Monday, September 23, 2013

The Husbands and Wives Club

My goal is to read 100 books by the end of 2013.  I just finished book 63.

The Husbands and Wives Club: a year in the life of a couples therapy group by Laurie Abraham

For one year, journalist Laurie Abraham followed five couples as they went through the process of group marriage therapy.  This book is an expansion of her article "Can This Marriage Be Saved?" originally published in The New York Times Magazine .  

My Opinion:
Negative reviews are difficult to write but here I go...
There were two aspects to the book - the personal information about the couples and the technical information about theories.  Except for a few "aha" moments (the part about projective identification was especially fascinating), this book didn't hold my interest.
The way the author presented the information about the couples seemed skewed.  I'm not suggesting she put words in anyone's mouth, I just think what she chose to include and how she framed it was biased; she gave people she liked more leeway and more time in the book to justify their actions, and there was one person she absolutely threw under the bus.
As far as the theories and prominent therapists mentioned, I got lost and was skimming past the technical stuff by the end of the book.  I was very surprised by this given the fact that I have a psychology degree and have at least a passing familiarity with most of the things she mentioned.  I can't put my finger on exactly what the problem was, but it almost seemed like the author was reciting information without taking the time to actually understand what she was saying or finding a point of reference.
Based on the author's writing style, I would assume the article this book idea originated from would be better (condensed version focusing on one or two couples) but I'm not interested enough to find out.

Quote from the Book:
"The power in the group gives people permission, at the same time as it holds them back." ~ Judith Coche

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