Unlocking Your Friends & Family

Dr. Tanner Babb
Psychology degree students sitting and chatting Psychology degree students sitting and chatting
A Christian psychology degree might be the key to understanding your family and friends

Who am I? Who are you? These are questions that all students ask at some point in their high school or college career. Applying psychological insights to these questions can help students seeking a Christian psychology degree, or even those who take psych classes because they are interested in the subject matter, in their relationships with family and friends — and help them understand themselves better.

Three main concepts that students study and apply to their relationships are:

  • Good Fit
  • Differentiation
  • Perception Checking

Good Fit is the idea that we should seek out relationships and invest more time in relationships where we find a good fit with personality and interests. Understanding whether a relationship is really a good fit means investing time in developing all areas of the relationship.

Differentiation is the idea that an individual needs to practice separating their emotions from their experience in order to understand why their emotions are present. Students need to work on understanding their emotional reactions to family and friends, especially when they are disproportionate reactions. A student practicing differentiation won’t stop being emotional, but they will at least understand where their emotions come from and be able to control them better.

Perception Checking is the idea that an individual should practice checking their perception with a friend or family member before reacting. This means that an individual should state the behavior they perceive, give a few interpretations of that behavior, and then ask for clarification. It is amazing how often individuals make wrong assumptions that lead to conflict in relationships.

Many more concepts exist in personality and relationship psychology that lead to healthy friend and family relationships, but these three are a great start to developing healthy relationships. A student that starts practicing the concepts of Good Fit, Differentiation, and Perception Checking will start to see positive changes in their relationships.

Want to learn more about psychology with a Christian perspective? Check out the bachelor’s degree in psychology at Huntington University.

Written by
Dr. Tanner Babb