea that an infant is born with the biological need to have contact with their primary caregiver in the first few months of their life (Colman, 2001). When that need is met, the infant develops a secure attachment style; however, when that need is not […]

11 Healthy Discipline Strategies for Teaching & Inspiring Children

Discipline Strategies

Parenting comes with its own set of challenges, with new demands and stressors being placed on families in the forms of rapidly developing technology, easier access to information, and the looming presence of social media. Despite the challenges, increased access to information and technological tools have also made it easier […]

What Is Imago Therapy? Your Ultimate Guide and Toolkit

Imago Therapy

The morning after he received his divorce papers, Harville Hendrix was teaching a psychotherapy class when one of his students asked why relationships were so tricky (Hannah, Luquet, Hendrix, Hunt, & Mason, 2005). While admitting he had no clue, he committed to finding an answer for personal and professional reasons. […]

Marriage Counseling 101: Staying Happily Married Through Therapy

Marriage Counseling Therapy

Love. Relationships. Marriage. Such powerful words that evoke meaning and emotion, hopes and dreams, memories, and heartache. Marriage is a culturally recognized union involving a legal, economic, emotional, and physical partnership. But, like all intimate relationships, it can be, well... complicated. Marriage and other committed monogamous relationships involve imperfect, flawed […]

10 Best Assertive Communication Worksheets and Techniques

Assertive Communication

An assertive person makes a point clearly and calmly, with confidence. They accept that they may have more to learn and, therefore, fear neither challenge nor a difference in opinion. They consider their own needs as necessary, and while coming across as assured, they are definitely not aggressive. While communicating, […]

Technology & Mental Health: 10 Ways to Cultivate Healthy Habits

Technology & Mental Health

Can you imagine living without technology? I can’t. Technology is incorporated into every aspect of our lives. Most of us use technology to manage work tasks, online meetings, and email, but we also use technology to relax. For example, we binge-watch Netflix, play online games, and watch YouTube. We also […]

Marriage Counseling Toolkit: 30+ Best Questions and Worksheets

marriage counseling

While research confirms that marriage leads to increased life satisfaction, it is not without its challenges (Boyce, Wood, & Ferguson, 2016). Indeed, according to the American Psychological Association (2020), between 40 and 50 percent of marriages in the United States end in divorce. Nevertheless, there are many approaches, often relatively […]

20 Effective Communication Techniques to Start Using Today

communication techniques

Good communication can inspire, lead, influence, enhance, and fundamentally alter the lives of those around us. In its absence, beliefs, hopes, dreams, concerns, and passions can be lost to misunderstandings or washed away among the general hubbub of our daily lives. Half the world is composed of people who have […]

Your Complete Nonviolent Communication Guide [2020 Update]

Non violent communcation

Is the way that we communicate violent? If we define violence as causing harm to ourselves and others, then much of the way we communicate with each other may fit this characterization. All human beings have an innate capacity for compassion, but it is easy to become detached from this […]

Social Media Effects on Mental Health: 6 Life-Enhancing Tips

social media effects

In recent years, social media platforms, which allow individuals to connect virtually with others through a shared network, have grown in popularity at a formidable rate. Indeed, recent estimates indicate that around half of the global population, around 3.8 billion people, are using these networks (We Are Social, 2020). Social […]

Prosocial Behavior: 4 Thought-Provoking Research Findings

prosocial behavior

It was around midnight when a little dog darted out in front of Dr. Abigail Marsh’s car. She swerved to avoid it, sending her car into a spin across the freeway until it finally came to a stop in the fast lane. In a daze, she realized that someone was […]

What Is Assertive Communication? 10 Real-Life Examples

For many, speaking up for oneself is easier said than done. And while it may be uncomfortable, assertiveness is a communication style linked to a wide range of positive outcomes across multiple settings. This article will describe what it means to be assertive, why it is so important, and how […]

What Is Gaslighting? 20 Techniques to Stop Emotional Abuse

Gaslighting is emotional manipulation that leaves its victims confused and despondent as they question their sanity. This article will shed light on the gaslighting phenomenon, its consequences, and what to do about it. Ultimately, by exposing gaslighting tactics and equipping victims with valuable knowledge and resources, victims will be empowered […]

4 Conflict Resolution Worksheets for Your Practice

Psychotherapy is, at its heart, a process of guiding clients from conflict to resolution. As a therapist, counselor, or coach, your main job is to help clients identify the situations that are troubling them – the conflicts in their lives – and guide them through to win–win solutions. Mutually satisfying […]

Fostering Healthy Relationships: 60 Helpful Worksheets

Healthy relationships represent one of the most vital aspects of the human experience. Social relationships have been researched by psychologists for some time, with the results consistently showing a significant link between quality social relationships and improved health (Umberson & Karas Montez, 2010). Social development is integral to physiological and […]

Social Comparison: An Unavoidable Upward or Downward Spiral

Social comparison is a normal behavior strategy where we seek to better understand our status relating to ability, opinion, emotional reaction, and more, by comparing ourselves to other people. Social comparison can be useful because it provides us with a way to determine if we are ‘on track,’ but it […]

100+ Positive Parenting Tips, Skills and Techniques

To back up the positive parenting tips laid out in this article, all of the research has been discussed in our ‘What is Positive Parenting?’ piece, which provides a highly comprehensive compilation of evidence-based positive parenting techniques. If you’re looking for some more actionable positive parenting tips and techniques, including […]

