The Art and Science of Creating, Maintaining, and Developing Relationships

A defining feature of being human is our need to relate. Understanding the range of different ways of relating, the different skills involved, can help us in the three main stages of Creating, Maintaining, and Developing relationships. Having a greater understanding of the deeper processes and skills involved will greatly enhance your ability to create, maintain, and develop your own relating and relationships and to help other people more effectively.

Through Developmental Behavioural Modelling (DBM®), we can identify in detail, the different types and ways of relating. By applying the formal DBM® models we can greatly improve our understanding, our natural relationship skills and our professional skills to help others relate more effectively.

DBM® offers many distinctions, models and useful skills to understand and effectively manage the development of relating and relationships. This workshop has been created by John McWhirter through his DBM® methodology to be useful for both beginners in DBM® and previous students of DBM®

In this workshop, as a participant you will:

  • Explore the range and variety of relationship and relating.
  • Extend your knowledge of relationships and their skill in relating.
  • Identify the structure and function of different types of relationship and relating.
  • Identify the different reasons and values in relating and relationships, and how to create more value.
  • Extend your knowledge and skill in Creating Relating and Relationships
  • Extend your knowledge and skill in Maintaining and optimising Relating and Relationships
  • Extend your knowledge and skill in Developing Relating and Relationships Understand the strengths and weaknesses of different ways of relating, and different kinds of relationship.
  • Understand the strengths and weaknesses of different stages in relating and relationship.
  • Learn a range of the most common difficulties in relating and relationships, and specific ways of resolving them.
  • Learn how to identify relationship problems and how to solve them.
  • Learn how to develop new ways of effectively relating in new situations.

Develop your knowledge and abilities in relating and relationships with Developmental Behavioural Modelling DBM®


From our earliest experience as babies through to old age, we learn to form and develop different types of “relationships”. For example, from the totally dependent relationship of the baby with his mother to the relationship, hopefully, independent, adult with their parents. The way in which these relationships are structured, and function will be the basis of much of our greatest vital achievements, as well as much of our suffering. Knowing more about the range of different relationships and understanding how to develop them in ourselves and in others can greatly improve our life experience.


Relating is one of the main skills for life that everyone needs to develop. We need to relate in a wide range of different ways and in different types of relationships, from the obvious relationships with ourselves, our families, partners and friends to relationships with things, technology and ideas.

In addition to many types of relationships, there are many different ways of relating, as well as many different ways of relating. We are social animals and all social animals must learn to relate effectively to be successful in their social group. This social relationship is a “subjective relating” and includes many elements such as bonding, caring, responding, loving, communicating, taking care of each other, nurturing and supporting ourselves and others. Through relating, we meet many of our needs, especially our social needs, and it is the basis of our highest vital achievements of love, belonging, happiness and meaning.

Our ability to relate is not limited to the social relationship. As social animals, we need to understand the world and understand how the world works to respond to our needs effectively. The ability to perform this “relating”, of how we organize the world and how it works, is learnt and can be done in many different ways. This is an “Objective relating” and some of the ways of relating objectively are more effective than others. If we can identify the most effective ways, we will have a more accurate understanding and a richer basis to meet our needs.

Our subjective and objective relating are interrelated. We relate to the world as we understand it and understand it through our relationship with it.

We are not born knowing how to relate. We need to learn this through combinations of trial and error, role modelling, imitation and creativity. It is a natural modelling process; to find our own way in the world. Due to the variety of situations and possible ways of relating, few people develop the most effective way of relating to all types of relationships.

Our relationships and ways of relating are not only with people, we also relate to things, places, people, activities and ideas. This richness of relationship can be increased when we mix the different forms. For example, feeling “at home” with a friend may be fine, but if we relate to a partner as a “thing” for example, it can also create problems.

Effective Relating

With the demands of our modern society, this variation and complexity makes the coordination of these different types and ways of relating incredibly challenging and many people suffer as a result of not knowing how to relate properly or to relate in ineffective or even destructive ways.

Many people will have gaps in their range of skills, not knowing how to do, especially in new situations. Many of the ineffective (or harmful) ways of relating were once successful in other situations. Crying for attention is effective for a baby, for example, but rarely for an adult. Most of our experiences can be improved by relating more effectively.

To be more effective, it will be beneficial to understand, in the first place, THAT there are different types of relationships and, second, that each type can be done differently. Then we will benefit more by learning HOW to do them. To ensure that we use our new knowledge and skills, it will be beneficial to know WHY the different types and forms are useful for us.

Effective relating can be the source of our most pleasant and satisfying experiences.

Many things come under the term relating.

There are many different behaviours that are commonly referred to as relating. Through DBM® the important ones have been identified. If we will describe “true relating” as fully inter-relating, then all other “relating” then will not be full (true) relating. These are the most common ways of “relating”:

Relating: Full Inter-Relating.

Relating and Identity: As family, friends (the relationship).

Pseudo-Relating: Not true relating, something missing or not fully inter-relating.

Interacting: Includes communicating and behaviourally interacting.

Role Relating: Relating as, and through a role.

Mask Relating: Two Meanings: 1. From behind a mask. 2. To mask / cover/ hide the relating

False Relating: Pretending, manipulating relating for other results

Many of these ways are clearer when we include the “Type of Relationship”. For example, the relationship with a worker in a store usually stays in interacting and communicating, since there is nothing “continuous” or more meaningful about it. When we understand the “type of relationship”, we have an idea of what kind of relationship is usual for that type of relationship. We have to learn this and in modern society, there are relationship rules to learn and manage norms that are increasingly increasing and changing.


