THE DANCE OF CONNECTION: How to Talk to Someone When You're Mad, Hurt, Scared, Frustrated, Insulted, or Desperate
Psychotherapist and bestselling author Lerner has been teaching readers how to "dance" with difficult relationship issues throughout the past decade, and remains one of the most helpful writers on the topic. With her familiar mix of conversational language and profound empathy for people (primarily women) who are struggling with the most important relationships in their lives, she now tackles the verbal challenges of life's most painful conversations. Far from trite "communication skills" or "assertiveness training," her book offers lucid and concrete guidance on how to speak out in a wide variety of problem situations (e.g., when a wife suspects her husband is having an affair with a co-worker, or when friends jeopardize their relationship by becoming roommates). Lerner moves smoothly through the common obstacles to understanding how we feel, how we want to express ourselves and what we want to accomplish by talking about our feelings. Recognizing that "your brain will turn to mush" when trying to explain yourself in an emotional state, she offers practical advice on sharing vulnerability; voicing concerns, complaints or requests; apologizing; listening and setting limits on how much one is willing to listen to others' complaints and negativity. Accepting that we can never guarantee that others will hear us or respond as we'd like, Lerner focuses on the authentic expression of self, "maximiz[ing] the chance of being heard" and keeping the connection open, despite complex emotions, misunderstandings and silences. (Sept. 1)
Forecast:The popularity of The Dance of Anger, The Dance of Intimacy, The Dance of Deception and The Mother Dance virtually assures an eager audience for Lerner's new work. She has recently added children's books to her repertoire ( Franny B. Kranny, There's a Bird in Your Hair, PW, May 21), which may expand her readership even further.