By John Birtchnell
In his earlier book, How Humans Relate, John Birtchnell proposed that relating occurs along two axes, a horizontal one concerning becoming close versus being distant and a vertical one concerning being upper versus being lower. He called closeness, distance, upperness, and lowerness the relating objectives, and he proposed that people need to acquire competence in attaining and maintaining these objectives. In this book, he argues that the task of psychotherapists is to identify and correct, within these axes, people's relating incompetencies, and to enable people to cope with the relating incompetencies of others. He considers this to be the case across all psychotherapies.