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Feeling Good Together: The secret to making troubled relationships work
 
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Feeling Good Together: The secret to making troubled relationships work [Format Kindle]

Dr David Burns

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Chapter 1

What the Experts Say

We all want friendly, rewarding relationships with other people, but we often end up with the exact opposite—hostility, bitterness, and distrust. Why is this? Why can’t we all just get along?

There are two competing theories. Most experts endorse the deficit theory. According to this theory, we can’t get along because we don’t know how. In other words, we fight because we lack the skills we need to solve the problems in our relationships. When we were growing up, we learned reading, writing, and arithmetic, but there weren’t any classes on how to communicate or solve relationship problems.

Other experts believe that we can’t get along because we don’t really want to. This is called the motivational theory. In other words, we fight because we lack the motivation to get close to the people we’re at odds with. We end up embroiled in hostility and conflict because the battle is rewarding.

The Deficit Theory

Most mental health professionals, including clinicians and researchers, endorse the deficit theory. They’re convinced that we wage war simply because we don’t know how to make love. We desperately want loving, satisfying relationships but lack the skills we need to develop them.

Of course, different experts have different ideas about what the most important interpersonal skill deficits are. Behavior therapists, for example, believe that our problems with getting along result from a lack of communication and problem--solving skills. So when someone criticizes us, we may get defensive when we should be listening. We may pout and put the other person down instead of sharing our feelings openly, or we may resort to nagging and coercion in order to get our way. We don’t use systematic negotiation or problem--solving skills, so the tensions escalate.

A related theory attributes relationship conflict to the idea that men and women are inherently different. This theory was popularized by Deborah Tannen in her best--selling book You Just Don’t Understand: Women and Men in Conversation and by John Gray in his best--selling book Men Are from Mars, Women Are from Venus. These authors argue that men and women can’t get along because they use language so differently. The idea is that women use language to express feelings, whereas men use language to solve problems. So when a woman tells her husband that she’s upset, he may automatically try to help her with the problem that’s bugging her because that’s how his brain is wired. But she simply wants him to listen and acknowledge how she feels, so she gets more upset when he tries to “help” her. They both end up feeling frustrated and misunderstood. You may have observed this pattern in yourself and someone you’re not getting along with, such as your spouse.

Cognitive therapists have a different idea about the deficits that lead to relationship problems. They emphasize that all of our feelings result from our thoughts and attitudes, or cognitions. In other words, the things other people do—like being critical or rudely cutting in front of us in traffic—don’t actually upset us. Instead, we get upset because of the way we think about these events.

This theory may resonate with your personal experience. When you’re mad at someone, you may have noticed that your mind is flooded with negative thoughts. You tell yourself, “He’s such a jerk! He only cares about himself. He -shouldn’t be like that. What a loser!” When you feel upset, these negative thoughts seem overwhelmingly valid, but they actually contain a variety of thinking errors, or cognitive distortions, listed on pages 6–7.

One of the most interesting things about the cognitive theory is the idea that anger and interpersonal conflict ultimately result from a mental con. In other words, you’re telling yourself things that aren’t entirely true when you’re fighting with someone. However, you don’t notice that you’re fooling yourself because the distorted thoughts act as self--fulfilling prophecies, so they seem completely valid. For example, if you tell yourself that the person you’re annoyed with is a jerk, you’ll treat him like a jerk. As a result, he’ll get angry and start acting like a jerk. Then you’ll tell yourself that you were right all along and that he really is a jerk.

Cognitive therapy is based on the idea that when you change the way you think, you can change the way you feel and behave. In other words, if we can learn to think about other people in a more positive and realistic way, it will be far easier to resolve conflicts and develop rewarding personal and professional relationships.

This theory sounds great on paper, but it’s not that easy to change the thinking patterns that trigger anger and conflict. That’s because there’s a side of us that clings to these distortions. It can feel good to look down on someone we’re angry or annoyed with. It gives us a feeling of moral superiority. We just don’t want to see that we’re distorting our view of that person.

Some experts claim that the most important deficit that leads to relationship problems is a lack of self--esteem. In other words, if you don’t love and respect yourself, you’ll have a hard time loving anyone else because you’ll always be trying to get something from the other person that you can only give yourself. This theory has been popular in our schools. The idea is that if we help children develop greater self--esteem when they’re growing up, they’ll be able to develop warm, trusting relationships with others and won’t be so attracted to violence, crime, and gang membership as they get older.

Other experts believe that relationship distress results from a different kind of deficit called relationship burnout. You may have noticed that when you aren’t getting along with someone, the negativity nearly always escalates over time. You and your spouse may criticize each other more and more and stop doing all the fun things you did when you first met and began to date. Pretty soon, your marriage becomes a source of constant stress, frustration, and loneliness, and all the joy and caring you once experienced has disappeared. At this point, separation and divorce begin to seem like highly desirable alternatives.

