cover image Us: Getting Past You and Me to Build a More Loving Relationship

Us: Getting Past You and Me to Build a More Loving Relationship

Terrence Real. Rodale, $26.99 (320p) ISBN 978-0-593-23367-2

In this accessible outing, family therapist Real (How Can I Get Through to You) offers advice to help romantic partners feel more connected. Using case studies from his practice, the author suggests that “little trauma” suffered over extended periods of time, usually during childhood, can affect one’s relationships as an adult, and he provides strategies to overcome one’s “maladaptive” behaviors. Real warns that coping mechanisms stemming from childhood trauma (perhaps “you were intruded upon as a child, and now you operate behind walls”) can make one act like an “Adaptive Child,” or an adult stuck in unproductive behavioral patterns. To illustrate, the author tells the story of a client whose propensity for lying protected him from his domineering mother while growing up but later threatened to destroy his marriage. Real emphasizes that partners should hold themselves accountable and “think relationally” by recognizing that “your relationship is your emotional biosphere.” The author’s accounts of his successes with clients can sometimes be laid on a bit thick, but his insights are original and stirring (“The idea of a freestanding rugged individualist is a cultural story having little to do with the truth”). This approachable take on healing relationships will enlighten. (June)