Role of Therapy in Improving Interpersonal Relationships - by Faiza Zameer

Updated: Feb 26

Before we go deeper into the topic, we are going to discuss the first two important things, i.e., therapy and interpersonal relationships, to understand the topic. Therapy means getting help to cure any type of physical, mental, or emotional discomfort or problem. There are various types of therapies available to cure these various problems. As we are going to talk about the impact of therapy on interpersonal relationships, it means we will talk about improvement in interpersonal relationships due to psychological or psychiatric therapy.

Let us first discuss interpersonal relationships. Interpersonal relationships are the connections we have with different people in our lives. They may be:

  1. Family and relatives

  2. Neighbors and friends

  3. Classmates or colleagues

  4. People whom we meet daily, e.g., servants, shopkeepers, etc.

With each of these various relationships, our attitudes and behavior are different. Even amongst our close family, i.e., parents, siblings, maternal and paternal grandparents, uncles and aunts and cousins, who are the closest and dearest to us, sometimes our relationship is not smooth. There can be various reasons for a strained interpersonal relationship with our family members, which may be some situation or certain type of behavior from them directed towards us or from our side.

The next group is that of neighbors and friends who are different from kith and kin. They are not close to us, so they are not much concerned with our difficulties and problems except for those few friends whom we can count on our fingertips and call them besties or soul mates, some of whom are not told anything but they can understand or guess what we are going through. At times our relationship with them can go sour depending on the behavior of either person in the relationship.

When we talk about classmates or colleagues, these are the people with whom we come across daily for at least three to eight hours. When we are young, we rarely develop any serious misunderstandings with our schoolmates, and our quarrels are just momentary. They do not last long, somewhat similar is the case of college mates, annoyed in a minute and clear and clean hearted the next moment. And some of them may become long-lasting lifetime friends who at times prove to be closer than kith and kin due to their ability to understand us without any explanation. We may sometimes develop misunderstandings with them also but never is there enmity.

The last group is of those people with whom we meet daily, but they are not to be discussed so much because they are strangers no matter how much we meet them or converse with them,

We have discussed the various relationships briefly, and there is no need to go into detail over here. But it is very important to understand that interpersonal relationships and emotional health are interlinked as the people we surround ourselves with may either give us joy, support, comfort, or they may be the reason behind our misery and discomfort.

Relationships require a lot of effort and hard work. No relationship is perfect. Conflicts and misunderstandings are bound to occur. It is essential to understand the reason misunderstandings develop in interpersonal relationships.

Misunderstandings or conflicts can occur when people are going through some difficult times in life. For instance, some situations are mentioned below, in which people make seek therapy:

  1. Facing a significant crisis

  2. Dealing with an extended or prolonged period of anxiety or depression

  3. Coping with a major life transition

  4. Dealing with complicated family dynamics

  5. Grappling with problems in a relationship at the workplace or home

  6. Trying to manage any dietetic problem i.e. body shaming

  7. Want to make changes for better mental and emotional health.

Besides these, there can be more issues that can lead to a need for psychological or psychiatric intervention. No matter what the reason may be behind a conflict or misunderstanding in an interpersonal relationship, opting for therapy proves to be beneficial in several ways. The therapies which are available to overcome misunderstandings, conflicts, and other issues in interpersonal relationships are:

  1. Talk therapy

  2. Medicinal therapy

  3. Both together

At times both types of therapies have to be used to help an individual. There are many places where therapies help in interpersonal relationships:

  1. Talk therapy

  2. Medicinal therapy

  3. Both together

The benefits of counseling for students are immense. Students are supposed to maintain excellent grades, interact with peers, and be involved in co-curricular activities, all this causes pressure and they have to face challenges which can result in the need for counseling.

Counseling leads to improvement in communication, peer group facilitation, improvement in attention span, and academic achievement. Support in emotional exploration and reduction in anger and behavioral outbursts.

With high divorce rates and incidents of domestic violence causing havoc on society, there is a dire need for counseling or therapy. It can help to overcome the marital problems by shifting blame to a broader co-operation and co-created view. It helps in improving the relationship by reducing the occurrence of dysfunctional interaction.

It benefits in the area of emotional avoidance by speaking to flourish intimacy, avoid conflict, and strengthen the marriage bond. Therapy helps to improve the feeling of wellbeing in the couples themselves and people around them, including children.

Group counseling at times can be more efficacious and successful than individual counseling because it helps to improve communication and social skills. It provides a support network, social encouragement, reliability, and healthy behavior improve as a result of group counseling, Group counseling supports in enhancing perspective due to diversity in group dynamics. Group therapy provides a safe space to develop assertiveness and helps to develop appropriate boundaries through self-insight.

Families are unique units of emotions where parents' and children’s wellbeing is interwoven. Family members support each other in struggle, and proper communication leads to improvement in struggle and familial interaction.

Emotions can be guided to avoid ill feelings, and mental health problems can be overcome. Empathy can be increased to help families flourish. Therapy also helps to reduce conflict between family members and develop anger management skills.

There are plentiful benefits of counseling or therapy at work. Self-improvement is profitable, especially when working in organizations. It can be achieved through mindfulness and wellbeing. Career counseling encourages personal development and improves group dynamics and teamwork.

Career counseling results in the improvement of self-efficacy and a sense of agency. Improving employee connection in the workplace results in overall wellbeing. It can also reset to resolve interpersonal workplace conflicts.

The foundation of interpersonal relationships is mutual respect, trust, and loyalty, and it is necessary for our mental and emotional health. At times in interpersonal relationships, conflict and misunderstandings arise. It is important to understand that clear and effective communication is the key to good interpersonal relationships. Therapy will assist in exploring thoughts and feelings. It will make developing coping strategies, practicing self-reflection, and awareness easier, eventually leading to improved understanding and clear communication in a relationship. People should go for relationship therapy as soon as misunderstandings and conflicts arise rather than going at a later stage because it’s easier to resolve misunderstandings and conflicts in earlier stages and save the relationship than at later stages. In the end, it can be said with safety that counseling or therapy results in overall better interrelationship all around.

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