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Relationships issues: Concerns related to experienced support and strain in your exchanges with individuals, groups, or the larger community.

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It’s important to distinguish between relationship support and strain.

Some of the most important relationships in one’s life can include: romantic partners, family, friends, co-workers, neighbors, health and wellness providers, and fellow peers who are involved in similar activities or organizations. Both positive and negative social exchanges exist in connections with others.

Father and teenage son sitting on a couch with father trying to resolve relationship issues while son covers his ears

Below is a table that distinguishes the differences between relationship support and strain:

Relationship Support

Involves empowering, or healthy, exchanges within one’s network.

Relationship Strain

Involves disempowering, or problematic, exchanges within one’s network.

These exchanges can contribute to:
  • Successful support efforts
  • Positive emotions (such as feeling cared for, connected, and understood)
  • Motivation to maintain the relationship/network and strengthen it

These exchanges can contribute to:
  • Failed support efforts
  • Distress (such as stress, irritation, sadness, loneliness, and resentment)
  • Uncertainty about whether to stay in the relationship/network or leave it due to unreliability

Common types of support include:
  • Emotional support – for example, receiving understanding, encouragement, and compassion
  • Instrumental support, or practical help – for example, receiving a helping hand to completing tasks or address life stressors
  • Informational support – for example, receiving guidance, advice, information, or coaching/mentoring

Common areas of strain include:
  • Lack of effective communication
  • Struggles with vulnerability, intimacy, or power
  • Significant disappointments, traumas, or betrayals
  • Lack of trust, respect, or unity
  • Pressures related to relationships with in-laws, parenting, finances, or culture
  • Incompatibility, growing apart, or boredom

* It is important to note that for some individuals, depending on social support can be experienced as harmful. For example, it can contribute to guilt, anxiety, and feeling like a burden.

Various hands shaped in the form of a heart

Healthy, supportive relationships are vital for wellness.

Connections come in many forms, each with its own set of benefits. Participation in various social relationships, also referred to as social integration, promotes psychological and health wellness.

Psychological benefits of healthy relationships:

  • Fosters resiliency to stress
  • Reduces the risk for developing mental illness
  • Improved motivation
  • Reduced emotional distress

Health benefits of healthy relationships:

  • Promotion of healthy lifestyle behaviors
  • Fewer stress-related health problems

  • Improved recovery from illness
  • Living longer (longevity)

Create and transform your relationships for the better.

Counseling and therapy at Wellness Grove…

Our clinicians believe that growth-fostering relationships are central to experiencing meaning, fulfillment, and empowerment throughout our lives. We can help you explore whether you have enough social support (and whether it’s the right kind!), open your eyes to untapped or hidden networks, and provide knowledge and skills needed to strengthen current relationships. Experiencing a connection with a counselor can be an important step in recognizing how empowering and healthy exchanges can help you achieve your goals.

Our in-person (outpatient) counseling services are offered in Canton OH (near Akron, North Canton, and Massillon). We also offer telemental health sessions to all Ohio residents.

Wellness Grove

Empowering others one connection at a time
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