Relationship therapist Julie Sharon in Hart v. Hart

“A strong parental relationship is the biggest predictor of a child’s well-being,” says psychologist and relationship therapist Julie Sharon. In her practice, she provides therapy to couples who need it for whatever reason. Still, she notes that people are not quick to ask for help when problems arise in their relationships.

In collaboration with Christelijk Hogeschool Ede, Eva researched the relationship between 1550 Dutch people. It shows that people give their relationship an average of 8.4. Yet 22% feel lonely in that relationship and 31% feel inadequate. They also see that when people experience relationship problems, they are less likely to ask for help. 82% of respondents have never sought help even in serious and structural conflicts, not even within their own network. 60% say they won’t do it either.

Miracle pill

Sharon also confirms these figures. “Maybe it’s because it’s a taboo or that they don’t believe it can help. Therapy isn’t a miracle pill either, it’s hard work. It’s quite hard to go to therapy. People often don’t want to tackle their issues to get going and be vulnerable.”

When problems arise, many couples tend to dwell on the problems for a while, says Sharon. “People also often put off going to the doctor, thinking ‘it’ll go away’. They notice a bump on their skin that gets bigger and bigger, but they don’t want to face what it could be. Feeling embarrassed can also play along, but it’s mainly not wanting to work with the problems. People don’t want to confront themselves.”


Delaying or avoiding seeking help can ultimately cause relationships to break down. But that’s not all: “Having a bad relationship has consequences for your own health. When arguments get out of hand, you can hurt each other physically or mentally.” At the same time, Sharon also paints a picture of a healthy relationship. “A strong relationship gives you a sense of security and trust. You have a secure base from which you can live freely.”

When a couple has an unhealthy relationship, it can also have many consequences for the other family members. “If things don’t go well, it has a negative impact on the children. They don’t feel safe or have to take care of their parents. You even see a difference in how children do in school when they come from a good child. or bad relationship. In the long run, it has a big impact.” Not wanting to divorce for the sake of the children is therefore not always a good idea, says Sharon. “If you argue too much, it’s better to break up in a respectful way.”

Ring the bell

If you want to avoid serious relationship problems, it’s important to say goodbye early, says Sharon. “If you only start helping after six years, your relationship becomes harder and harder to work on.” She emphasizes the importance of continuing to work on your relationship. “I think if people are proactive about their relationships, it helps keep your relationship going. A relationship really needs to be maintained. If you don’t know it, you don’t. If you had worked with certain patterns , then you could have made a difference.”

On the podcast Heart to heart, where couples talk about a difficult period in their relationship, Sharon also talks. “People recognize themselves in the stories of the people in the podcast. You don’t have to have experienced exactly the same thing, but you can recognize small things.” Sharon hopes that couples who listen to the podcast can benefit from the story and tips. “Sometimes a crisis is an opportunity to grow,” Sharon said.

Do you know more? Listen to the podcast ‘Hart to heart’

Julie Sharon can also be heard on the Hart v Hart podcast, where Bert van Leeuwen talks to couples whose relationships almost ended but stayed together anyway. Listen to the podcast via your favorite podcast app.

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