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Sugar House Journal

Seminar Teaches Relationship Tips

Dec 08, 2015 14h10 ● By Bryan Scott

By Elizabeth Suggs

Sugar House - Relationships are hard work, but it doesn’t make them impossible to fix, at least that’s what Dr. Paul Murdock, Westminster professor and founder of the Murdock Counseling Services and Therapy & Therapy, thought. 

On Nov. 6, Murdock spoke with students and nonstudents alike on what to do when in a relationship. Murdock spoke about long-term relationship success, how to build lasting intimacy and manage conflict. 

Murdock has worked successfully with couples on relationship problems for over 10 years. 

“There are several keys to developing long-term, emotionally-fulfilling relationships,” Murdock said. “I typically categorize them in four domains.” 

The four domains include: respecting and embracing differences, losing yourself, owning your struggles and supporting each other in personal or couple goals. 

“I decided to host a relationship seminar because I see how incredibly important relationships are,” Murdock said. “We are inherently connected to one another, and the quality of our relationships plays a significant role.”

Westminster College students are no different than anyone else attending or not attending college, in the sense that there are relationship difficulties in and out of school life. According to Murdock, both student and nonstudent relationship goals are the same, especially when concerned with long-term partners.

For Murdock, college is especially unique for the wide variety of people a student dates. This gives students a chance to explore what options are available and what each student may or may not want in a relationship. 

Cameron Lynch, Westminster student, agrees students dating students can encourage a better dating process. 

“It’s safer because it gives an opportunity to meet people in a safe environment,” Lynch said. “Plus, the partner is usually friends of a friend, so there’s more accountability.”

Not only can a student have the chance to explore different types of relationships, but it can also prevent against violence in a relationship through easy-to-reach college support groups and counseling made only available to students of that particular school. 

However, that doesn’t mean college students are exempt from violence in a relationship: it just means more support is given. In fact, one study done by Loyola University - Chicago, stated: “One in five college women will experience violence in a relationship during college.” 

Don’t let this statistic discourage you, though. According to the same study, violence can be prevented through understanding how a variety of people work. To have the option of dating so many, students may feel less “trapped” in abusive relationships. 

This is another reason why communication is so important. According to Murdock, understanding the type of person whom a student may be dating is vital.

However, to keep the seminar light, Murdock focused more on the vitality of relationships that could get better, rather than abusive ones. 

According to Murdock, as a psychologist, teaching classes and workshops is something he’s done and continues to enjoy teaching students what they need to know, especially through relationships.