Top positive review
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Practical, useful book for motivated couples
on April 7, 2008
Couple Skills is written by three established authors in the self-help field. The authors argue that their approach is unique in that it focuses on action and change, thereby requiring the active involvement of the reader. Furthermore, they have designed each chapter of the book to stand alone, thus allowing readers to pick and choose the sections of the book which are most personally applicable.
As a clinical psychologist, I believe that the main strength of this book is its practical approach. Every chapter contains a wealth of helpful case examples, interactive worksheets, and constructive couple exercises. However, as the topic areas addressed become more complicated, so do the interventions, thus demanding an even greater level of participation from the reader. As the authors say in their introduction, this book is designed for couples who are willing to work; there must be a real commitment to engaging fully in the activities suggested in order to derive benefit. Topics addressed include listening, expressing feelings/needs, providing reinforcement, negotiating, problem-solving, coping with anger, and assertiveness techniques.
For couples who share joint motivation to work on their relationship and who are willing to put in both the time and effort required to learn and practice the skills set forth here, this book is likely to be useful and informative. However, those who feel more ambivalent towards their partners and/or are looking for a quick fix are likely to be disappointed in work-intensive approach necessary to obtain benefit from this skills-focused guide. Overall, I rate this book 4 1/2 stars, as it does require a high level of commitment.