The overlapping territories of relationship, intimacy, sexuality and attachment are, for many of us, absolutely central to our lives. They are one of our richest sources of sustenance, fulfilment and joy, but also often of frustration, confusion and grief.
Wherever we find ourselves, learning to move more freely, bravely and creatively with the issues that get stirred here is essential if our relationships are to thrive, and be vital resources for ourselves and others.
In this section, I have gathered some of the richer voices I know that speak to these topics. Each in their own way offers ways of seeing and guidance that you may find enriching. If you feel there is something valuable I’ve left out, feel free to mail me: firstname.lastname@example.org If I like it, I’ll be happy to include it here.
(most of these titles are available on sounds true or via audible membership)
HEALING YOUR ATTACHMENT WOUNDS
How to Create Deep and Lasting Intimate Relationships, Diane Poole Heller
This is one of the more accessible presentations of how Attachment Style affects our intimate relationships. It’s particularly valuable for explaining the primitive mechanisms of attachment security and how, when these are not reliable, we can become distressed and dysregulated in ways that undermine our relationships.
“From our earliest years, teaches Diane Poole Heller, we develop an attachment style that follows us through life, replaying in our intimate relationships, with our children, and at work. And traumatic events can deeply affect that core relational blueprint. With Healing Your Attachment Wounds, a pioneer in attachment theory and trauma resolution brings together these two fields to help us understand and benefit from their complementary principles and methods. This in-depth audio learning program sheds light on the three styles of insecure attachment - Avoidant, Ambivalent, and Disorganized - and the ideal fourth style of Secure attachment, where we enjoy a foundation of safety, adaptability, and intimacy with others.
Terry Real is earthy, idiosyncratic, and keen to convey his confrontational but empathic way of working with couples over many decades. This accessible audiobook captures the spirit of his work. How can you deepen your relationship even when you and your partner disagree, fight, or let each other down? "Intimacy isn't something you have. It's something you do," teaches Terry Real. "It's a minute-by-minute practice of connecting to others through empathy, vulnerability, and accountability." With Fierce Intimacy, Real’s pitch is to cherish your partner, yourself, and your relationship in equal measure. With an emphasis on standing up for ourselves for the good of the relationship, but learning not to defend ourselves in habitual ways, his approach is provocative, engaging and enriching.
Practical Tools and Wisdom from the Eastern and Western Traditions
The emphasis of Bruce Tift’s programme is not exclusively on relationship, but on the balance of East and West. Nonetheless, as a couples therapist and long term Mahayana Buddhist Practitioner, Tift is engaging, insightful and confessional about the reality of relational life. Buddhism gives us powerful tools for breaking free of our own identity drama and our fascination with day-to-day problems, yet it does not address how early childhood experience shapes our adult lives. Western psychotherapy provides a wide range of proven techniques for understanding and untangling the development of our neurotic patterns, but it is only beginning to recognize the powerful impact of exploring awareness itself. intimate relationships as a pathway to spiritual awakening, Bruce Tift presents seven immersive sessions of insights, wisdom, and practical instruction for realizing the fundamental freedom that is your birthright.
In the field of relationship psychology, Harville Hendrix has transformed our understanding of what makes us fall in love - and what makes it last. This audiobook is based on Imago Relationship therapy, co-created with his wife Helen LaKelly Hunt, With Finding and Keeping Love, this world-renowned relationship therapist brings you the most important practices and insights from Imago therapy distilled from more than three decades of working with singles, couples, and parents. This podcast interview with Alanis Morisette will give a good introduction to his approach.
Psychologists Goldbart and Wallin identify six capacities of love - that are each necessary to a long-term, stable love relationship: the capacities for erotic involvement, for merging, for idealization, for integration, for "refinding", and for self-transcendence. Theirs is a sophisticated but accessible approach based on solid psychoanalytic theory while creating a completely new model for love relationships that also makes intuitive sense.
Undefended Love, Jett Psaris
Undefended Love is pitched more at couples (or individuals in couples) committed to deep inner inquiry and personal transformation: ‘An inspiring and practical approach to lasting, loving relationships. With clarity and depth, this book guides readers to challenge the emotionally protective barriers of personality so they can become liberated to love from an undefended heart. The writing is crisp, the message is clear, the effect profound. ‘
—Jennifer & John Welwood, author of Journey of the Heart and Love and Awakening
Esther Perel: Where Should We Begin
Probably the best Podcast on relationship, and among the most valuable podcasts on any topic, Esther Perel’s Where Should We Begin, is deeply educational and a wonderful resource for couples. Essentially, it condenses genuine one-off therapy encounters with different couples, and, in doing so, deepens our understanding of relationship and exposes us to rich, provocative conversations. Perel is widely recognized as one of the world’s most original and insightful thinkers about couples, sexuality, and the peculiar paradoxes besetting modern marriage in the Western world.