What does your resume show? If you’re an employer and see that an applicant for an IT job has worked at one position for five years, is that a positive? If you see that the person has been at Google for four years and at LeggMason for five, does it add to the qualifications? This is a definite generalization but often, t, the sentiment goes the other way: A relationship failure!

How does one learn what makes for a strong and healthy relationship? The self-help industry in all aspects of media makes a mint telling us how to, what to and what not to do. After all, I myself am writing about the subject as well as working directly with people. Few of us grow up in families where parents talk about this. Most often, it is through trial and error and then by educating ourselves that we learn about getting along with friends, family, coworkers and partners. Unfortunately, some never learn. In the LGBTQ community, there are additional obstacles especially if you live in communities where the tolerance level is low with few identified places to connect. Even in 2018, these are concerns despite marriage equality, and perhaps because of it, when you observe comments on social media.

What prompted me to consider the effect of “expertise” on relationships came from a podcast on “Hidden Brain.” (I highly recommend it!) In a study, after the FDA recommended that a certain surgical method was not to patients’ benefit, cardiologists were more stuck to and less open to change their methods the longer they had practiced. On the other hand, Captain Sully (remember him?) who landed the plane on the Hudson was a perfect example of the combination of an open mind, an intellectual curiosity, and accumulated experience. To the extent that we can transfer learning from a totally different context, I find it plausible that in relationships, that intellectual curiosity, with or without several past experiences, facilitates growth and healthy behaviors. Reading how to better communicate, going to a workshop or group on emotional intelligence, and in general taking advantage of the plethora of information available, then running them through your own mind enables you to take what you find fitting. When a change in behavior works, it is empowering. Key to this process is the ability to take a moderate risk. The successful yield adds to confidence and an inner sense of positive feeling.

May the force be with you!

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Author Profile

Janan Broadbent, PhD
Janan Broadbent, PhD
As a psychologist in private practice since 1979, Janan Broadbent, Ph. D. offers individual, couples, group and family therapy, in addition to conducting workshops on topics such as stress management, communication skills and assertiveness. She writes about current issues relevant to relationship building and conflict resolution in LGBTQ and minority populations, with emphasis on health, fitness and education.

Born in Turkey, Dr. Broadbent earned her undergraduate degree in psychology in 1965. At that time, first as a Fulbright Scholar, then as a CENTO Fellow, she received her master's and doctorate degrees in psychology and education from the University of California at Los Angeles. She has taught graduate and undergraduate courses in psychology at St.Mary's College of Maryland, Mt. Vernon College in Washington, D. C., Johns Hopkins University and the College of Notre Dame in Baltimore. From 1981 to 1988, she was also the Director of Counseling at Notre Dame College.
While in graduate school, Dr. Broadbent worked for the Voice of America radio program, writing and recording materials on the cross-cultural college experience. She has been interviewed on various news programs on TV and has received media training.
Dr. Broadbent is a member of the American Psychological Association and has served as the chair for the Public Affairs Board and as a member of the Executive Council of the Maryland Psychological Association.
Dr. Broadbent's office is located at:
Village of Cross Keys, 120 West Quadrangle, 2 Hamill Road, Baltimore, Maryland 21210-1847 phone: 410-825-5577