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Our life stories: needs, beliefs & behaviours - part four, "relationships"

This is the last in a sequence of four blog posts on a "Needs, beliefs, behaviours" model that I often use to help guide psychotherapy work on longer term "personality" patterns.  I've previously written about "Needs", "Beliefs" and "Behaviours".  This post looks at the model's application to understanding our relationships.  The message is straightforward - important aspects of how we relate to others were developed when we were young and these interpersonal patterns probably made pretty good sense back then in our early years.  So we might have learned to be fairly quiet, because our opinion was largely ignored or ridiculed.  Or we might have learned to be on the lookout for trouble and ready to retreat because we had a drunken father who could be violent.  And so on.  We might contrastingly have learned to expect others to be warm & encouraging, because we were brought up in an environment where this was routinely the case.  These early interpersonal patterns tend then to be used in our current relationships - however they may not "fit" in our current circumstances.  So our cautious quietness may not now be needed to protect ourselves from ridicule or violence, and sadly it may get in the way of developing the adult relationships that we would most value.  Hopefully our expectation of warmth & encouragement may lead us to seek out adult relationships of good quality and not hang around with people who treat us badly.  These early interpersonal patterns are also likely to emerge in therapy - both with an individual psychotherapist and also in a group environment:


This diagram is downloadable both as a Powerpoint slide and as a PDF file

I frequently use this series of slides - "Needs", "Beliefs", "Behaviours" & "Relationships" in my work.  You can download "Needs & Beliefs" together.  I put this pair of slides onto one side of a handout and the second pair - "Behaviours & Relationships" - onto the back of the same sheet of paper. 


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