Module Eight - Healthy Relationships

This module explores the importance of relationships to emotional well-being and human potential. You will learn how to

1. Identify the presence of co-dependency / counter-dependency behaviours
2. Develop & maintain functional boundaries
3. Practise empathy and loving-kindness
4. Learn how to resolve conflicts
5. Develop and deepen friendships
6. Nourish intimate relationships through the 4 A’s – attention, acceptance, appreciation and affection

Key messages:

  • one of our deepest needs is to feel connected to others and to have close nourishing relationships;
  • a nourishing relationship is any relationship between two people that is based on openness, honesty, respect and emotional intimacy;
  • a significant barrier to intimacy is the presence of co-dependent or counter-dependent behaviours, both of which have their origins in early childhood trauma;
  • to create a healthy, nourishing relationship you need to learn the skills that will enable you to grow up;
  • a boundary is an invisible fence or space that we put in place in order to protect ourselves and in order maintain an authentic sense of self without offending others


  • Please read through the entire healthy relationship section twice. Having done so reflect on the importance of relationships to you? How important have they been and are they now? What relationships need to be developed or repaired or nurtured?
  • Return to the beginning and read through the section on co-dependency or counter-dependency. Please fill in the questionnaire. In addition to this visit the website On the right hand side are a series of videos, if you were predominantly counter-dependent watch The Flight from Intimacy / Personal Counter-dependency part 1, 2 and 3. If you were predominantly co-dependent watch - sustainable relationships personal co-dependency part 1, 2 and 3. Having done this reflect on what you have learnt, what are you feeling, how have these patterns of behaviour affecting and influenced your own life?
  • Please read through the section on boundaries. Reflect on what you have read? What have you learnt? How have your own boundaries been violated in the past? How have you or do you continue to violate other people’s boundaries? Now go through the tips section and follow the suggestions made over a one/two week period.
  • Please read through the section on conflicts. How have you previously addressed conflict? Be as honest with yourself as you can. Learn the respectful communication agreement and with a friend/partner practice it a couple of times. You will probably feel uncomfortable initially but with practise it will become easier.
  • Please read through the section on empathy and loving-kindness. What does empathy mean to you? Are you naturally empathic or is this a skill that you need to develop? Implement some of the suggestions on practising empathy. Commit to practising the loving-kindness meditation for 10 days in a row. Notice how it affects your mood, well-being and quality of relationships
  • Please read through the section on friendships. Having done so ask yourself how important have and are friends to you now? Which friendships do you value and which could benefit from developing? Follow the instructions for the four steps
  • Please read through the section on the 4 A’s of healthy relationships. Having done so reflect on their importance and make a commitment to applying them in your own personal relationships
  • Optional additional reading: The Flight from Intimacy by Janae & Barry Weinhold


  • Create a handout, one that would be suitable for giving to your own clients on healthy boundaries. Please e-mail it to us
  • Share with a friend the instructions for loving-kindness meditation. Feedback to us your experience and their experience
  • Create a handout, one that would be suitable for giving to your own clients on conflict resolution and empathy. Please e-mail it to us
  • What new knowledge, skills and understanding have you gained from completing this module? (300 to 500 words). Please e-mail us your response

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