9 Relationship Tools
9 Relationship Tools For Clients
Relationship issues inevitably come up in therapy.
Here’s how you can be prepared and help your
clients with this complicated topic.
Relationship issues inevitably come up in therapy. Here’s how you can be prepared and help your clients with this complicated topic.
Relationship struggles are a popular topic, and often a reason clients seek out therapy.
They may be dealing with a relationship problem with their significant other, or may be frustrated with their dating history.
Even when clients don’t seek therapy directly relating to relationships, this frequently comes up as it overlaps with so many other issues like trauma, anxiety, and depression.
When this does present itself in therapy, it can be helpful to have some tools to use in session or assign as homework.
Sometimes even the therapist needs to brush up on the latest research and recommendations. Here are some helpful relationship tools for you and your clients.
- The Gottman Institute YouTube Channel https://www.youtube.com/user/TheGottmanInstitute The Gottman Method is a popular form of couple’s therapy. It’s an entire treatment program that therapists can train in. However, it also offers many self-help tools for clients. One of the most helpful free tools Gottman offers is its YouTube Channel. It has short videos that review numerous relationship topics, including areas like:
- Understanding conflict in relationships
- Recognizing destructive patterns
- Investing in relationships
- Parenting as a couple
- Increasing connection
- Hold Me Tight, the Book https://iceeft.com/what-is-hold-me-tight/ Hold Me Tight is a well-known relationship book by Sue Johnson, based on the research of Emotionally Focused Couple Therapy, or EFT. There are also Hold Me Tight workshops, related books and programs, and professional training for therapists to provide EFT. This can be a helpful option for therapists as well as clients.
- Gottman Card Decks https://www.gottman.com/couples/apps/ Gottman therapy uses some common themes to help couples connect and have healthier relationships.They often use card decks that offer open-ended questions, questions for date night, feeling cards, and more. You can order the actual printed card decks, or download the app on your phone. The card decks also come as part of the Gottman Couple’s Retreat Game, that essentially prompts partners to work through the card decks.
To Learn More on How to Start & Grow Your Solo Practice, Join Our Therapist Network!
- The Seven Principles for Making a Marriage Work https://www.gottman.com/product/the-seven-principles-for-making-marriage-work/This is another Gottman tool, but definitely worth mentioning. This book by John Gottman takes all of the Gottman research, collected over decades, and puts it into a usable format for couples. Each chapter walks through a concept that’s shown to make marriages happier and longer-lasting, and teaches them to the readers. There are also multiple activities that couples can actually complete together to improve their relationships. There are several other related Gottman books and tools.
- The Lasting App https://getlasting.com/There’s a comprehensive phone app called Lasting, not by the Gottmans, but based on Gottman research and related attachment theory.It allows both partners to download the app and work through short classes in tandem. As they learn each relationship concept, they also have a chance to share more details about themselves and learn about each other.This could also be utilized in conjunction with therapy sessions. The Lasting App covers multiple topics, but some include:
- Family Culture
- Premarital Counseling
- The Book Attached https://www.attachedthebook.com/wordpress/One of the most popular and readable books about attachment theory is called Attached: The New Science of Adult Attachment and How it can Help you Find—and Keep—Love, by Amir Levine and Rachel Heller. This book takes traditional attachment theory, covering areas like secure, avoidant and anxious attachment, and makes it applicable to dating, choosing a partner, and current relationships. It helps single clients avoid choosing a less compatible partner, and helps those within a relationship understand and manage attachment struggles.It’s a must-have tool for many therapists.
- 365 Questions for Couples Bookhttps://www.amazon.com/365-Questions-Couples-Michael-Beck/dp/158062068XThis book is simple, but very helpful for couples. Since one issue many people struggle with in relationships is communication, the book can be an invaluable tool. It offers prompting questions, in a less-threatening way (since they’re out of a book and not directly from each other), for couples to start talking, understand each other better, and even have fun together.Example questions include:
- Is there a place you consider very meaningful?
- What is your favorite memory of high school?
- What were holidays like for you as a child?
- The 5 Love Languages https://www.5lovelanguages.com/Many have already heard of the five love languages. These were developed by Gary Chapman and have been adapted into various forms over the years.They are expanded upon in books, on the website and in a handy phone app. This theory holds that by better understanding your own and your partner’s preferred love languages, you can improve your relationship.The love languages include:
- Physical Touch
- Acts of Service
- Quality Time
- Words of Affirmation
- Receiving Gifts
- The I Do Podcast https://idopodcast.com/The hosts of this podcast interview relationship experts and cover a multitude of popular topics about marriage. Recent topics have included strengthening intimacy, co-parenting, and managing stress and anxiety during COVID-19.Helping clients with relationship issues can be complicated, and can complicate other areas of therapy.Fortunately, there are well-researched and tested tools that can help you and those you serve along the way.