Fear of Intimacy / Edition 1

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In Fear of Intimacy, the authors bring almost 40 years of clinical experience to bear in challenging the usual ways of thinking about couples and families. They argue that relationships fail not for the commonly cited reasons, but because psychological defenses formed in childhood act as a barrier to closeness in adulthood. A wide range of cross-generational case studies and powerful personal accounts illustrate how the "fantasy bond," a once-useful but now destructive form of self-parenting, jeopardizes meaningful attachments. Written in clear, jargon-free language, Fear of Intimacy shows how therapists can help couples identify and overcome the messages of the internal "voice" that fosters distortions of the self and loved ones. Related issues such as interp ersonal ethics and the role of stereotyping are also discussed. The authors' innovative approach will be of interest to therapists and couples alike.

"...shows therapists & couples how to help improve interpersonal intimate relationships...discusses interpersonal ethics & the role of stereotyping...includes many case studies & personal accounts.

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Editorial Reviews

From The Critics
Robert Firestone and Joyce Catlett bring almost 40 years of combined clinical experience to bear in Fear Of Intimacy, challenging traditional ways of thinking about couples and families. They argue that adult interpersonal and familial relationships fail because of psychological defenses formed in childhood acting as a barrier to closeness in adulthood. A range of cross-generation case studies and personal accounts illustrate and document how the "fantasy bond" has become a destructive form of self-parenting, jeopardizing meaningful attachments. An important, scholarly, and "user friendly" addition to psychology and counseling libraries, Fear Of Intimacy is impressively written in clear, jargon-free language making the work easily accessible to psychologists and counselors seeking to help couples identify and overcome distortions of the self, thereby fostering healthy bonding and relations with their loved ones.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781557987204
  • Publisher: American Psychological Association
  • Publication date: 1/28/1999
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 358
  • Sales rank: 576,812
  • Product dimensions: 6.92 (w) x 9.94 (h) x 0.93 (d)

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments vii
Preface ix
Introduction 3
I. Foundations 11
Chapter 1. The Challenge of Intimate Relationships 13
Chapter 2. Why Relationships Fail 33
Chapter 3. An Ethical Perspective: Human Rights Issues in Personal Relationships 53
Chapter 4. The Ideal Couple Relationship 77
Chapter 5. Characteristics of the Ideal Family 99
II. Psychodynamics of Relationships 121
Chapter 6. Inwardness: Self-Protective Patterns That Restrict Emotional Transactions Between Partners 123
Chapter 7. Remedial Procedures: Experiences That Affect Inward Patterns in the Couple and Family 143
Chapter 8. The Fantasy Bond in Couple Relationships 163
Chapter 9. Withholding in Couple and Family Relationships 181
Chapter 10. Men 193
Chapter 11. Women 207
III. Countering the Inner Voice: Methods and Theory 225
Chapter 12. Voices Affecting Intimacy 227
Chapter 13. The Therapeutic Process in Couples Therapy 245
Chapter 14. A Pilot Study Applying Voice Therapy With Four Couples: Clinical Material From a Series of Specialized Group Discussions 271
Chapter 15. Transference, the Therapeutic Alliance, and Love 301
References 315
Author Index 341
Subject Index 347
About the Authors 357
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Customer Reviews

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Sort by: Showing 1 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted December 21, 1999


    I read Fear of Intimacy at a time in my life when I felt I would never ever be happy in a 'love' relationship with a man - no matter how hard I tried. And I tried very hard indeed, over the years, to 'work out my relationship stuff'. I read self-help books, I did therapy, I explored spirituality, all as part of my commitment to embetter myself. My entire adult life I was convinced that all I wanted was 'to love' and 'be loved'. Yet all of my relationships with men were completely miserable, 5 % joy, 95% suffering. Fear of Intimacy was a real eye-opener for me in that I came to understand for the first time on a cellular level how little I knew about genuine, healthy love. How I had, for decades, engaged in addictive psychological behaviours in 'intimate' relationships that were really a repetition of pscylogical patterns imprinted on my psyche in growing up. These emotional dynamics had little to do with 'love', and everything to do with a kind of illusory attachment Fear of Intimacy describes as the 'Fantasy Bond'. Through Fear of Intimacy's analysis of the 'Fantasy Bond' and psychological defences rooted in childhood, it became crystal clear to me that what I'd been chasing all those years was the illusion of love, a fantasy, wherein I projected my unfulfilled cravings for nurturing, my inner emptiness onto a man, my 'ultimate rescuer', whom I really knew nothing about, and never related to as a flesh and blood human being. When I said 'I love you', I always in fact meant 'Please love me'! And it was never enough. It was tough to face the psychological reality of the 'death pact' of all of my relationships - which is how Fear of Intimacy describes the state of unaliveness most couple fall into after the initial honeymoon face, when they relate to each other from a place of projecting their fantasies of 'love' onto one another. Fear of Intimacy provides some excellent tools to begin to identify and change life-long patterns of acrimonious 'relating'. Precisely because these patterns are deeply imprinted on our psyches, we need to understand that much inner work is need, both on our own and with our 'intimate' partners to make things better. At first, I was distraught by this realisation. More painful inner work, I thought??? I've already done SO much... My sole consolation is that we suffer in what we think are 'intimate' relationships anyway - with zero hope of real change unless we rock the boat. So why not give it one more try and face down our innermost fears that keep us in emotional bondage. I feel I'm finally ready to step out from behind my fantasies of love and confront my own fear of intimacy. I'm very excited to discover where the process will take me. I may lose my Prince Charming along the way, but I'm now really curious to discover what/who else is 'out there'!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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