Healthy relationships workshop returns to Capilano University

A recap of the do’s and don’ts in relationships, guided by Karen Peaderson from the Counselling Department

Julian Ensz // Contributor

Healthy relationships today seem to be few and far between and contemporary dating gets confusing for a lot of us. Thanks to the Counselling Department and Karen Peaderson, Capilano University hosted its second annual Healthy Relationships Workshop. On Oct. 5, Peaderson guided a 45-minute session on not only building, but also maintaining strong, honest and loving relationships.

Change is inevitable and scary, but it’s the constant expression of gratefulness, requesting change when you need it and supporting it when it happens that keeps us together. Peaderson has been focusing her work around relationships for a majority of her career and considers it her passion — drawing from experiences in her long, loving marriage.

The workshop began with an ice-breaker of “how to say ‘I love you’ in 23 languages” – this encouraged the group to get comfortable in a room full of strangers. Following the distribution of handouts, she honed in on the specific dos and don’ts of each — the power plays, assertive rights, characteristics of loving relationships, power and control, and equality.

It isn’t uncommon for us to enjoy making our “others” a little green—and green is not to imply ill, rather jealous. A little jealousy can be oddly validating. Some tend to tell themselves it’s because their partner cares. Peaderson made it very clear that jealousy does not correlate with love. She said it is a power game that does not hold our partner responsible. Should we maintain trust, honesty and ongoing communication of “wants” and “needs”, there is no room for power plays and jealousy ceases to exist.

Most importantly we need a strong sense of self in our relationship. She said we need to make our values and bottom lines very clear, very early. We have the right to have rights and being the strongest and best self is key. By maintaining our own identity we can continue to flourish — it’s the reason our other showed interest in the beginning.

Many of us enjoy floating endlessly in Disney fantasies and synthetically inflated expectations of love and romance. Peaderson insists that these are fantasies for a reason; they’re simply a myth. She outlines that a large factor to fostering a healthy bond between you and your other is to let go of these fantastical expectations, get to work, and open yourself up. It can be scary, but with a true sense of self and courage, a blossoming relationship will unfold.

Peaderson facilitates a space which students and faculty can gain structural insight to building and maintaining healthy relationships while simultaneously educating students on the counselling resources at Capilano University.


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