Readings

Getting the love you want

Harville Hendrix Ph.D.

When Harville Hendrix writes about relationships, he discusses them not just as an educator and a therapist, but as a man who has himself been through a failed marriage. Hendrix felt the sting of his divorce intensely because he believed it signaled not only his failure as a husband but also his failure as a couples counselor. Investigating why his marriage dissolved led him to start looking into the psychology of love. Marriage, he ultimately discovered, is the "practice of becoming passionate friends."

As a result of his research, Hendrix created a therapy he calls Imago Relationship Therapy. In it, he combines what he's learned in a number of disciplines, including the behavioral sciences, depth psychology, cognitive therapy, and Gestalt therapy, to name just a few. He expounds upon this approach in Getting the Love You Want: A Guide for Couples. His purpose in writing the book, he says, is "to share with you what I have learned about the psychology of love relationships, and to help you transform your relationship into a lasting source of love and companionship." 

Divided into three sections, the book covers "The Unconscious Marriage," which details a marriage in which the remaining desires and behavior of childhood interfere with the current relationship; "The Conscious Marriage," which shows a marriage that fulfils those childhood needs in a positive manner; and a 10-week "course in relationship therapy, " which gives detailed exercises for you and your partner to follow in order to learn how to "replace confrontation and criticism ... with a healing process of mutual growth and support." The text is occasionally dry and technical; however, the information provided is valuable, the case studies are interesting, and the exercises are revealing and helpful.

 

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