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Empowerful You: Counseling. Coaching. Life Solutions. Patricia Obst, MSW, LCSW: Therapist & Life Coach
Helpful Tools


Check here often for therapy and coaching tools that will help you to:

- gain a deeper understanding of yourself
- get leverage to gain motivation
- deveop better self awareness
- untangle complicated issues





**Relasionship Template**





So, you're struggling in your relationship and trying to figure out if the person you are with is the right fit.  Or, you've been flying solo for a while and are ready to enter the dating world again, but don't want to end up with the same type of person as in the last 3 relationships.  This template can help you sort out whether the relationship you're in is a good match - or not.  Or this template can help you not waste time in dead end dating and find a good match for you sooner.

Too often in relationships we lose ourselves.  We morph into someone that the other person wants or needs.  

When we start off in a relationship we often don't have our head in the game - just our heart and hormones!  


There are 3 key components of the Relationship Template that can address these issues.

Try to clear your mind before you answer these 3 questions.  It's impossible not to consider past relationships or your current one, but try to see this as a blank canvas for what you want and need in a relationship moving forward.

Now take out your pen and paper or copy and paste those 3 key questions . . . . here we go . . . ask youself:

1)  Who do I want and need to be in a relationship?

2)  What character traits and values do I want and need in my significant other?

3)  What do I want and need to share with my significant other?

Some tips:

For Number 1)  Think about your own characteristics, values, personality traits, interests, that you want to maintain within a relationship, i.e. adventorous, independent, passionate, etc.

For Number 2)  Think beyond just shared interests or "we have a good time together."  Think about traits like - integrity, trustwothiness, work ethic, etc.  What they spend their time doing and who they hang out with shows what and who they value - family, video games, spending a lot of money, friends, etc.

For Number 3)  Think about what you want to share in terms of daily responsibilities and how you want to connect on a regular basis, etc.  Also look at bigger things you want to share like a common religion, things you're passionate about like the outdoors or travel or fitness or animals, etc.

As a side note - if you have been in very negative, hurtful or abusive relationships.  After you do this template, you'll see that "being abused" for instance is not on your list for question number one. You'll see that "angry and resentful" for example, are not on your list for question two.  And you'll see that "constant arguments" are not found on your list for question three.  No more wrestling about relationships - let the template be your guide about what you truly want and need in a relationship.

For those of you in a relationship that you're struggling about - live by this template, espectionally element number one.  The person your with will either grow to love all that you are even more - or not - then you have your answer whether to stay - or to go.

For those of you entering the dating world - use this template as a guide to help keep your head in the game as you meet new people.  Stay true to element number one from the start so that whoever ends up as your match, loves you for who you actually are - not who they change you into.

I hope this helps you find the right match, whether it's by ending your relationship with the wrong match, or starting off fresh in the dating world. Believe that you deserve to find all that you want and need in a relationship.

NEXT TOOL     ** Self Awareness Exercise **

This will help you to better understand how you react to upsetting events and how you can better manage your thoughts and feelings when dealing with difficult situations.

Over the next 2 weeks record on paper your reactions to "upsetting events."  These can be minor events or major events.  A good number is a record of 3-5 events in the 2 week span.  Here's what you will record:

1)  State the "upsetting event" in the form of just a simple sentence so that you can recall the event later.  Example:  (minor event) Ran late for doctor appointment again.

2)  Record your FEELINGS - both emotional and physical.  The emotional feelings will be in the form of one word bullet points like, sad, scared, angry, etc.  The physical feelings will be in the form of descriptions like, heart racing, felt hot, etc.  Example:  emotional - tense, scattered, frustrated; physical - felt hot, muscles tightened, breathing was heavy.

3)  Record your AUTOMATIC THOUGHTS - These will be in the form of phrases that you find yourself saying in your head or maybe even outloud to yourself during the "upsetting event."  Example - "ugh, I'm so stupid"  "when will I get my act together"  "the office staff must think I'm a total airhead."

When you take a look at what you've recorded over those 2 weeks, you will see patterns in the types of events that upset you as well as in your feelings and automatic thoughts.  

The types of events will help you become more aware of what upsets you so that in the future you can perhaps prepare better so that you don't get as upset.

The types of emotional feelings you recorded will help you to better identify exactly what you are feeling and therefore more directly soothe the particular emotion with a more direct coping strategy, i.e. for feelings of frustration you may need to take a few deep breaths whereas for feelings of anger you may need to release it by punching the air with your fists and growling before you can begin to calm down.  The physical feelings you recorded will help you to see how your body reacts to your specific emotions.  This self understanding will enable you to feel your emotions coming early on so that you can better manage them and maybe even circumvent them.  For instance, if you always get really hot right before you yell in anger, let that sensation be a warning sign that tells you to walk away or count to 10 (which really does work because it engages the left side of your brain which is the rational side and distracts the right side of your brain which is your emotional side), rather than blow up and say things you will regret.

Lastly, the automatic thoughts that you record will give you great insight into the things that you say in your head that fuel your feelings.  If you tell yourself you're so stupid for running late for the appointment you only feed your frustration.  But if you instead speak to yourself self-compassion by reminding yourself that you're human, forgiving yourself and focusing on the fact that you at least remembered the appointment and didn't miss it all together, then you might begin to calm down and feel better.

Remember - our thoughts feed our feelings - careful how you talk to yourself.  Self-awareness is a wonderful tool.  We can't fix what we don't know.  But as we begin to know ourselves and our reactions better, we can manage our emotions, our thoughts and our reactions to life's upsetting events much better.  


Disclaimer - These tips and tools are not meant to be a substitute for one-on-one therapy with a professional counselor.  They are meant to enlighten you to better self awareness and add to your repetoire of coping strategies.  Any reactions to these tips and tools are solely the responsibility of the person using them.