Academic journal article Journal of Marital and Family Therapy

Professional Books -- Overcoming Relationship Impasses: Ways to Initiate Change When Your Partner Won't Help by B. L. Duncan and J. W. Rock

Academic journal article Journal of Marital and Family Therapy

Professional Books -- Overcoming Relationship Impasses: Ways to Initiate Change When Your Partner Won't Help by B. L. Duncan and J. W. Rock

Article excerpt

Duncan, B., L., & Rock, J. W. (1991). Overcoming relationship impasses: Ways to initiate change when your partner won't help. New York: Insight Books, 270 pp., $22.95.

The authors ostensibly address this book to the general reading public, and it can probably be appreciated and used by college educated readers who have some knowledge of systems and family development. I believe, however, that the book will prove much more useful to marriage and family therapists and trainees; it will be a required text in a course I teach on marital therapy.

Duncan and Rock' s text is clear and well-organized. Complex ideas (e.g., constructivism, second-order change) are presented in a simple, easy-to-grasp fashion without being condescending. There is a nicely balanced mix of explanations and examples. The examples are relevant and credible.

Readers who are familiar with the brief therapy approach of Weakland, Watzlawick, and others at the Mental Research Institute will feel at home with this volume. Readers who practice therapy from a psychodynamic or intergenerational approach may feel challenged. Duncan and Rock build on the basic ideas of the MRI group and provide some clear directions about how to apply these ideas in resolving very difficult marital issues. Many therapists who at times see just one partner to a marital dispute later wonder if they have somehow shortchanged their client by not insisting on seeing both partners (even though things improved). …

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