Most people live in couple relationships for a good part of their lives, and many couples experience distress and seek help. To support the professionals who treat these couples, Dr Nelsen organizes material from systems and cognitive-behavioural approaches as well as ego psychology and object relations theory in one solid, nonjudgmental volume. It opens with a rationale for the eclectic position, drawing on Dr Nelsen's years of experience as a therapist, educator and author, and it reveals her appreciation and respect for couples' strengths from the initial alliance-building interview forward. The book advances one step at a time through the process of assessment and individual and joint evaluation to the appropriate strategies and inteventions for treating issues of communication, problem-solving, insight and intimacy.
Dr Nelsen is unfailingly attentive to sociocultural factors and, in keeping with her own professional expertise, gives thoughtful consideration to special circumstances: partners of the same sex or of different ethnicity; couples who have already separated; cases in which an extra-marital affair has been disclosed, or symptoms of anxiety, depression or personality disorder have surfaced; and narcissistic pairings, where both people manifest extreme sensitivity to hurt and blame.