Building Strength for Life and Love™


How do I know if I have a healthy relationship?

Healthy relationships don’t just happen, they are built and both partners must work on improving themselves first as well as the partnership. Here are 10 important characteristics of a healthy relationship:

  1. Time Together – The very definition of a relationship: “the way in which two people are connected.” Go on dates, video chat, and make each other a priority with time.
  2. Time Apart – It’s also healthy to have separate interests, friendships, and hobbies too. You’ll both grow as individuals and appreciate each other more.
  3. Boundaries – Give each other privacy and personal space, and know where you end and your partner begins.
  4. Safety – Both partners feel safe without any physical, verbal, sexual or emotional abuse.
  5. Trust – Trust is a key component, and you must be vulnerable. Time to build will vary, but you should be able to rely on each other’s loyalty and honesty overall.
  6. Communication – Open and honest communication while sharing your wants, needs, and feelings – even when they differ from your partner’s.
  7. Managing Conflict – Every couple experiences conflict from time to time, and the key to managing your differences is connecting without insults, name-calling, sarcasm, and other types of negativity.
  8. Teamwork – A couple in a healthy relationship views themselves as a team, and teams work together – they don’t compete against each other.
  9. Intimacy -Mutually satisfying sexual relationship and the ability to share thoughts, feelings, and needs with one another. Physical and emotional intimacy maintains the connection.
  10. Commitment – Maintain your commitment with boundaries between your relationship and the outside world. Work to block any “exits” in the relationship with an effort to thrive.

When you hit a roadblock, you work on rebuilding that connection again, which may include seeking therapy or online relationship advice.

Written by: Norene Gonsiewski, LCSW

I really want to do this, we need this, but I need to ask my spouse. What if he/she won’t come?

  • In my experience, even if only one person begins working on the relationship, significant improvements will be experienced. Your own self-growth and development work  is a huge part of the work that needs to be done to have a healthy relationship. As you increase your self-awareness, develop a thorough understanding of all your parts and learn to embrace them and use them with more intention, you will better understand where you reactivity comes from, identify your triggers, and learn how how to successfully get your needs met.
  • If you know that this is something that you think would benefit your relationship, I recommend we book you in for an initial consultation. We can begin working on enhancing your ability to deal with and positively impact the areas you are having challenges in. If your spouse wants to join later he/she can, but you will still benefit from developing tools and awareness for creating positive change on your own in the meantime.

How much does it cost?

  • $120 per 60 minute individual session
  • $150 for a 90 minute couples session

How can I find the time and money for counselling?

  • It is true that counselling requires an investment of both time and money. There are the actual fees for counselling, the coordination of two people’s schedules with that of the therapist, and possibly even the need to arrange childcare. All of this can seem to add a barrier that is insurmountable to taking action.
  • Ask yourself the following questions to determine whether this investment is worth it for you. How much time and energy do your conflicts take out of your life, your work, and your family? How much more time and energy might you have for yourself, your relationship, your family, your career, and your dreams if you could resolve this conflict? What are the potential costs if this issue continues or even gets worse? (Think of both the financial and emotional costs of divorce for you and your family if you are having relationship issues. If you are dealing with stress, anxiety or depression, consider the potential cost of lost wages or even a lost job that might result from inability to cope at work.)
  • Counselling helps you put more time and energy into positive connection with yourself and your significant other, allowing you to more effectively and efficiently manage issues. The enhanced energy, confidence and well-being is guaranteed to have a positive impact on the amount of time, energy and money you have available for creating the life you desire.
  • Generally speaking, most individuals find weekly sessions beneficial, while most couples find that every two weeks works best so they have time to practice what they learn at home.

How do I know if things are “bad enough” to need therapy?

  • A key reason that individuals and couples put off therapy is that they aren’t sure if they really need it. In the moment of the conflict or “flare up” of stress, anxiety or depression it feels urgent to get help. Once this subsides, it no longer feels urgent. Unfortunately, the inability to work through it is still there, so it is certain to happen again. Repeating these cycles without developing the ability to work through them will entrench the problem and make it even more difficult to resolve.
  • By coming to counselling you increase your ability to handle it more effectively the next time, thus weakening rather than reinforcing the cycle. Counselling helps you to face the issues head on, rather than avoiding them, thus ensuring they don’t become even bigger problems later on.
  • Couples and individuals who come in when things are mostly ok to address specific issues in their lives or relationships often experience a great deal of benefit from short-term, issue-specific support.
  • Those who wait until a big problem happens, like an affair, find that the repair is harder and more painful, requiring at least 6 months of counselling.
  • Think of counselling like sunscreen – not only does it protect you from immediate sunburn, it dramatically reduces the long term risk of skin cancer. While your relationship will survive the occasional “burn”, constant re-injury can lead to irreversible damage.
  • The bottom line – When thinking about counselling for yourself or your relationship sooner is always better than later. This is definitely an area where a few simple tools and a bit of awareness early on can save you the time, money and huge amounts of stress that come from avoiding dealing with issues head on.

If you have other questions that have not been answered, contact us and Grace can answer them in her initial free consultation.