|Author||Anne K. Fishel|
A thorough, thoughtful, wise guide to couples and couple therapy throughout the life cycle by a leading teacher of family therapy. This book is a great resource both to therapists and to couples navigating life's journey. Richly researched, well written--a great contribution to the couple therapy literature!
Anne Fishel has succinctly integrated research on couples in several phases of couple life. She uses this research to imagine how to be helpful to couples who come for couple therapy. The research becomes a jumping off point for elegantly framed questions to attend to issues the couple may be experiencing, but has not necessarily been addressed in therapy. For example the therapist might say: Many couples who are in this phase, (falling in love and making a commitment, having a first child, raising adolescents, dealing with children leaving home, the years before retirement, retirement and old age), experience this about (sex, intimacy, conflict, etc), is this something you have experienced? Would it be helpful to talk about it? She makes the distinction between sliding and intentionally deciding in any of these phases, and these questions may help couples to be intentional rather than drift as a way of getting out of couple trouble.
As a person training couple therapists I believe this book is a must read and a very helpful addition to the library of a couple therapist at any age and phase of their own lives, who has not yet reached a phase or who has forgotten what it was like when they were in that phase.
The research is not surprising; it is clarifying and and the clarity is a relief! Instead of worrying about being in trouble or being different from others, it allows the couple to experience being in what occurs as a normal set of challenges of that phase of life. Normalizing difficulties is a good starting place for addressing couple challenges; it gives people a place to stand to think about their own relationship.