Twelve Ingredients to a Healthy Relationship

Have you ever wondered why some of your relationships may work well while others do not? According to Janet Woititz, Ed.D, in her book Adult Children of Alcoholics, there are 12 essential ingredients to every healthy relationship, whether the person is a parent, child, friend, spouse, boss, etc. The question you need to ask yourself is if all of them are present in your relationships. According to Dr. Woititz, if any one of them is missing, one cannot sustain a healthy relationship with that person. The form or degree may be different for different types of relationships. However, all of these ingredients have equal importance in each relationship.


  1. VULNERABILITY – To what degree am I willing to let down my barriers? To what degree am I willing to allow the other person to affect my feelings?

  2. UNDERSTANDING – Do I understand the other person? Do I understand what s/he means by what s/he says or does?

  3. EMPATHY – To what degree am I able to allow myself to feel what he or she feels?

  4. COMPASSION – Do I have a genuine concern for the issues that cause the other person concern?

  5. RESPECT – Do I treat the other person as if he or she is of value?

  6. TRUST – To what degree and on what levels am I willing to let the other person gain access to the things about me that I do not want everybody to know?

  7. ACCEPTANCE – Do I feel okay with the way I am? Is the other person in the relationship okay with the way I am?

  8. HONESTY – Is this relationship built on truth or are there games involved?

  9. COMMUNICATIONAre we able to talk freely about issues that are important to the relationship? Do we know how to do it so we are understood and the relationship goes forward because of the sharing?

  10. COMPATIBILITY – To what degree do we like and dislike the same things? To what degree does it matter if we differ in certain attitudes and beliefs?

  11. PERSONAL INTEGRITY – To what degree am I able to maintain myself as well as offer to the other person?

  12. CONSIDERATION – Am I mindful of the other person’s needs as well as my own?


If you struggle in any of these areas in your relationships, now might be a great time to consider addressing these issues and working towards developing and maintaining healthier and more satisfying relationships. One of the ways to do this is to consider counseling and have a trusted counselor walk the journey with you.



Want to learn more? Give us a call or make an appointment with one of our qualified therapists today!

Jean Galica

November 3, 2020

Healthy Relationships

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