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Undefended Love Paperback – October 30, 2000

4.9 out of 5 stars 94 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews


This beautifully written work is a stunning breakthrough in the field of books on relationships. Its vision of direct, unmediated love could not be more original. The long-term experience of its authors, two veteran therapists, brings authority and compassion to every page. I was deeply moved by how much 'new' there is to learn about love-of the self as well as others-and how quickly the transformative power of this work takes hold.
—Patricia Holt, former book review editor, San Francisco Chronicle

An inspiring and practical approach to lasting, loving relationships. With clarity and depth, this book guides readers to challenge the emotionally protective barriers of personality so they can become liberated to love from an undefended heart. The writing is crisp, the message is clear, the effect profound.
—Jennifer & John Welwood, author of Journey of the Heart and Love and Awakening

I immediately found myself underlining ideas on almost every page. Psaris and Lyons' methods make so much sense; This book shows exactly how to use our biggest difficulties as the keys to becoming more deeply authentic, in love, and happily commited. A major achievement!
—Carol Adrienne, author of The Celestine Prophesy: An Experiential Guide and The Purpose of Your Life

There is a new paradigm of relationship emerging from the shattered marriages of the past forty years. For the authors the key is a new kind of love, a love that is not burdened by the host of selves that are designed to keep us safe and separate from each other. Most of all, Undefended Love is about a totally new kind of intimacy that is possible when one's heart is opened to the deeper possibilities of conscious relationship.
—Hal & Sidra Stone, co-authors of Embracing Ourselves and Embracing Each Other

This is a remarkable book. It is full of warmth and humanity, while also being a wise and insightful work that is obviously the product of real-world experience in healing broken relationships. Best of all, however, is how the authors have placed their work in a spiritual context that compellingly shows how loss of contact with Essence is at the root of our problems being with ourselves and with others. It is one of those rare books that can actually change lives.
—Don Richard Riso & Russ Hudson, The Wisdom of the Enneagram

“If Intimacy is understood as stripping away you outer, more public ways of being and sharing your inner life with another, the Psaris and Lyons have written the definitive guidebook. Their description of the conditioned self and the journey to authenticity is not only precise and thorough, but extremely readable as well. For anyone on a journey to intimacy, this book will be a great delight to read.”
—Susan Page, How One of You Can Bring Two of You Together and The 8 Essential Traits of Couples Who Thrive

“Our deep and aching desire for enduring love drives many of us repeatedly into relationships that offer little chance of lasting fulfillment. In Undefended Love, Psaris and Lyons go straight to the heart of what is most important to all of us: how to be in an intimate relationship that nourishes and sustains us and our partner. Undefended Love calls us to an expression of the courage and compassion needed to authentically know who we are and fearlessly share that truth with another person, to come home to ourselves, and experience the powerful joy of truly intimate loving. It is a jewel of a book.”
—Mary Manin Morrissey, Building Your Field of Dreams

About the Author

Jett Psaris,is a cofounder of the Conscious Living Center, a counseling and workshop center in the San Francisco Bay Area.


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 176 pages
  • Publisher: New Harbinger Publications, Inc.; 1st edition (October 30, 2000)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1572242086
  • ISBN-13: 978-1572242081
  • Product Dimensions: 0.5 x 6 x 8.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 9.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (94 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #104,987 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
I have been a couples therapist for more than twenty years, and have never felt satisfied with the efficacy of existing approaches. In my clinical opinion, the Undefended Love model is the most exciting development in the field. I have never seen such a sensitive, compelling, respectful process. What Jett Psaris and Marlena Lyons have done in less than 200 pages is present a comprehensive theory of human development, describe the personality as an intricate self-defense structure, and delineate the ways our distorted beliefs about ourselves create identities that hide our vulnerability as we present ourselves to the world and even to those to whom we feel close.
The ways in which these resulting structures prevent us from being able to sustain an intimate bond are discovered by way of a series of questions and processes which lead us to the only source of transformation, ourselves.
Their model addresses human beings on every level, intellectual, emotional, spiritual, and regardless of where the individual is in their life, the processes steadily lead the person closer to the undefended self.
Their concepts are original and arresting: essential self, cracked identity, compensatory identity. The simplicity of their techniques for guiding individuals and couples into their internal landscape belies the power that they possess to bring a person to self-discovery and self-responsibility. The arrow is artfully turned from outside to inside, the road to intimacy, first with self, then with the other.
Psaris and Lyons provide the reader with the means to explore themselves and their relationships in a way that gently expands their capacity to create fulfilment. I highly recommend this book to mental health professionals and to anyone interested in the human condition. And, all of this wisdom is wrapped in beautiful language. It is a treasure, and a pleasure to read.
Gerda K.Young, Ph.D.
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Format: Paperback
Undefended Love is by far one of the most insightful explanations of our human condition. The concepts are expressed clearly and in a manner that invites the reader to participate in the process of self discovery. While many of the ideas may be familiar to those who have read self help books or books about relationships, this book makes it possible to begin a personal and meaningful journey to embracing your true self. We shouldn't try to fulfill our needs through someone else,but rather find within ourselves the ability to satisfy our own needs with the magic that resides in all of us. Psaris and Lyons challenge our beliefs and guide us to an understanding that painful feelings are clues to our core identity and should be investigated not avoided if we intend to deepen our relationship with ourselves and others. They broaden our thinking by explaining that we all implement behavioral strategies to avoid uncomfortable or painful feelings in thr belief that it is necessary to cover up our vulnerabilities. We mistakenly describe a successful relationship as one in which we get all our needs met, but this is both myth and mistake. We must look to deepen our basic appreciation of ourself in order to connect intimately with someone else.
The book is unusual in that the authors provide us with the questions we need to ask in order to begin to uncover our own truths. They provide us with a road map that helps the reader to manuever successfully through the obstacles we all use to protect the image that we have created for others to see because we are either lack the courage to show our true selves or we don't know who we really are. If you believe in love, then this is a must read! I loved this book so much that I bought 7 copies over the last 4 months to give to friends and my therapist!!
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This is a well-written book on love and relationships that goes way beyond the average popular psychology book. This book puts a simple powerful model and practical tools for deep inquiry into people's hands. The authors' approach is deep and effective. For those willing to do the work as well as read about the concepts, this book will be very rewarding and potentially transforming.

Undefended Love borrows a lot of ideas from Enneagram theory and from psychology. A primary assumption of the book is that in order for change to occur you must get beyong your compensatory personality into authentic emotional experience. It is only by being in the moment and feeling what is behind the personality that one can truly grow. It is a very transpersonal approach to development and the analogies and examples will be easy for the average person to identify with.

I work in the mental health field and in business. I love this book because the models are easy to apply and they really work. If you are looking to increase the intimacy in your relationship or with yourself, this book will definitely help you, especially if you have difficulty being in touch with your emotions.

The gist of this model is that your surface personality exists in layers and was built up over time. It was constructed to protect you from hurt, but it also shields you from what is going on at the deepest levels of your Being. The principles in this text help you to understand your defensive mechanisms and disidentify from them, so that you have a felt sense of your core wound or deepest need. By feeling into this space, this model suggests that you can experience a felt shift and that your authentic Self will emerge naturally from engaging in this process.
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