Key Factors in Healthy Relationships

Posted July 7, 2022 by Cristina Vrech

Cristina Vrech - Individual and couples therapist

Cristina Vrech

Founder and Director - Individual & Couple Therapist, Corporate Services

Co-founder and director of Leone Centre, Cristina Vrech, has 20+ years of experience in working and supporting people, 14+ years of extensive experience as a therapist and offers valuable knowledge to individuals and couples. Prior to being a therapist, she worked in the financial sector.

Cristina takes a down-to-earth and direct approach across the landscapes of relationships, communication, stress, infidelity, confidence, loneliness, addiction, separation and divorce, IVF, and anxiety.

Offering Online Counselling and in person counselling.

Cristina Vrech can help with...

Healthy Relationships

How, in the aftermath of the Depp and Heard Trial, less people would be inclined to reach out when in an abusive relationship?

Unless you have been living under a rock in the past few months, it is highly likely that the hysteria surrounding the Depp and Heard trial has flowed into your awareness. Whether we went seeking the latest news or it was vicariously fed through, the excessive and strategically warped coverage has raised concerns about safety in seeking help from abusive relationships.

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Dr Sue Johnson, clinical psychologist and creator of emotionally focused therapy (EFT) for couples, highlights 3 key pillars of a healthy relationship:

  • Accessibility
  • Responsiveness
  • Emotional engagement

Essentially, creating a feeling of safety for our experiences to be shared and affirmation that our partner is there for us, is what we desire.

With no regard for the impact on survivors of abusive relationships, the media have pursued a savage, time old quest to silence and belittle details of the abuse in the Depp and Heard case. This desensitisation to violence in relationships and repeat exposure to normalising ridicule of a profoundly vulnerable topic, is likely to hinder the collective progress into healthy relating.

To counteract this devolved display of in-compassionate relating, there is a vital need for emphasising and bringing in more support for all those involved in abusive relationships. Parent zone explains, 73% of UK children have been online by the age of two and 63% have their own smartphone before starting secondary school. Education on spotting warning signs and breaking patterns of abuse is therefore particularly important for young, impressionable minds, forming ideas on how to relate to one another.

There are many forms of abuse and it is not unusual to experience a mixture of these by an abuser. Although physical abuse is the most obvious, less tangible types such as emotional abuse slip under the radar and can result in trauma, anxiety or depression.

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How to spot warning signs of abuse?

There are many forms of abuse and it is not unusual to experience a mixture of these by an abuser. Although physical abuse is the most obvious, less tangible types such as emotional abuse slip under the radar and can result in trauma, anxiety or depression.

Some red flags that a relationship is unhealthy include:

Humiliation – You feel privately or publicly shamed by your partner

Gaslighting – Manipulating someone so much that they think they are going insane

Accusations and blame – Your partner tries to intimidate you into taking responsibility for everything and you feel like your freedom is restricted by their inability to confront their own insecurities

You feel isolated – They attempt to stop you from having other relationships

The attempt to control all aspects of a partner’s life

Threatening you with harm, or with hurting themselves

There is a lack of respect and willingness to nurture your growth

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Identifying when a relationship has become abusive, then choosing to make a positive shift takes an incredible amount of courage. Only Depp and Heard really know the truth of what happened in their relationship. The public spectacle and problematic, long outdated gendered tropes of their trial, add a disturbing barrier to anyone seeking support from a domestic abusive relationship.

The blind support of Depp before the jury had even examined any evidence, illuminates a severe failure in the collective relationship. False allegations of sexual violence are extremely rare and most survivors choose not to report rape, due to the very fact that they’re worried about being shamed as a liar.

How can we mend the damaging potential for internalising the message this case imprints and create nurturing environments for healthy relationships to flourish?

Parents and schools can create a safe space for children to express their emotions from an early age. This allows time to practice emotional intelligence, which is an invaluable skill that is so very needed in all corners of the globe.

Learning how to set healthy boundaries. This requires a level of self awareness, which is not only helpful for identifying abuse, it would also provide resources that would prevent a persons trauma from developing into abusive behaviour.

Healthy relationships are built on trust, honesty and respect. Encouraging and celebrating this level of integrity in every relationship.

Examine issues around power

Make specialised support accessible and normal.  Leone Centre relationship counselling helps individuals and couples to improve the way they relate to themselves and to each other. Strong interpersonal relationships need kindness, commitment and honesty. Within a supportive and non judgemental environment, our therapists and counsellors help couples and individuals to overcome a broad range of challenges.

Healthy Relationships

The reaction to the Depp and Heard case is a far cry from where we want to be as a compassionate society. It is shining a compelling light on the public health crisis on patterns of abusive relationships.


Talk with a Leone Centre Professional

If you do feel like you need some help and support, our Leone Centre professionals are available 7 days a week. Call us on 020 3930 1007. We can also provide fast track therapy.

We can offer in-person counselling in London appointments at our head office in Fulham and our offices in Kensington, Wimbledon and Belgravia, We also service Victoria, Putney, Chelsea, Knightsbridge, Mayfair, and City of London.

In addition, we offer Online Therapy appointments wherever in the world you are located, should this better fit around your existing commitments or if you are not able to attend an in-person appointment.