Relationships | Counselling Services | Student Services Fredericton | UNB

Relationships

Humans are intrinsically social beings, and there are many different types of relationships that can exist in our lives – family, romantic partnerships, friendships, working relationships with peers or colleagues, acquaintances, and so on. These various relationships have the potential to impact our mental health, for better or worse. It is therefore important that we take time to reflect on how we feel in our relationships, and work on developing interpersonal skills such as assertive communication and establishing/maintaining boundaries to help keep our relationships healthy.

When we cultivate healthy, supportive relationships in our lives, these connections help us to fulfill our core human needs by feeling more safe, happy, purposeful, and finding a sense of belonging. Healthy relationships are typically characterized by equality, respect, open communication, support, honesty and trust, responsibility and accountability, boundaries, and non-threatening behaviour.

Unhealthy relationships can be very detrimental to our health, but it can sometimes be difficult to identify when a relationship is not serving us. Some warning signs or aspects of unhealthy relationships may include lack of communication, dishonesty and/or distrust, jealousy, disrespect, manipulation, excessive dependence and/or controlling behaviour, isolation, criticism, and constant fighting/conflict. Abuse of any kind (physical, verbal/emotional or sexual) is never okay, and is a clear sign of an unhealthy relationship.

No relationship is perfect, but with the right skills and coping strategies we can all work toward building and maintaining healthy, satisfying relationships in our lives. If you’re looking for support in the area of relationships, these resources are available for you:

Campus resources

Counselling Services – counselling can help provide the opportunity to reflect on and gain insight regarding your relationship concerns, learn new skills or approaches, and make plans for positive change. Visit our request an appointment page to access service.

Campus Sexual Assault Support Advocates (CSASAs) are specifically trained to support students who have experienced sexual violence. They can help you report an incident, arrange accommodations, seek medical help, and much more. To book an appointment with a CSASA, please contact Counselling Services or e-mail csasa@svnb.ca.

Virtual resources

If you're experiencing a difficult breakup and want to learn about helpful coping strategies, read Surviving a relationship breakup - Top 20 strategies.

The Centre for Clinical Interventions has excellent self-help resources in the “Looking After Yourself” section of their website. Access their self-help workbook entitled “Assert Yourself!” to work on developing your assertive communication skills in relationships. You may find the CCI workbooks on Shyness and Social Anxiety to be helpful, as well.

Government of Canada – learn more about violence and abuse, its prevention and how to get help if you are being abused.

Between Us Health - learn more about healthy and unhealthy relationships.

Onelove - An organization dedicated to educating students about healthy and unhealthy relationships, empowering them to identify and avoid abuse and learn how to love better.

The Gottman Institute provides information and resources from a research-based approach to relationships and couples therapy, with a mission “to reach out to families in order to help create and maintain greater love and health in relationships.”

Love is Respect is an initiative of the U.S. National Domestic Violence Hotline, this website touts itself as the “ultimate resource” to empower individuals to prevent and end dating abuse. It is filled with information and resources on dating and relationship basics, consent, identifying types of abuse, getting help, safety planning, and much more.

Canadian Forces Morale & Welfare Services – Healthy Relationships provides Tips sheets, stories, and support resources for CAF members and their families.

Community resources

Sexual Violence New Brunswick (SVNB) is a non-profit association which provides support to those who have experienced sexual violence. The folks at SVNB run a 24/7 support line with specially trained, trauma informed staff. In addition, SVNB can help support you in reporting an incident, arrange for accompaniment to a hospital, police station, or court, and offer both group and individual therapy. SVNB can be contacted at through the following avenues: Business Calls (506.454.0460), Support Line (506.454.0437) or their website.

Apps

  • myPlan - developed by Onelove is a tool to help with safety decisions if you, or someone you care about, is experiencing abuse in their intimate relationship.
  • Gottman Card Decks – a relationship app from The Gottman Institute. This fun app offers helpful questions, statements, and ideas for improving your relationship.

Books

  • Too Good to Leave, Too Bad to Stay by Mira Kirshenbaum
  • If the Buddha Dated by Charlotte Kasl
  • Hold Me Tight: Seven Conversations for a Lifetime of Love by Sue Johnson