Elena Darmenko

Expat Psychotherapist

Relationship Issues Therapy.
Do Different Types of Relationships Need Different Therapy?

Enhancing different types of relationships abroad
Relationships play a significant role of our lives. They may become a source of happiness, support, and self-confidence. However, it doesn't mean they are easy. So, whether you have problems or troubles in your relationship, or just want to understand each other better, taking a relationship issues therapy can really make difference.

Saying "relationships are hard" has now become a popular cliché. But it's also true. Even when people get along really well, stress and daily life can cause conflicts that seem difficult or even impossible to resolve. And when you decide to live an oversees life, your problems may become double.

Types of Relationship Issues I work with

Relationships, whether romantic or platonic, family, friendly or professional, can bring us a great deal of fulfilment. Building and maintaining strong and healthy connections with your loved ones, family members, friends, as well as your colleagues, allow you to live a healthy and full life, particularly if you live far away from home.

From my practice I know that different types of relationships require different types of counseling.

For instance, I provide a premarital counseling for intercultural couples to prepare them to enter a long-term commitment. We focus on helping people to develop a strong and healthy relationship before marriage and identify the potential problems that might lead to issues down the road. We're also discuss how they are going to communicate with members of their extended families, their family roles, parenting choices, values, and beliefs, and what's they find the most important – how they can create their own family culture, which might become a mix of theirs.

I also give sessions on professional adaptation, which is part of a career counseling, but includes relationships therapy as well. It's so important for an expat professional to build healthy relationships with their colleagues, whether locals or international, to be productive, effective, and highly motivated at work. This type of counseling includes approaches from a cross-cultural psychology and is one of the most culturally sensitive ones.

What You Can Expect

During our sessions I always make a focus on your history depending on the type of relationship you wish to improve. So, be prepared to answer my questions about your family, cultural background, your relationships before your current one. If you decide to try a couple and/or family therapy, I'll spend some time talking with each member separately to know each one's views on the current situation.

For relationship issues counseling I use Cognitive Behavior Therapy as the main approach, and some elements of cross-cultural training, which, when are being used together, give the best results much sooner than traditional talk-therapy.

How You Can Make the Most From the Relationship Issues Therapy – What I Expect from You

The effectiveness of every therapy depends not only on the skills and experience of the counselor but also on the willingness of a client.

So, there are some important things you can do to make the most from a counseling process.

First, be honest. It sounds easy and natural, but sometimes people lie because they don't want to be negatively judged. Remember, I will never judge you – whatever happens, I stay on your side. So, be honest, even when it's hard.

Prepare yourself for leaving your comfort zone. Relationship therapy can often cause discomfort, whether you're discovering new truths about yourself and your relations with a partner, or you're trying to dive deeper in a new business culture to improve relationships with your colleagues.

Be ready to challenge yourself. Living in a new country is a challenging experience itself but trying to do some usual things in a different way will make a significant impact on your relationships, both personal and professional.

Do your homework. Any therapy happens as much in sessions as between them. You will have assignments to practice between appointments. This may refer to trying some new patterns of communication and interaction, or self-reflection and journaling, depending on your case. It will require your time and efforts but remember that it's worth it.

Relationship issues counselling is an option - whether you're a couple or an individual, whether you need to improve your personal or professional relationships. You can discuss your concerns and your needs in a free and non-judgmental space and explore what you expect from yourself and others. All relationships can be improved by counselling, even if there's not a clear problem. But the relationship issues counseling will help you learn more about yourself, your partner or your colleagues and friends. You can gain a better understanding of each other's needs, while also receiving the support and guidance needed to enhance the relationship.