Attention — 03 December 2011
An ode to my readers

This is my 500th Relationship Matters column in the Santa Cruz Sentinel. I want to extend to you my deepest gratitude and appreciation for your loyalty, ongoing input, calls, letters, kind words and warm personal greetings as we met in public. Your feedback and comments have enriched my life greatly and guided me in my writing. I dedicate this column to you, my readers.

In studying human interactions and learning from leading professionals in the field of psychology, I discovered that my best teachers were my clients. Those who utilized insights gained through our work together and evolved into more loving partners have confirmed my belief that change in relationships is not only worthwhile – but also achievable.

The Relationship Matters column became my avenue of reaching more individuals and couples than was possible through my practice as a psychologist. Teaching a larger audience was my goal, but I was not sure whether the written word could, indeed, be helpful and transformative for you.

Every time you let me know that a tool I provided has improved your relationship, you validated me and confirmed my hopes. And, when you shared my column with others who were going through relationship challenges, you demonstrated your support and kindness to them. Thank you for telling me that my column is one you look forward to reading every Sunday. You have motivated me to think more deeply and improve my writing. Your comments have erased any doubts I may have had about the efficacy of my written words.

Recently, I was especially pleased when a couple called to cancel their initial couple’s therapy appointment. They said they discovered the columns and garnered enough tools to practice them toward their own healing. How much more rewarding can it get?

Your suggested topics of interest for future columns certainly assisted me and other readers in learning about new facets of relationships. To that end, I made changes to my website and invite you to visit the newly redesigned RelationshipMatters.com. You are invited to submit any interpersonal issue that interests you. Click on “Future Columns – Submit Your Idea”. I will attempt to honor as many of your ideas as possible in future Santa Cruz Sentinel columns.

I have often recommended that individuals and couples use greater kindness in their treatment of each other. I knew that being compassionate and having empathy for your mate promotes emotional health and happy unions. You, my readers, taught me that kindness, appreciation and support not only enriches the receiver and bonds people together, but also profoundly enhances non-intimate relationships.

The famous psychiatrist, Karl Menninger said: “When we are listened to, it creates us, makes us unfold and expand.”

I deeply thank you for all your kindness, appreciation and support. Please keep reading so that I can keep writing and our relationships will continue to thrive.

 

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About Author

Offra Gerstein, Ph.D. is a licensed psychologist in clinical practice in Santa Cruz, California for over 25 years, and specializes in relationship issues for couples and individuals for improved quality of life. Her work includes: mate selection, marriage, long term relationships, gay and lesbian couples, work relationships, parenting issues, family interactions, friendships, and conflict resolutions. Offra has lectured extensively to various groups, conducted support groups for several organizations, and has been writing a weekly column "Relationship Matters" for the Santa Cruz Sentinel since 2001.

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