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Author Topic: 05. The High Conflict Couple - Alan E. Fruzzetti, PhD  (Read 43051 times)
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« on: May 05, 2008, 07:05:11 AM »

The High Conflict Couple
Author: Alan E. Fruzzetti, PhD
Publisher: New Harbinger Publications; 1 edition (December 3, 2006)
Paperback: 190 pages
ISBN-10: 157224450X
ISBN-13: 978-1572244504






Book Description
High Conflict Couple is a concise, easy to understand guide for couples seeking to deepen their relationship and ease their conflicts.  This is an excellent book to share with your BPD partner as it doesn't make direct mention of BPD - other than that the authors are all leaders in the field of BPD.

Some couples need more than just the run-of-the-mill relationship advice to solve their problems in love. When out-of-control emotions (BPD) are the root cause of problems in a relationship, no amount of effective communication or intimacy building will fix what ails it. What these "high-conflict" couples need is help regulating the emotions that provoke the "escape or win" mode of interaction that has come to define them.

In this book, Fruzzetti, an expert in the use of dialectical behavior therapy (DBT) in couples’ therapy adapts this powerful set of emotion regulation tools. Using mindfulness and distress tolerance techniques, you’ll learn how to deescalate conflict situations before they have a chance to flare into serious fights. Other techniques help partners in a relationship disclose their personal fears and vulnerabilities and validate one another’s experiences. Ultimately, you’ll learn how to manage problems with negotiation, not conflict, and how to find true acceptance and closeness with your partner.

The books tone is a bit crisper, cooler, and more analytical than most marriage guides. This is actually its strength, speaking to the analytical half of your relationship in a straight-forward way they will appreciate and understand even if they shy away from most relationship-help books as being too touchie-feelie. The message is the same as many guides, that "validation" is the key to a happy, intimate relationship-- and it is the key. This is the first book to use dialectical behavior therapy (DBT) to help high-conflict couples regulate out-of-control emotions, tolerate distressing situations, and resolve problems-an approach proven to help even the most highly reactive couples build healthy relationships.

About the Author
Alan E. Fruzzetti, Ph.D., is associate professor of psychology and director of the DBT Therapy and Research Program at the University of Nevada, Reno. He is the coauthor with Perry Hoffman and Marsha Linehan of Dialectical Behavior Therapy with Couples and Families.
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« Reply #1 on: May 05, 2008, 08:47:32 AM »

This is a good book and helpful... VERY DBT oriented, tho, so likely to not easily be understood unless familiar with DBT style. It isnt a particularly easy read, like the typical self help book, but for an astute reader or couple, it works well. We both read it and found it helpful... but is by no means, "The Answer"... but is more helpful than anything else I have read for the BPD relationship.

  Steph
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« Reply #2 on: May 26, 2008, 04:51:30 PM »

I don't think that any book in and of itself is "the answer". What I think books have to offer is a new way of viewing things. They give you an opportunity to re-evaluate your beliefs and ideas and to maybe decide to make some changes.

I liked many of the ideas in this book.

I am still making my way through it, since it isn't an easy read, with lots of areas to practice on and think about.

I would say for those who wish to make things work, that this is a good starting point.

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« Reply #3 on: July 08, 2008, 11:34:25 AM »

It's a small book that incorporates DBT (dialectical behavioral therapy) without ever using the words BPD or borderline at all. It's meant for couples to do together, though the concepts work even if you can't get your partner to read it with you.

"Using mindfulness and distress tolerance techniques, you'll learn how to de-escalate angry situations before they have a chance to explode into destructive fights. Other approaches will help you disclose 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".

Acceptance comes from understanding, something many of us seem to struggle with. This book gives a good explanation of how emotions in relationships work. The out of control behavior and negative responses that we all experience are broken down so that they make sense. Solutions and suggestions are also given, with practice exercises at the end of each chapter.

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« Reply #4 on: July 09, 2008, 03:02:27 PM »

I ordered this yesterday after getting agreement over the weekend that we would work through it together.  We'll see though - could be just another empty promise.

Lynn
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« Reply #5 on: July 11, 2008, 01:35:59 PM »

Wow - I really like chap 6 on Accurate Expressions and chap 7 on What to Validate and Why.

Many newer members see validation as just agreeing with your partner. It's not... .true validation goes way beyond "yes dear" or "Ok dear" or my favorite "whatever you want dear". Chapter 7 breaks it down into what validation really is and how and when to use it.


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« Reply #6 on: August 19, 2009, 02:00:39 PM »

One word of caution: The cover does note that the authors are involved with treating BPD.  So, if you need something that absolutely does not mention BPD - this probably won't work.  Especially if your BPD is in denial.

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« Reply #7 on: May 20, 2011, 03:34:11 AM »

I am reading it now. I also really like the chapter on validation. Not only does it help me see what I should change in my responses but I also saw how perfectly unvalidating my bf has been. Laugh out loud (click to insert in post) No seriously, it was helpful for me to understand why he has sometimes made me feel so bad, because that makes me realise the importance of validating.
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« Reply #8 on: May 20, 2011, 05:27:38 AM »

I like to go to the bookstore as a way of taking some time to myself. I am working my way through "I Hate You, Don't Leave Me", perused "High Conflict Couple" (that's my next full read) and I finish my session with a meditation book (I forget the title).

I find solace and it also helps financially since I am on a tight budget Smiling (click to insert in post)
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« Reply #9 on: May 20, 2011, 06:12:21 AM »

 While my H was in DBT, his DBT T suggested this book and he brought it home and was super excited about us working thru it together.

Guess who didnt want to, after reading a few pages?

