Actually, It IS Your Parents' Fault : Why Your Romantic Relationship Isn't Working, and How to Fix It
Bestselling author Philip Van Munching and psychotherapist Dr. Bernie Katz team up to show readers
* how even our earliest childhood experiences dictate our relationship choices,
* how the unconscious elements of our personalities both attract and repel the people we become romantically involved with (often at the same time!)
*why breaking up is hard to do
* how to use this insight to fix their relationships
Dr. Katz's 25+ years of experience as a couples therapist informs this book, while Van Munching's solid sense of humor and conversational style brings readers a relationship book that is warm, funny, fascinating and readable.
Despite its reassuring title, readers troubled by romance snafus aren't completely off the hook; this clever self-help is for individuals who aren't afraid to confront their past, take some responsibility, lose their guilt and start breaking bad relationship habits. Written specifically for couples, author and columnist Van Munching (Boys Will Put You on a Pedestal So They can Look Up Your Skirt), along with practicing couples therapist Katz, gives a guided tour through the foundations of a healthy relationship, starting with the importance of self-awareness-a key component-and continuing through the process of reviving a romance. Utilizing common therapy jargon like "the relationship is the patient, not the individuals," and tried-and-true strategies like journaling, the text does resemble its predecessors and peers, but uses anecdotes and metaphors to elicit fresh insight, as in a comparison of the unconscious mind to a horror movie basement-a place where the answers lie, but no one ever wants to go. Though it's a bit of a bait-and-switch (the backpedaling begins with the introduction's title, "Okay, It's Not All Your Parents' Fault"), this is a welcoming guide that gives readers a long view of human relationships.
Copyright (c) Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
-- PUBLISHERS WEEKLY.
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St. Martin's Press
February 20, 2007
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Excerpt from Actually, It IS Your Parents' Fault by Philip Van Munching
Personality . . . or,
How You Became You
If you want to find out what someone knows, you might try handing him a test and a pen to take it with. If you want to find out who someone is, you might try flipping that test sheet over, breaking the pen in half, dripping its contents onto the blank page, and asking him what he sees in all that spilled ink.
At least, that was Rorschach's approach.
You've probably heard of Hermann Rorschach, whether you've ever actually taken his famous inkblot test or not. In 1921, Rorschach, a young Swiss psychiatrist, published a series of ten plates, each with random-looking (though, in reality, carefully designed) ink patterns. Some are black ink on a white background, and some have splashes of color added in. The ten plates comprise the Rorschach test, which for more than eight decades has been the subject of endless debate among psychologists.
Theoretically, the test is standardized: everyone given the Rorschach is supposed to be shown the ten plates in the exact same size, order, and facing the same direction. The test-giver is meant to present each without comment and answer any questions a subject might have with a series of prepared answers. In other words, if you take the Rorschach in Davenport, Iowa, and I take it in a little village in Costa Rica, we experience it in exactly the same way.
Which is to say you and I would both be asked to respond to the ten plates in the same order, a certain number of times. Our responses are meant to be completely our own, with no help or encouragement from our respective test-givers. And because there are no right or wrong answers--we are, after all, telling our testers what we "see" in basically random patterns--the standardized way in which we take the test theoretically ensures that our differing reactions to those cards are very telling about us as individuals. (If you see nothing but scary monsters, it's a safe bet you've got a great deal of anxiety, and if I see nothing but genitals . . . well, they might ask the men in the white lab coats to pick me up from the office after the test.)
The thing is, nearly a century after Rorschach gave his first inkblot test, there's still a lot of debate among mental health professionals as to its usefulness. Some argue that it's impossible to "standardize" a test like the Rorschach: how do you account for the effects of location, time of day, the mood of the subject, or how good the tester is at sticking to the test-giving script? If someone takes the inkblot test while experiencing hunger pains, can their results be fairly compared to those of someone who is perfectly comfortable? Others believe that, aside from finding basic areas of obsession, the test isn't reliable in predicting or diagnosing serious psychological disorders. In the eyes of many psychiatrists, psychologists, and therapists, the Rorschach test is so subjective that it proves absolutely nothing.
Which is just plain wrong, as anyone who grew up on Mister Rogers' Neighborhood can tell you.
The Rorschach test has, for nearly a century, offered a steady stream of evidence for one psychological fact that is beyond debate: no two human beings are exactly alike, personality-wise. For in all of the tests, given in all of the settings, no two people have ever responded to Hermann Rorschach's smears of ink in exactly the same way. In hundreds of thousands of tests, no two sets of results have ever matched up. Which just proves that Fred Rogers was right when, after putting on his sneakers and sweater at the start of every episode, he assured us that, "There's no one quite like you. You're special."
You are a unique constellation of thoughts, emotions, behaviors, motives, perceptions, values, and ways of relating to other people.