In my view almost all problems are related somehow to our relationships with people around us, whether it is our partner, a parent, a sibling, a friend or a colleague.
I start with a focus on the present, looking for a potential for change in the situation as it exists now. However when past experiences in previous situations and relationships in our lives interfere with our present relationships and coping skills, and unwanted patterns seem to repeat themselves, it may be useful to extend the focus to earlier parts of our lives and to have a closer look at which past issues we bring into our present relationship(s).
The focus is on what the strengths are in a relationship. Can we move away from the negative, from looking at the other as the enemy and instead move to taking better care of each other. Past hurt may have left one or both parties in a relationship with a sense of betrayal and lack of control over their lives. It is much easier to give when you receive in return, but you can’t keep waiting for the other to take the first step. Both parties in a relationship will have to take responsibility for the health and growth of their relationship. An important goal is to learn to listen and communicate with each other, to set boundaries but be willing to keep an open mind and look at one’s own role in finding a solution.