Me!

   Reading the book, while a bit dry, pointed out that things were not all the fault of my H and his BPD stuff. This made me super uncomfortable and " I dont like it" attitude.

Looking back, and looking now, I see the dynamic. And that the book is really excellent. ( still see it a bit dry tho  

He was doing all of the right things, and was also disappointed that I was unwilling. I simply was not in a place where I was capable of not being the victim and taking responsibility for changing.

No wonder he left me when he did!  Doing the right thing (click to insert in post)  Best thing that ever happened to us as a couple Smiling (click to insert in post)

Steph

   
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« Reply #10 on: July 31, 2011, 10:29:14 AM »

He was doing all of the right things, and was also disappointed that I was unwilling. I simply was not in a place where I was capable of not being the victim and taking responsibility for changing.

This is a really good point - either side of a r/s can be not-ready to move out of their comfort zone. I try to focus on what is working, and letting go of what is not working.

I read this book when I first came to bpdfamily.com in Aug2009. I was struggling with my BPDDD25 (23 at that time) moving back into our home after leaving her hubby (very complex story of her taking a break/canceling the lease on their apt, DUI/domestic violence arrest of them both, hubby deported, relinquishment/termination of parental rights of my gs, drug/alcohol abuse as her coping strategy WHILE DOING ALCOHOL CLASSES FOR DUI  ) and the stresses all this had on my marriage. Even though neither my dh nor I have BPD, he is very resistant to anything 'therapy' (a very 'pull yourself up' kind of guy) and this was my initial exposure to the concepts of DBT,  the book helped me to help myself cope with life in many ways. It motivated me to push for couples therapy in a very validating way - accepting my role in our issues. (I was searching for family therapy but couldn't find any therapist willing to include DD in the mix with that due to her violent history). Dh agreed to 6 sessions that would be paid for by his employee assistance program benefit. Even though he claims no benefit, we learned how to listen to each other - it allowed me to listen to him and let go of some of my control needs in dealing with our DD and gd (4 at that time).

I highly recommend this book for anyone that wants to grow a value-based, respectful relationship. And it helped even though I was the only one to read the book and practice the tools. Guess my dh benefits from the 'trickle-down' theory.

qcr xoxo
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« Reply #11 on: July 31, 2011, 12:59:43 PM »

Very constructive book, albeit a bit technical book aimed at relationship healing. It has a very strong focus on learning emotions, emotional balance, (re-)connecting and healthy relationship behavior. The TOC gives a good idea:

Excerpt


Table of Content:

1:  Understanding Emotions in Relationships

2:  Accepting Yourself and Your Partner

3:  How to Stop Making Things Worse

4:  Being "Together" When You Are Together

5:  Reactivating Your Relationship

6:  Accurate Expression

7:  Validating Responses: What to Validate and Why

8:  Validating Responses: How to Validate Your Partner

9:  Recovering from Invalidation

10: Managing Problems and Negotiating Solutions

11: Transforming Conflict into Closeness

Understanding and managing emotions is an important part for both sides in any relationship but particularly one where a person suffers from BPD. It is a topic where both sides can work together.

I found it personally very helpful in improving my understanding and validation skills even if I'm the only reader 
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  Writing is self validation. Writing on bpdfamily is self validation squared!
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« Reply #12 on: March 23, 2012, 04:01:07 AM »

I really liked this book and cannot help wonder what would have happend to my relationship with my UBDPEX if we had both read this a long time ago.  It's to late now but for anyone still in the zone I would highly recommend this book... .Even if it only helps you protect yourself.  There are always two sides to a story... .But this book might actually help you teach you to actually get the facts of what is actually going on in their heads instead of what is initially presented to you... .Which is so often not what it seems.  I look back on my experiences and so wish that I could have dealt with things differently.  This book really could help.

/Stillness
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« Reply #13 on: April 28, 2014, 06:21:59 AM »

I really liked this book.

Seems to be written by someone with a strong background in DBT, with a focus on couples. I really wanted this.

A good follow up to SWOE in building things to use instead of background information. Good to 'bridge' the gap from helping myself to helping my relationship.

I really appreciated the unprejudiced, lack of "ok here's the non, here's the BP", writing tone.


I'm using this book without my SO's participation. It helped to go through it from front-to-back. For example, the development of the background of "why validate", and how to approach communicating before validation, was very useful to me.


Ideas seem more analytically presented, but they are put across in a concise way. It seems to use logic to arrive at arguments, with the direction of keeping the couple's future in mind. This has been very helpful when I feel I need to justify certain perspectives to my SO, at both crisis times and calm times.

My big goal is to get my SO through DBT, where my SO disagrees on any therapy. I've learned more things that I feel are playing a part in really helping my relationship for the time being.


Specifically helpful was correcting behaviour of my own. There are also other ideas on validation which are a really good complement to Manning's "Loving Someone with Borderline Personality Disorder".


I feel I've seen some results in daily living with my SO.

We've been through one serious dysregulation instance by her since I've finished the book. She used threats of, and actual, destructive action. I used the techniques from the book at each stage of the fight.

It went much smoother than our previous fights. I felt that I was more in control and proud of my behaviour.


I hope this helps others as much as it's helping me. Doing the right thing (click to insert in post)
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« Reply #14 on: May 17, 2017, 06:42:47 AM »

Any idea if this book has been translated to Hebrew?
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« Reply #15 on: May 17, 2017, 01:33:18 PM »

Put a price sticker over it!
One word of caution: The cover does note that the authors are involved with treating BPD.  So, if you need something that absolutely does not mention BPD - this probably won't work.  Especially if your BPD is in denial.


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