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Getting the Love You Want: A Guide for…
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Getting the Love You Want: A Guide for Couples

by Harville Hendrix

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A superior book about couple building, and very helpful at the time. ( )
  DinadansFriend | Dec 16, 2013 |
If you're going through a divorce or marital troubles, this book makes sense of why things are not going well. ( )
  johnkuypers | Jul 3, 2012 |
I have some reservations about Hendrix, his endlessly multiplying books, and the Imago Therapy industry that has grown up around them. Having said that - and I will come back to it later - it must be said that there is a great deal of substance to his theories and these books. His basic premise is that there is an unconscious element to romantic attraction. There is no controversy here. What Hendrix has done - based on extensive couple therapy - is to peel back the layers of behavior and motivation to get at a workable hypothesis of what is really going on. He notes that people entering into a romantic relationship (or failing to do so) often seem to have a sense that the other party has (or had) the potential to heal or complete something that was damaged or absent in themselves. Hendrix´s particular genius was to realize that this could be true and not true at the same time. True in the sense that the other person is the key to healing or completion; but not true in the sense that they will provide it to you by simply being there or by giving it to you as a gift. Hendrix´s theory is that you might unconsciously select someone whose makeup/personality is perfectly suited to ´pressing all those buttons´ that are linked to issues inside yourself that your unconscious would like you to address. So the job of the other person is to press buttons (and you to press theirs), and the job of each person is to address their own issues. Hendrix´s therapy essentially involves stepping back from seeing the other person as the one with the problems, or the one causing the problem, or the one who is going to (or should) give you the solution to the problem. He suggests that you treat the irritations of a connected life (once that blind romantic stage fades) as pointers (and a motivation) to do work you need to do on yourself. Which involves a lot (a very great many) of exercises that can by very uncomfortable. And like physical exercise it is easy to fail to do it properly and give up. But like physical exercise it is often easier to do it together with other people (not necessarily your partner), and if you persist with it my experience is that you will see at least some benefit.

What don´t I like about Hendrix? He has a conversational style of writing, rather than an academic one. Which is great, but sometimes I feel that it is a rather rambling conversation and I yearn for some dot points. I´d love to see Hendrix say in less than ten thousand (or a hundred thousand) words, ´This is the essentials of what I´m talking about.¨ His analogies are great, his case studies support his arguments, and I have no argument with him expressing his strong Christian faith. It is just that they make reading him an effort, which I find wearying, knowing that the exercises he prescribes will be arduous enough. That said, he has set himself the challenge of trying to get across an abstract idea that is a little counter-intuitive to an audience that have hugely varied experiences, belief systems and appreciation of the workings of the unconscious. Which explains the multiple books, and the effectiveness of the group seminars where facilitators can ´bring people along´ with the theory and exercises.

What else don´t I like? Most of all that Hendrix says this only works in deep romantic (love) relationships. I don´t think he has an issue with same sex relationships, but the books of his I have read (and this one) don´t give them any focus. As a theory it would be more interesting if he had looked also at long term friendships and even our relationship with animals, with inanimate things and ideas, and with work and our position in society. Essentially his theory pins everything on the unconscious, and provides (apparently) useful exercises to satisfy it, but does not wrestle with what is going on in the unconscious - the way it represents the external world and it´s capacity for confusion, self-deception and displacement. And last of all, while the development of his theory is well anchored in real life couples experience, I sometimes miss some explanation or reflection on how his therapy can be effectively introduced to couples: how it leaves them ´on the far side´, and how it relates to the wider family (children, in-laws, etc) and situations where there is real mental illness. But worthwhile? Yes. Read it, put it down, come back to it and think about it. Accept its limitations, take advantage of what it has to offer, don´t expect a silver bullet. Try and be nice to your partner, and to yourself. ( )
  nandadevi | Apr 10, 2012 |
Simply put: a must. Everyone- married, engaged, or even single- should read (no, study) this book. It will inform and enrich the reader's life, giving an understanding where there had been before. ( )
1 vote Amethyst26 | May 11, 2010 |
Or How to avoid a bad relationship, or why you seem to only find the wrong type of relationship ( )
  toy28205 | Apr 15, 2009 |
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Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0060972920, Paperback)

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. By utilizing his program, Hendrix hopes you too will be able to solve your marital difficulties without the expense of a therapist. --Jenny Brown

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:55:36 -0400)

(see all 5 descriptions)

In Getting the Love You Want, Dr. Harville Hendrix presents the relationship skills that have helped hundreds of thousands of couples replace confrontation and criticism with a process of mutual support that facilitates healing and growth. This extraordinary practical guide describes the revolutionary technique of Imago Relationship Therapy, which combines a number of disciplines--including the behavioral sciences, depth psychology, social learning theory, Gestalt therapy, and interpersonal neurosciences, among others--to create a program that transforms conflict into creative tension that deepens connection and renews passion.… (more)

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