Recently, things that have gone well for me and my business have tended to have happened as a result of an existing great professional relationship, or by developing a great relationship.
I do my very best to develop good quality relationships with the guests on my podcasts, with people I meet professionally at events, as well as with my clients and students. These strong relationships often lead to opportunities and help to develop my business, but primarily it feels good and healthy to lead life in a way that is supported by quality relationships.
As well as opportunities to teach overseas, lecture at conferences, get major client referrals, I managed to secure a major international speaker for my peer support group which he could have turned down politely, it was not a paid gig, and not to hundreds of people, and his schedule has seen him present on the QE2, at Sydney Opera House and to packed corporate audiences…. Upon thanking him so much for speaking to my group here in Bournemouth, he replied that he was honoured to do so and thanked ME for the time, energy and effort I had invested in him at an earlier date on a course of mine he had attended. It was lovely to hear that and really reinforced the importance of investing myself in others as much as possible.
Just about every hypnotherapist is taught to develop effective relationships with their clients. We learn the research backed notion of developing a working alliance and how it is important in order to advance therapeutic outcomes. Evidence suggests that sometimes the therapeutic alliance can create wonderful therapeutic outcomes in the absence of quality therapy!
A therapeutic relationship is a wonderful thing, it is a place where trust exists, ideas are shared, support is shared and the very notion of it being a ‘working alliance’ (Bordin, 1979) indicates the importance of us needing to work at relationships rather than just having expectation about them.
I often talk to my students about the importance of being able to tell the difference between an effective therapeutic alliance and having rapport. Rapport tends to focus more upon people liking each other, finding common ground and so on, whereas with a working alliance trust is created and there is an agreement on tasks and goals and the relationship grows out of respect and credibility. There are parallels with this in personal relationships too. Typically, people want relationships with others who they like, have common ground with and do not necessarily want to work hard to develop the relationship and evidence would suggest that this is actually not the right way to go about things.
Do you remember that very popular cartoon strip entitled “Love Is”? They were written by Kim Grove who published several books of these cartoons and they featured in our newspaper back in the day too. Some of the cartoons were funny, some sentimental, some poignant, some that would be agreed upon in our house and some that would divide opinion. If you google “Love is cartoon” you’ll see some of the many, many hundreds of different Love Is cartoons like this one:
Most people believe that relationships need to be built upon a foundation of love and romance that turns into a fairy tale of more love as depicted in many of the Love Is cartoons. Yet the research about having a lasting, happy relationship tends to be far more sober and actually quite unromantic. Likewise, in therapy, the effective relationship is not actually always about liking each other, but about having mutual respect and working together to create the best outcomes.
When looking for love, just seeking out someone who you share interests with, as is a common feature of internet dating, for example, is flawed. People often assume that if they have plenty in common, and share numerous similarities, that there will not be problems, however, all relationships have issues and problems at some stage. Being able to work through them is important, being able to be resilient, learn from issues and grow out of them is what makes the effective, long-lasting relationship, not lazily thinking about having perfection and romance from the very beginning and expecting it to last forever.
Therefore, healthy reactions and responses to arguments and issues are important. Having fights is actually ok, it is usual and perfectly natural. If you are not fighting at all, the likelihood is that you are probably not communicating at all. (Gottman, 2014, What Predicts Divorce)
If you think about the therapeutic relationship of therapist and patient, you can draw some parallels with arranged marriages. A therapist and a client need to work on developing the relationship so it benefits them and they derive the best possible outcomes. Likewise when people enter into an arranged marriage, whilst they may be harder in the beginning, after a few years they are as successful and often more successful than marriages founded upon romantic ideals of love. Research supports this.
Arranged marriages are not being advocated here, just the underlying notion that you have to work at it in order for it to be successful. People in arranged marriages do not have any illusions of romance which can and do often lead to great disappointment. They know that in order for the marriage to be successful, they need to work at it and develop it accordingly. They have a similar attitude that therapists need when they are working with clients, they adopt a mindset and work hard to make it effective. Therapists do not give up on their clients if they do not immediately hit it off with their clients. We reflect, we take it to supervision, we persevere, we help, we support, we serve and things develop as a result.
How we reflect upon the challenges is important and how we then respond to them. If we simply believe that each argument or issue is a disaster and it is awful, then what do you think happens to that relationship[. Yet when the attitude is one whereby arguments and issues are challenges that were overcome and that resulted in the relationship being stronger….. That attitude helps create a stronger relationship.
When you enter any communication, you have an opportunity to develop a relationship that can nurture and support you both in a wide number of ways. Therefore, adopt a mindset that ensures you seek to serve those you communicate with, do all you can to ensure you remain present and focused while communicating and demonstrate an appropriate level of bold enthusiasm in the communication then I think you’ll develop quality relationships much more easily. If you also do stuff like smiling more, take a genuine interest in those you communicate with and actively listen (where you fully listen without thinking about what you are going to say next) then you’ll really start finding your relationships are far more effective and will lead to a much more rewarding life.
There is much more that builds personal and professional relationships too and I have written about many of them before, do go and have a read of these articles that illustrate many different ways to use self-hypnosis to develop your relationships:
a) Metaphorically Enhancing Your Relationship.
b) Learning To Listen Hypnotically To Enhance Your Relationships.
c) Using Self-Hypnosis To Understand People Better.
d) Enhance Your Relationships With Hypnotic Letter Writing.
Have some of themes here resonated with you? Then have a read of these pages:
1. Do you need help or support in a particular area of your life?
Coaching with Adam Eason Or Hypnotherapy with Adam Eason
2. Would you like a satisfying and meaningful career as a hypnotherapist helping others? Are you a hypnotherapist looking for stimulating and career enhancing continued professional development and advanced studies?
Adam Eason’s Anglo European training college.
3. Are you a hypnotherapist looking to fulfil your ambitions or advance your career?
Hypnotherapist Mentoring with Adam Eason.
Likewise, if you’d like to learn more about self-hypnosis, understand the evidence based principles of it from a scientific perspective and learn how to apply it to many areas of your life while having fun and in a safe environment and have the opportunity to test everything you learn, then come and join me for my one day seminar which does all that and more, have a read here: The Science of Self-Hypnosis Seminar.
Thank you Nick, best wishes to you, Adam.
I totally agree with you regarding enthusiasm and active listening being of the utmost importance. I resonate with the point you made about arguing. It is the beginning of gaining a deeper understanding of about another person’s model of the world – as much as this seems counter-intuitive, gaining resolution after an argument brings people closer.
Thank you Matthew, agreed.
Best wishes to you, Adam.