Relationships are important to our well-being. How we relate to others, interact, initiate and maintain relationships is an integral part the day. When relationships are going well they can be fulfilling, enriching, rewarding and fruitful. However, for some people, relationships can feel difficult, it can feel harder to engage with others and take part in the social world. Sometimes the relationships we are already in start to suffer. Alternatively, it is the relationship we have with ourselves that can start to break down.

What are the signs?

When our relationships, (whether that is with others or ourselves), start to feel uncomfortable, it can affect us in a number of ways. For example, you may notice that you start to feel more anxious about attending social engagements, that you become more aware of how you are talking to others or become self conscious of your body language. You may find your avoid social interactions altogether. Alternatively, you may notice that you become less interested in engaging in relationships, that you feel more withdrawn and less motivated to get involved with others. You may find your self-esteem, confidence and energy levels have changed and that you are being more negative about how you think and feel about yourself.

When is it a problem?

Although it can be quite normal to feel a little socially anxious at times, to struggle with self esteem and confidence and to feel less motivated to interact with others, it can start to become more problematic. For example, you may become aware that it is holding you back from moving in the direction of what is important to you. It may be that you are not building or maintaining important relationships such as friendships or romantic relationships. You may notice it becoming a problem in your job or your activities or possibly, that you have stopped engaging in these types of activities altogether. When these types of problems start to become an obstacle to your life, it may be helpful to think about alternative ways of coping with and managing these difficulties.

What will help?

There are several therapies that are effective in supporting people connect more with themselves and others. To help you have better relationships. These include Cognitive Behaviour Therapy (CBT), Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT), and Cognitive Analytic Therapy (CAT)