You hear and read a lot about ways to improve your relationship. But if you’ve tried these without much success, you’re not alone. Many highly reactive couples—pairs that are quick to argue, anger, and blame—need more than just the run-of-the-mill relationship advice to solve their problems in love. When destructive emotions are at the heart of problems in your relationship, no amount of effective communication or intimacy building will fix what ails it. If you’re part of a “high-conflict” couple, you need to get control of your emotions first, to stop making things worse, and only then work on building a better relationship.
This book adapts the powerful techniques of dialectical behavior therapy (DBT) into skills you can use to tame out-of-control emotions that flare up in your relationship. Using mindfulness and distress tolerance techniques, you’ll learn how to deescalate angry situations before they have a chance to explode into destructive fights. Other approaches will help you disclose your fears, longings, and other vulnerabilities to your partner and validate his or her experiences in return. You’ll discover ways to manage problems with negotiation, not conflict, and to find true acceptance and closeness with the person you love the most.
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This is a long awaited book! Fruzzetti is a master clinician who does rigorous science in order to provide those of us doing treatment and those in need of it something that works. This is hope for all of us working with individuals, couples and families who suffer. Thank you, Alan, for this timely and important work.
—Suzanne Witterholt, MD, distinguished fellow of the American Psychiatric Association
and director of Ananda Services for Dialectical Behavior Therapy in the Department of Psychiatry at the University of Minnesota
Fruzzetti is a leader in work with high-conflict couples and families. This much-awaited book provides an opportunity to learn his techniques and strategies, presented in his unique teaching style that is so effective. The book is a must for every DBT program as well as all those working within the field.
—Perry D. Hoffman, Ph.D., president of the National Education Alliance for Borderline Personality Disorder, New York
A warm and professional guide following in the tradition of acceptance and compassion. A book on how to handle love and stay connected even in difficult circumstances. We have waited for it!
—Anna Kåver, psychologist and author with Karolinska Hospital, Stockholm, Sweden
The High Conflict Couple performs a major public service. Fruzzetti’s approach starts with an important principle: that dysregulated emotions are the core difficulty for high-conflict couples. From this he provides step-by-step practical methods designed to enhance acceptance, intimacy, and communication based on the latest research regarding emotion regulation and his own vast experience in working with couples and families. In essence, this is an excellent book, useful for both clinicians and couples regardless of the severity of their difficulties.
—Thomas R. Lynch, Ph.D., associate professor in the Departments of Psychiatry and Psychology and Neuroscience and director of the Cognitive Behavior Research and Treatment Program at Duke University
About the author:
Alan E. Fruzzetti, Ph.D., is associate professor of psychology and director of the Dialectical Behavior Therapy and Research Program at the University of Nevada, Reno. He provides extensive training, supervision, and consultation for DBT treatment programs and DBT research in the United States and abroad.
Fruzzetti received his BA from Brown University and his Ph.D. from the University of Washington in Seattle. His research focuses on models of major psychopathology/severe behavior problems (e.g., borderline personality disorder, family violence, or chronic depression) in the context of couples and families, and the development and evaluation of effective treatments for these problems. In particular, he focuses on the further development, evaluation, and training of dialectical behavior therapy (DBT) with individuals, couples and families for chronic or severe individual and/or family distress.
Fruzzetti is also research director and member of the board of directors of the National Educational Alliance for Borderline Personality Disorder and a codeveloper of the Family Connections Program. He has provided extensive DBT training in the United States, Europe, and Australia. He has authored or coauthored dozens of scholarly articles and book chapters on this and related topics.
Foreword writer Marsha M. Linehan, Ph.D., is professor of psychology and director of the Behavioral Research and Therapy Clinics (BRTC) at the University of Washington in Seattle, WA. She is author of Cognitive Behavioral Treatment of Borderline Personality Disorder and Skills Training Manual for Treating Borderline Personality Disorder.