Understanding the differences between the "package" and "baggage" are central and vital to a couple's ability to achieve stability, success, and fulfillment. The book examines specific issues, identifying characteristic problems that weaken couples' relationships and presenting:
• principles that may be applied to address the problems
• exercises that may be undertaken as aids to solution o communication (i.e., listening and hearing, as well as verbalizing)
o the "business of marriage"
o the "exchange of favors"
o the risks of turning partners into parents or children o the concept of mutual independence.
Descriptions, narratives, and dialogue derived from cases and clients provide the necessary fleshing out of the skeletal principles that structure the book's argument. No viable guide could work without them. Quoted dialogue heightens the sense of reality of what goes on in therapy.
Finally, a word about the cartoons that accompany the text. Humor is a valuable weapon in the arsenal of human defense against life's assaults. The cartoon are offered with three goals in mind:
• to illustrate particular points
• to suggest to people who see something of themselves in these points that they may benefit from the emotional luxury of laughing at themselves
• to let readers find some comfort in the fact that they are rarely alone, that their own particular problems are probably shared as common human experience-or else they could not be subjected to a humorous treatment.
"Dr. Isaacs has fashioned an outstanding account of the process and content of marital counseling. His trenchant analyses of a wide variety of cases from his practice are accompanied by keenly selected and often hilarious cartoons illustrating the points he makes. A highly valuable read for both practitioners and couples considering use of their services." Edward J. Jordan, Ph.D., Clinical Psychologist
"This is a wise and good-natured book, replete with stories of people struggling to make sense of their closest relationships. It should be required reading for all marriage therapists and the couples they serve." Gordon Livingston, M.D., author of Too Soon Old, Too Late Smart
"Neil Isaacs's new book, The Package and the Baggage, is a literate, readable and practical treatise on working with couples in therapy. Dr. Isaacs's use of humor and straight talk gives the reader insight into how relationships work and how to work with relationships." Linda Schwartz, LCSW-C