Renewing your Relationship

David Olsen, Ph.D., LCSW and Erin Belanger, LMHC

Relationships, in a variety of ways, are central to human life. We are born into relationships, for better or worse. We grow up learning about our world and how to navigate, sometimes fear, connections with others based on those early relationships. We eventually make our way into our own intimate partner relationships and attempt to recreate, or maybe repair, those early relationships. Unfortunately, we too often fail at our attempts to create lasting and rewarding connections with others and we spend years trying the same tricks with new people to no avail. The statistics on marriage are depressing at best.

At their best, relationships bring us peace, joy, contentment, passion, and depth of experience. Our connections can make our ride here more enjoyable and more meaningful. At their worst, those same relationships can bring deep pain, anger, grief, and hopelessness. We always start, though, with the “best” in our new relationships. We put our best face forward, we focus on listening to and taking care of each other… and then, like everything new, our relationships begin to fade with the passage of time. They can slowly move toward “worst” as they are subject to tests of reality such as job losses, children, the death of family and friends, and the everyday routine of making life work. As time moves forward, our lives are challenged with more and more things to manage and more losses and changes to absorb. In the background, our most important relationships can suffer.

If your relationship has been moving toward or stuck on the “worst” side, or if you want to prevent the slide away from “best”, then Renewing Your Relationship: 5 Necessary Steps will be helpful for you and your partner. The book focuses on detailing the basics necessary for every relationship to survive the storms and doldrums of life and grow in vitality and health. First and foremost, we begin with an exploration of the fact that it isn’t actually your partner that you want to change. (No, really, it isn’t…) In fact, all of the work in the book is focused on helping the reader to more clearly and deeply understand what they bring into relationships, where it comes from, and how it plays out with their partner.

From there, we go on to play with ways that life can distort and warp our vision, making it near impossible at times to know who our partner is and what our contributions to the relationship are. We also work to help the reader identify the themes passed on to them by their families that are contributing to relationship patterns today. Finally, the book concludes with tools that each person needs to create and maintain a healthy and vital relationship.

This book is most helpful when paired with a couples therapist who can break down the steps and personalize the model to each partner. If you would like to purchase a book and set up sessions with a couples therapist, call us at 518-374-3514 and speak with Debbie or Toby. You can also purchase the book on by searching for “Renewing Your Relationship: 5 Necessary Steps”.