49 Communication Activities, Exercises, and Games

If you’re looking for a resource that’s rich with ideas, tips, and exercises that will help you become a better communicator and improve your relationships with your family, friends, and coworkers, you’ve come to the right place! Read on to learn about how important communication is in a relationship and […]

8 Best Positive Parenting Books & Workbooks for Parents

In our two previous articles, we have included many helpful resources and positive parenting techniques. There are so many great resources and programs it can be hard to navigate through them all. We’ve done our best to put some of the highlights together for you. This is your go-to source for […]

What is Positive Parenting? A Look at the Research and Benefits

Most adults will become parents at some point in their lives (i.e., around 89.6% of the adult population worldwide; Ranjan, 2015). And while most of us strive to be great parents, we may also find ourselves confused and frustrated by the seemingly endless challenges of parenthood. As both parents of […]

Marriage Psychology and Therapy: The Science of Successful Relationships

Have you ever considered therapy for your marriage? Have you contemplated therapy before saying, "I do?" If you're reading this article chances are it's because you're married and struggling, thinking about getting married, or contemplating divorce. You're looking for answers to that age-old question: Can we make this work? You're […]

What is Active Constructive Responding?

How positive we are when our significant other shares with us something they express with enthusiasm and feel strongly about, it turns out, not only speaks volumes about our attachment styles but also, have a long-term impact on the quality and longevity of our relationships. These micro instances are often […]

18 Ways to Handle Emotional Blackmail (+ Examples & Quotes)

Emotional blackmail is a dysfunctional form of manipulation that people use to place demands and threaten victims to get what they want. The undertone of emotional blackmail is if you don’t do what I want when I want it, you will suffer. The term was introduced by Susan Forward, Ph.D., […]

10 Ways To Build Trust in a Relationship

Trust: You cannot have a healthy relationship without it. And yet, virtually all of us can bring to mind a scenario where our trust has been broken. But how do we develop trust in the first place? Can trust that's been broken be rebuilt? This article explores how to build […]

12 Examples of Positive Punishment & Negative Reinforcement

You might be thinking that “positive punishment” sounds like an oxymoron, after all, how can punishment be positive? Not many people "like" punishment, right? The disconnect in understanding this concept comes from the usage of the word “positive;” here at PositivePsychology.com, we generally use the term “positive” to refer to […]

What is Attachment Theory? Bowlby’s 4 Stages Explained

Is it all your mother’s fault? No matter what the “it” refers to, Sigmund Freud would have probably said yes to that question. However, we now know a lot more about psychology, parenting, and human relationships than Freud did. It's clear now that not every issue can be traced back […]

Codependency: What Are The Signs & How To Overcome It

Codependency refers to a psychological construct involving an unhealthy relationship that people might share with those closest to them. It was originally thought to involve families of substance abuse but has since grown to include other types of dysfunctional relationships. Read on to learn about what codependency is and how […]

Interpersonal Effectiveness: 9 Worksheets & Examples (+ PDF)

What is the most important skill a person can have? There is a myriad of skills that can be added to our repertoire, enhanced, and improved. There are thousands of courses, millions of books and articles, and countless tips and suggestions to improve our lives by cultivating a certain skill […]

What is Interpersonal Psychotherapy (IPT): A Case History

How often do you feel relationships are your biggest source of stress, sadness, and worry? If the answer is “often”, you may find a solution in the lesser-known but enduring practice of Interpersonal Psychotherapy. This brief, attachment-focused form of therapy aims to help patients address challenges in managing relationships and […]

21 Couples Therapy Worksheets, Techniques, & Activities (PDF)

What if I told you there was a magic recipe for making a relationship work? I’m sure you wouldn’t believe me, and for good reason! It’s easy to see how difficult relationships can be. If there was a totally effective method for happy, healthy relationships out there, surely someone would […]

Relationship Therapy: Enhancing Your Romantic Relationships

In today’s world, it may seem like a healthy and happy relationship is nearly impossible to build or maintain. With all of the added stress of working in the digital age, the ubiquitous interruptions of social media, and the breakneck pace at which our lives are now lived, cultivating a […]

7 Ways to Improve Communication in Relationships

We love connecting with other people because it makes us happy—good communication is the key when it comes to positive social interaction. But what does a healthy conversation look like? How can you avoid over-communicating? And how can you improve communication in a romantic relationship? Read on for a summary […]

The Positive Psychology Of Successful Relationships

Here’s the unhappy truth about long-term relationships: Over time, as couples get used to each other, they have less sex. There, I said it. Sad but true. In fact, as Sonja Lyubomirsky has noted, the amount of time two people have been together as a couple is a better predictor […]

How to Get Your Desired Behaviour Using Operant Conditioning

There are two types of reinforcement: positive and negative. You may have had moments where one of these forms of reinforcement worked well for you, while another stirred up feelings of shame or resentment. Have you ever rewarded a child with candy for good behavior? That is an example of […]

10 Traits That Make a Positive Community

What makes a positive community? Before answering that question, let's zoom out a little bit. Humans are made to live and work with others in a community where we can thrive. We are social beings that have evolved to exist within communities. The quality of a community is often dictated […]