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Marriage at Midlife: Counseling Strategies and Analytical Tools

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Overview

"[This book] provides a perceptive, research based, and pragmatic approach to working with couples seeking reconnection after years of childrearing....Marriage at Midlife should take center stage on every counselor's bookshelf."

—Kathleen M. Galvin, PhD

Professor, Communication Studies,

Northwestern University

The middle period of married life-what the authors call the "centerstage"-is often the "make or break" point in a lifelong relationship. Marriage at Midlife provides counselors, mental health professionals, and marriage educators with the tools they need to assist couples who are experiencing the challenges of the post-childrearing years. The authors take a resilience-based approach to help couples preserve and improve long, satisfying relationships.

 

This book is enriched with the authors' experience with couples who have been married between 20 and 50 years. Each chapter contains an opening narrative about a real-life couple, a section identifying sources of distress, a section outlining the analytical tools needed for each challenge, and questions and exercises for clients. Throughout the book are bulleted lists with quick advice for couples on a range of topics, such as suggested shared activities or tips for managing stress.

Learn how to help couples:

 


• Reinvent and deepen their marriage through improved communication

Forgive past transgressions and choose new, meaningful, shared activities

Adapt to midlife challenges, such as job loss, relocation, and returning to school

Handle the stress of illness and caregiving

Redefine relationships with "boomerang kids," adult children, and grandchildren

 

With this book, counselors will obtain both the skills and the insight needed to help couples reimagine their relationships at this pivotal stage in their lives.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780826125620
  • Publisher: Springer Publishing Company, Incorporated
  • Publication date: 3/16/2009
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Pages: 288
  • Sales rank: 1,249,383
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 0.72 (d)

Meet the Author

Doug Kelley is Associate Professor of Communication Studies at Arizona State University's West campus. Professor Kelley studies communication in personal relationships, with a specific emphasis on marital interaction. His recent work has appeared in such outlets as the Journal of Social and Personal Relationships, Journal of Applied Gerontology, and Communication Quarterly. He is co-author, with Vince Waldron, of Communicating Forgiveness. In addition, Professor Kelley finds particular enjoyment in teaching and mentoring college students and conducting community workshops on various aspects of healthy relationships. Doug lives near the mountains in central Phoenix and spends most of his leisure time hiking, swimming, and kayaking with his wife, wife, Ann, his two boys, Daniel and Jonathan, and his two dogs, Allen and Billy.

Vince Waldron is Professor and Director of Graduate Studies at the Department of Communication Studies, Arizona State University, where he also is affiliated with the program in Aging and Lifespan Development. He researches the communication processes that promote longevity, satisfaction, and justice in personal and work relationships. Dr. Waldron's recent research publications include the book Communicating Forgiveness (with Douglas Kelley) and articles in such outlets as Journal of Social and Personal Relationships, Journal of Applied Gerontology, and Communication Quarterly. Professor Waldron founded the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute at Arizona State University and continues to serve as its research director. A dedicated teacher, Dr. Waldron is a recipient of a Professor of the Year award from the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching. He lives in Glendale, Arizona with is wife Kathleen and his daughters Emily and Laura.

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Table of Contents

Contributors

Preface

Chapter 1: Guiding Perspectives and Analytical Tools

Defining the "Centerstage" Marriage

The Empty Nest-an Empty Metaphor?

Our Research: How Did We Learn About Centerstage Marriages?

Five Couples: Five Different Challenges

How to Use This Book

A Guiding Perspective: Communicating Across the Life course

Accounting for Differences among Clients: Culture, Gender, and Religion

Understanding Centerstage Couples: Three Frameworks

"Best Practices" of Centerstage Couples

Concluding Thoughts: Remodeling the Empty Nest

References

PART 1: RECOUPLING: OPTIMIZING RELATIONAL PROCESSES

Chapter 2: Improving Communication

Reassessing Familiar Patterns

Building Communication Capacity

Sources of Distress

Analytical Tools

Working with Clients

Concluding Thoughts

References

Questions for Clients

Exercises

Defining Forgiveness as a Relational Negotiation

Why Forgive?

What Forgiveness Is Not

Sources of Distress

Analytical Tools

Working with Clients

Concluding Thoughts

References

Questions for Clients

Exercises

Chapter 4: Finding New and Meaningful Activities

Constraints on Activity During Childrearing

Midlife Transitions: Finding Fulfillment in New Patterns of Activity

Sources of Distress

Analytical Tools

Working with Clients

Emerging Opportunities for Meaningful Engagement: Examples for Clients

Significant Service

Concluding Thoughts

References

Questions for Clients

Exercises

PART 2: RETOOLING: ADAPTING to MIDLIFE EVENTS

Chapter 5: New Career Directions: Coping with Job Loss and Returning to School
Job Loss

Returning to School

Sources of Distress

Analytical Tools

Working with Clients

Concluding Thoughts

References

Questions for Clients

Exercises

Chapter 6: Managing Boundaries: Boomerang Kids, Adult Children, and Grandparenting
Boomerang Kids

Helping Adult Children

Grandparenting

Sources of Distress

Analytical Tools

Working with Clients

Concluding Thoughts

References

Questions for Clients

Exercises

Understanding the Relocation Experience

Chapter 7: Relocation at Midlife: Marking a New Era

Sources of Distress

Analytical Tools

Working with Clients

Concluding Thoughts

References

Sources of Distress

Analytical Tools

Working with Clients

Concluding Thoughts

References

Questions for Clients

Exercises

Chapter 9: Conclusion: Reimagining the Empty Nest: Helping Clients Think Differently

Alternative Metaphors

Best Practices Revisited

Appendix A: Resources

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