Sometimes the relationships can be healthy. Other times they can be unhealthy.
So the Counseling Center at the Christian Center of Park City and Mountain Life Church have partnered to debut the Women's Counselor Speaker Series that will be held Friday, May 2, and Saturday, May 3.
Friday's session, which includes lunch, will be at the Christian Center, 1283 Deer Valley Dr., from 10:45 a.m. until 1 p.m. and Saturday's session, including a breakfast, will be presented at Mountain Life Church, 7375 N. Silver Creek Rd., beginning at 9 a.m.
Carol Selander, licensed professional counselor and director of the North Cherry Creek Counseling in Denver, Colo., will facilitate both events.
"Friday's topic will cover "How to Engage in Healthy Conflict — Conflict that Results in Closeness Rather than Cutoff," and Saturday's topic will be "How to Have Healthy Relationships."
"There are a lot of elements to relationships, whether it's recreational, business, communication or emotional," Selander told The Park Record during a phone interview from her home in Colorado. "If you don't do conflict well, it ruins the other pieces of the relationship. I see conflict, and doing it well, as the foundation to be able to grow in other areas of the relationship. It's a pretty vital piece."
Selander knows that the word conflict can be scary, but there is such a thing as healthy conflict.
"That's where I seek to walk into your office or you seek to walk into my office to get below an issue and address the emotion," she said. "If you can focus on the emotion, it will stir up compassion and help people work together in a win-win situation.
"It's not about creating an enemy," she said. "Many times when people say 'It never got resolved,' they are taking about the issue and not the emotion."
Those who attend on Friday will be broken down into smaller groups.
"I will give them some questions and let them discuss amongst themselves," Selander said. "Then I'll answer some other questions as well."
Saturday's presentation will be about how to have healthy relationships.
"The crux of it is based on a book called 'Family Personalities' by David Field," Selander said. "What I have everyone do is take a look at the families they were born into and look at those original relationships."
She will ask them to look at five different family personalities, which are characterized as chaotic, ruling, bonding, protecting and symbiotic.
"Out of that is where they formed their basis of how to live within relationships," Selander said. "The catch is out of the five, only bonding is healthy. So we have to learn new ways of relating."
Selander began her career in counseling after growing up in an unhealthy home.
"There were seven of us, including mom, dad and kids," she said. "Within that group there was sexual, physical, verbal, drug and alcohol abuse.
"I came out of the family very sick and had to learn a totally new way of viewing myself and others," Selander said. "I went to counseling and that helped and I decided that I wanted to lend my life to helping others."
Leah Harter, director and therapist for the Counseling Center of Park City at the Christian Center, said the idea for the speaker series came from sessions she has facilitated in her office.
"I know from working with people — I had a private practice in Colorado for 10 years and have worked here for four years — that we don't take classes on communication and finding resolutions," Harter explained. "We don't grow up with those skills naturally. So I see a lot of folks in my office, who are everyday people, who run into a roadblock in their relationships.
"And I found that they appreciate having someone to talk to," she said. "But I wanted to expand that and get ideas and practical tools out in a group setting."
Harter asked Selander to be the series' first speaker because she worked with her in Colorado.
"We were in practice together and she speaks about different subjects including boundaries, conflict resolution and communication to both women and couples," Harter said. "Holding an event like this in a social setting livens things up and gives people an opportunity to interact with each other."
Harter has seen communication styles shift throughout the past 10 years.
"In the texting world and Internet world things are changing, and in some ways, I'd say, become more limited in terms of verbal expressions," she said. "These tools that Carol will teach will be helpful because true communication happens in a verbal way. It's a way to work through conflict, to really hear where someone is coming from.
"So to sharpen our communication tool belts, she will address how we can handle conflict in way that will benefit both sides," Harter said. "Carol is tool-oriented and we believe people will walk away with useful tools that they can implement into their relationships."
The first Women's Counselor Speaker Series, featuring Carol Selander, will be held Friday, May 2, at the Christian Center of Park City, 1283 Deer Valley Dr., from 12:45 a.m. until 1 p.m. Lunch will be provided. Admission is a suggested $20 donation. To register and RSVP, visit www.ccofpc.org/counseling-resources . Selander will also speak at Mountain Life Church, 7375 N. Silver Creek Rd., on Saturday, May 3, at 9 a.m. Breakfast will be provided. To register and RSVP, contact Tricia at firstname.lastname@example.org.