As part of the complexity of modern life, we have to relate very differently in different contexts and with different people in the same context. For this we develop an ability to make and change “Roles”. Roles allow us to isolate specific behaviors, values ​​and responsibilities and focus on a narrower range of needs that must be met. They allow us to do things that may not be important to ourselves. In fact, they allow us to ignore other needs and responsibilities to make some things easier to do, such as professional jobs and family responsibilities. This strength is also what makes it potentially harmful; for example, if we sacrifice our deepest needs to fulfill a more superficial role. To avoid this risk, we need to relate and integrate roles with ourselves as a whole person. This is another very important skill in the relationship.


For some of our “relationships” and “roles” we want to emphasize some communications or meanings and hide others. For this we develop the ability to use “masks”. The most formal masks are physical things that were created in many cultures to represent gods or demons, animals or monsters. In our behavior they range from putting a “happy face”, a “serious face”, “looking professional”, to the makeup of the actors. The masks also allow us to “hide” some of our true feelings and responses, something that all social animals learn to do, or to put on a “brave face” to hide our fear. Some uses of masks can disconnect us from relating honestly and effectively, other uses can trap us in superficial roles, others can prevent us from developing and realizing ourselves as human beings.

Creating, Maintaining, and Developing Relationships

Firstly, we need to create our way of relating and relationships. Once created, we need to maintain them. The skills and issues involved are different. We can enrich our relationship and our relationships by developing them. Once again, the skills and issues involved are different.

Creating: An exciting and challenging stage. The novelty and the wide range of possibilities can be very exciting. They can also be overwhelming. A common challenge is the fear of rejection or making a bad selection or wasting time. The time spent on a relationship leaves less time available for others.

Maintaining: It is no longer the “emotion of the new”, this is a challenging stage. The maintenance change is the most challenging exchange rate and the one that less directly compensates. When we keep things going, the result with success is zero changes, that is, nothing new! Therefore, it is much less rewarding than getting something new. Learning to appreciate this type of change makes it much easier to keep things well.

Developing: Less practiced than create. Often, after creating and maintaining, there is little development. Often, any fault is sought elsewhere, through other relationships. This could be a remedial development. Developmental development is more rare and is often linked to certain areas of content and activities, for example, learning to dance together.

Participants Will Learn:

In the workshop, participants will also develop their understanding and skills at the deepest levels of relationship and relationship. The complexity and variety of modern relationships and ways of relating create many new challenges and many opportunities to greatly improve our quality of life and the meaning of our existence. The more we understand how they work, the better we can face the challenges and increase the benefits in relationships and ways of relating. Some of the main challenges and benefits are related to:

  1. Different types of content with which we relate and how to relate in different ways to them, and the dangers of mixing them: people, places, activities, things and ideas.
  2. Different types of common cultural relationships, how we relate differently and the challenges and benefits in each of them, as well as the dangers of confusing them. These include: Father – Child and Child – Father, Grandparent – Child and Child – Grandparent, Aunts, uncles, cousins, nieces and nephews, siblings, boyfriends, couples, partners, neighbours, co-workers, teachers, shopkeepers and strangers.
  3. Different behaviours in the relationship, the benefits of each one of them and the dangers of confusing them. These include: relating in, relating from and relating to, giving and taking, communicating, interacting, attending, including and excluding, in relation to the part – the whole – the whole bigger.
  4. Communication in relationships and relating: the importance of different forms of communication not only to obtain information, but also to experience and develop the relationship and relate.
  5. Different types of relationships and relationships: different types offer different challenges and benefits. We will explore the most common.
  6. The different forms that coexist and the challenges of coexisting with different behaviors, personalities, belief systems, religions and cultures, and how to overcome them and develop a rich diversity of relationships and ways of relating.
  7. Different types of relationship experiences that include: Relate to, Relate to, Relate as, Relate through, Relate from and Relate to. This includes different types of relationships in different situations: personally, with friends, in the community, at work and in business.
  8. There are several different patterns of relationship and relationship. The main ones are complementary, symmetrical, parallel and unrelated. These work in a combined way and can often deceive if we only superficially attend to what is happening. The four could be operating simultaneously. For example, a couple could be actively engaged (symmetric), one part leading and the other following (complementary), doing different things in the house (parallel), working in different jobs (not related). This creates a wealth of relationship that can be positive or negative. With DBM® we can identify what is happening and improve it.
  9. Different relationship structures: how they function differently and how to create them, including different identities of relationship and meaning. This includes different types of bonding and limiting relationships and relationships. For example, types of ties (including: Exclusive – Inclusive: for example, “Special Friend”, single pair), Types of boundary (Including: open – closed / We – them) Allow to enter / Keep out.
  10. The different ways in which relationships work: the different functions and results, including loving, caring, supporting, neglecting, attacking, exploiting, abusing.
  11. The different stages of development in relationships. In addition to creating and maintaining relationships, there are possible stages of development in the life of a relationship. These are not inevitable as our individual aging. Relationships may not mature, or may mature prematurely, or may decay. Understanding the process of developing a relationship helps us to reach more mature and rewarding stages in a relationship.
  12. The different benefits; the different reasons for relationships and relating and the different values ​​of relationships and relationships. This includes Maslow’s hierarchy of needs and more.
  13. Balancing relationships in terms of quality and quantity.
  14. Multifunctional relationships: how to coordinate the different roles in the same relationship, for example, mother / father, friend, lover, partner.
  15. Relationship agreements and contracts (explicit and implicit): unconditional and conditional.