Therapists who endorse the burnout theory will encourage you and your partner to accentuate the positive. For example, you could schedule more fun, rewarding activities together so you can begin to enjoy each other’s company again. You might also do several loving, thoughtful things for each other every day, such as calling your partner from work just to say hello, or bringing your partner a cup of coffee in the morning to show you really care.

Many therapists believe that relationship problems ultimately result from a lack of trust and the fear of vulnerability. Let’s say that you’re ticked off because of something that a colleague or family member said to you. On the surface, you’re angry, but underneath the anger, you feel hurt and put down. You’re reluctant to let the other person know that you feel hurt because you’re afraid of looking weak or foolish. Instead, you lash out, get defensive, and try to put the other person down. Although the tension escalates, your anger protects you because you don’t have to make yourself vulnerable or risk rejection. In other words, the basic deficit is a lack of trust— we fight because of our fears of intimacy. Therapists who endorse this theory will encourage you to accept and share the hurt and tender feelings that are hiding underneath all the anger, hostility, and tension.

Psychoanalytic and psychodynamic therapists believe that all of these interpersonal deficits and problems with loving each other ultimately stem from painful experiences and wounds we endured when we were growing up. The idea is that if you grew up in a dysfunctional family, you may subconsciously re--create the same painful patterns over and over as an adult. For example, if your father constantly criticized you and put you down, you may have felt like you were never quite good enough to earn his love. As an adult, you may be attracted to men who are equally critical of you because you feel like your role in a loving relationship is to be put down by someone who’s powerful and judgmental, and you may still be desperately trying to get the love you never got from your father.

When I first began treating people with relationship problems, I believed all of these deficit theories, so I naturally tried to help my patients correct the deficits that were causing their conflicts. I enthusiastically taught troubled couples how to communicate more skillfully, how to solve their problems more systematically, and how to treat each other in a more loving way. I also taught them how to boost their self--esteem and modify the distorted thoughts and self-- defeating behavior patterns that triggered all the anger and resentment. Sometimes we analyzed the past to try to trace the origins of these patterns.

I was surprised to discover that none of these techniques worked very well. It -wasn’t that they weren’t ever effective—individuals who learned to listen, shared their feelings more openly, and treated others with greater love and respect often experienced immediate and dramatic improvements in their relationships with other people. But these individuals were few and far between. Most of the people who complained about their relationships with other people -didn’t actually seem motivated to use any of these techniques. In fact, many of them -didn’t seem interested in doing anything whatsoever to develop more loving, satisfying relationships with the people they were at odds with. They claimed that they sincerely wanted a more loving and satisfyi...

Revue de presse

Praise for Feeling Good Together from mental-health professionals:

“This is the finest work of its kind and will stand for generations as the relationship book."
--Matthew May, MD, adjunct clinical faculty, Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences at the Stanford University School of Medicine

Feeling Good Together should be required reading for all couples who want to create a happy, healthy relationship.” --Tori Kelley, PhD, LMHC, owner, Central Florida Mental Health, Inc.

“Finally, a relationship repair tool kit without fluff or camouflage. Change is a choice for brave and daring souls. Thank you, Dr. Burns!” --Nancy Ellen Lee, MFT, PhD

“Implementing these ideas has been truly life changing. It works!” --Mischa Routon, MFT

“The relationship strategies in this book are simple but profound. This is Dr. Burns’s most seminal work. “ --Jan Stanfield, MFT/LCSW

“A powerful set of tools (and even a tool kit) to evaluate, repair, or enhance our relationships. Feeling Good Together is destined to become a classic.” --Hugh Baras, PhD, adjunct clinical assistant professor, Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences at the Stanford University School of Medicine

Détails sur le produit

  • Format : Format Kindle
  • Taille du fichier : 1655 KB
  • Nombre de pages de l'édition imprimée : 288 pages
  • Editeur : Ebury Digital (30 mars 2010)
  • Vendu par : Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Langue : Anglais
  • ASIN: B003ELY7S8
  • Synthèse vocale : Activée
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Amazon.com: 4.7 étoiles sur 5  50 commentaires
45 internautes sur 45 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 This book presents all of his teachings on marriage in one well organized place 9 avril 2009
Par Dean Bender - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format:Relié|Achat vérifié
This is an excellent book for a person who wants to improve their relationship with others and most especially with their spouse. And yes, I have read the entire book. Only one person needs to read the book and apply the learning. That is enough to start a chain reaction throughout the relationship. Dr. Burns also shows how these same principles apply to less important relationships. If you have read all of his other books and listened to his training tapes you may not read much that is new but he has put it all together in one spot with thorough explanations and examples for all to learn and benefit from. As a marriage therapist this book is included in my bibliography.
41 internautes sur 42 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 This book is an outstanding choice for anyone dealing with relationship problems. 16 mars 2010
Par And Then Some Publishing LLC - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format:Relié
Feeling Good Together: The Secret to Making Troubled Relationships Work
Review by Richard L. Weaver II, Ph.D.

