There are few things in our lives more cherished and yet more complicated than relationships. Our first relationships are with our parents and siblings; then we spend our lives developing relationships with friends, associates, coworkers and partners or significant others.

The relationships with partners or significant others often become the crucible in which our issues and those of our partners get worked out. Each person brings their own history and baggage to a relationship, which is then added to the mix with the other person.

When looking at our primary relationships or partnerships, there are a number of issues that come up frequently when there are problems. Most commonly these tend to include money, sex, and communication. There are, of course, other significant elements that can be difficult in a relationship. If there are children, how to raise them and what to teach them can end up being another major issue.

In the modern age there are many types of relationships outside of the traditional heterosexual marriage between a man and woman. There are many couples that choose not to be married. Within marriage, there are both same sex and heterosexual couples. Families of all sexual orientations and combinations may or may not have children, and there may be children from previous relationships creating blended families. In addition, some people choose to live in even less traditional relationship configurations such as triadic or group relationships. These types of relationships are less accepted socially and tend to involve considerably more work. In a conventional relationship, one plus one makes two, but one plus one plus one grows exponentially in complexity.

No matter what the relationship configuration, sometimes it is necessary to have an outsider help in trying to deal with conflict or issues that arise. Sometimes the counselor will help facilitate communication or act as mediator. At other times, completely new ideas and approaches may be suggested to help get beyond a contentious issue or a crisis point.