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  • Writer's pictureKaren Khan

No Man (or Woman) Is an Island

More and more often now, I find clients coming to me for help with their close relationships. There’s a continuing theme emerging recently however (and it runs a little like this…)

I’m seeing a desire to change the significant other’s behaviour in someway, to bring them around to the other’s way of thinking or to shape an outcome in a way that only one of the couple are actually happy with.

When does negotiation or compromise actually become coercion, or even manipulation?

It’s an interesting question and I’ve certainly been thinking a lot about that one this week.


This is my (very generalised) approach in these situations.


Firstly I like to look at individual core values and see if they’re in alignment with each other. Quite often they won’t be identical of course -but hopefully can run in sync with each other.

These will of course change over time (the most usual is ‘Freedom’ changing to ‘Security’ as we get older) but essentially they belong to the deeper part of the self. They belong to the most authentic part of the individual and can’t be trampled over. It’s important to see if both clients are actually understanding and respectful of each other’s values more than anything else, let alone in agreement with them!

More often than not, couples who run into difficulties THINK that they know what the other’s core values are, when they have actually never asked them….



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