As a follow-up to his bestselling book Life Strategies, Oprah acolyte Phillip C. McGraw, Ph.D., moves from aiding the aimless individual to coaching the disconnected couple. McGraw has distilled his more than two decades of counseling experience into a seven-step strategy he calls "Relationship Rescue."
"I'm prepared to kick a hole in the wall of the pain-ridden, unhappy maze you've gotten yourself into, and provide you clear access to action-oriented answers and instructions on what you must do to have what you want," says Dr. Phil. His aim is to expose and eliminate the saboteurs that cause senseless damage to already-fragile marriages, and, like an emotional root canal, to replace them with values he says provide positive results. If you follow Dr. Phil's strategy, he will lead you on a precise journey to uncover your heart and then share it with your partner as part of taking the "risk of intimacy."
Dr. Phil leads you to "reconnect with your core" in the first five steps of his seven-step strategy. By no means a quick fix, there are in-depth and rigorous questionnaires, surveys, tests, and profiles that require a "brutally candid" mindset, with such fill-in-the-blanks as "List five things that today would make you fall out of love with your partner." With this internal work accomplished, you'll then move on to reconnecting with your partner during a two-week, half-hour-a-day short course. As a "dyad," you and your loved one take turns giving monologues on topics such as "The most positive thing I took away from my mother and father's relationship was..."
Once the "reconnection" has been established, Dr. Phil says the work shifts to a management role, as relationships are always a work in progress. Dr. Phil humorously refers to his own marriage throughout the book, sharing his mishaps and victories in learning to accept and enjoy what he sees as fundamental but complementary differences between men and women. --John Youngs
Oprah's relationship expert and the author of the hugely popular Life Strategies, McGraw offers a challenge to readers in troubled marriages. (Though he refers to "relationships," his comments about the roles of men and women make it obvious that McGraw has mostly traditional marriages in mind.) With typical frankness, the Dallas psychologist declares that the underlying reason that "your relationship is in trouble because you set it up that way." Traditional relationship counseling doesn't work, McGraw says, so he dares readers to follow his multistep plan for "reconnecting," which demands honest exploration, through exhaustive self-tests and questionnaires designed to define each partner's needs and expectations. The last step of McGraw's program is probably the most difficult and rewarding: 14 days of structured reconnection exercises in which the partners share their deepest feelings. By participating with the required level of commitment, candor and seriousness, couples would seem to guarantee enhancing their relationships. Despite the strengths of his program, McGraw's compelling television presence doesn't translate well to the page. He reminds readers so often that the "reconnecting" process will not be easy or fun that at times he seems more hectoring than persuasive--not that this is likely to matter to his viewers and fans. One-day laydown on February 8; television and radio satellite tours.