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Individuals who have difficulties starting or maintaining relationships with others may benefit from investigating a relationship self-help program. Relationship self-help can refer to websites, audio tapes, books, or other publications that provide information and resources for people who have difficulties establishing healthy intimate bonds. A single person might study self-help material to better prepare himself or herself for starting a relationship. Couples commonly undertake relationship self-help programs together to help them identify problems and work towards positive solutions.
Relationship self-help books and audio tapes are available at many local bookstores and libraries, as well as online retailers and specialty stores. Some publications are very general guides that explain the basics of finding the right mate and establishing a good relationship. They may outline the traits that healthy couples share, such as clear emotional and physical boundaries. They usually discuss the importance of mutually enjoying activities, communicating clearly and with purpose, and moving beyond past controversies.
Other relationship books are geared at specific subjects, such as improving intimacy, dealing with financial issues, or overcoming emotional problems. Self-help books often include written and verbal exercises that a couple can practice to develop honesty, trust, and effective communication. The end goal of most relationship self-help books is to teach couples how to deal with large and small problems in a healthy, productive, solution-based way instead of arguing and fighting.
Self-help websites usually offer much of the same information and tips found in other publications, with the added benefit of interaction with other users, counselors, or site administrators. Some pages allow users to submit comments and questions directly to professional relationship counselors, who may post answers on the site or reply by email. A relationship self-help website may also offer a forum or chat room where individuals and couples can discuss their problems, experiences, and hopes with one another.
When choosing a relationship self-help program, an individual or couple should consider the credibility of the author or creator. Licensed family psychologists, relationship counselors, and therapists have spent years studying interpersonal relationships, and possess degrees that attest to their knowledge. Many qualified professionals who create self-help programs have also taught university courses, counseled couples in person, or conducted research studies. A couple can ensure that they receive accurate information by researching an author's credentials before pursuing a program. Couples who agree to seek reliable self-help are often successful at improving their relationship skills and enjoying long-term happiness with each other.