Burns' previous book, Feeling Good, sold over four million copies; this book has the potential of doing the same. It is outstanding. In this 255-page book, there are six parts and 30 chapters -- approximately 8 pages per chapter. Some of the intriguing chapter titles include, "Why We Secretly Love to Hate," "Three Ideas That Can Change Your Life," "How Good Is Your Relationship? The Relationship Satisfaction Test," "The Price of Intimacy," "Good Communication vs. Bad Communication," "How We Control Other People," "The Five Secrets of Effective Communication," "The Disarming Technique," "Intimacy Traing for Couples: The One-Minute Drill," Part Five, "Common Traps--How to Avoid Them," and "Positive Reframing: Opening the Door to Intimacy--and Success." You can see, just from the titles, how the information he presents is directly tied to questions, problems, and issues that all couples face. The beauty of the book, however, and the practical, realistic tools Burns offers readers apply to all relationships, whether they are spouse, family, friends, or co-workers. I have always found Burns' approach to readers direct, interesting, warm, and engaging, and his "radically different approach" in this book is labeled "Cognitive Interpersonal Therapy," and if my interpersonal textbook had continued (the seventh edition of it was the last), I would have incorporated his basic principles of CIT in my textbook: 1) "We all provoke and maintain the exact relationship problems that we complain about." 2) "We deny our own role in the conflict because self-examination is so shocking and painful, and because we're secretly rewarded by the problem we're complaining about." 3) "We all have far more power than we think to transform troubled relations--if we're willing to stop blaming the other person and focus instead on changing ourselves" (p. 36). The tables, bulleted points, suggested steps, and examples are helpful, realistic, and worthwhile. For anyone having relationship problems, wanting to avoid relationship problems, or wanting to know what kind of advice to give to others, this is an outstanding choice.
26 internautes sur 26 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 Brings people together ! 18 janvier 2009
Par Amazon Customer - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format:Relié
This is another classic from David burns on how to solve relationship problems. He explores in depth the causes that divide people and cause so much mental agony. Note this book in no way insists that one should have relationships with everyone. The book takes a bold look at how we create the very problems we complain. Dogmatically sticking to Truth is the biggest one.
David burns having dealt with depression and anxiety issues in past takes a radically different approach for relationship problems. This is great book not to be missed for anyone having troubled relationships. 5 stars
17 internautes sur 17 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 BEST RELATIONSHIP BOOK YET! 29 août 2009
Par Sawyer - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format:Relié|Achat vérifié
I've read a lot of relationship books, and this one is fantastic! If you had only one relationship book this should be it, as it is amazing - the best of the best! Chapter 13 alone is worth the price of the book and can drastically improve communication - but, ALL of the chapters were so helpful, interesting and fun to read! I love that Dr. Burns uses examples from his own life as well as other people's lives, that are not only entertaining, but clarify beautifully what he is explaining. I don't usually get so excited about a book but this one deserves it. The nice thing too, is that even if the other person is not using these communication techniques, they will still work for you. Although great for romantic relationships, the information in this book can actually help in all relationships, even with very difficult people.
14 internautes sur 15 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 Unique book 1 avril 2010
Par wanttoattainirvana - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format:Broché|Achat vérifié
If there was only one book you could read about conflict resolution, this would be the one. Unlike the reviewer who thought this was dumbed down, I found the style helpful for one to easily absorb the material. One normally wants an observer of conflicts in a relationship to acknowledge that one is right and one's spouse is wrong. So it takes some courage to try these techniques as it requires seeing the truth in the criticism of the spouse. However the rewards of the techniques are highly motivating. I liked the fact that one could diagnose the problems in a conflict with just one interaction. One doesn't require many sessions of marital therapy to start solving problems in the relationship!
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However, if youre willing to examine your own role in the problem and you feel that its your job to make your partner happy, the prognosis for a rewarding, successful relationship is extremely positivenow and in the future. &quote;
Marqué par 9 utilisateurs Kindle
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When you try to defend yourself from a criticism that seems totally irrational or unfair, youll instantly prove that the criticism is completely valid. &quote;
Marqué par 9 utilisateurs Kindle
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We cause the exact relationship problems we complain about, but we dont realize were doing it, so we feel like victims and tell ourselves its all the other persons fault. &quote;
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