What if you had at the ready, a portable tool that could succintly express in writing what you might not be able to say verbally and could have a powerful healing impact on any relationship? In the midst of a heated discussion with a loved one, there are times when we are not at our most eloquent and words slip out that in calmer moments would not escape our lips. Psychotherapist and wordsmith, Nancy Dreyfus, Psy. D has compiled such a guide to healthy interactions, brilliantly entitled: Talk To Me Like I’m Someone You Love: Relationship Repair In A Flash. Having said that, please note that by purchasing this book or giving it to someone in your life, it in no way indicates that the relationship is on the rocks. It has preventive power as well. Just knowing that it is present could have a reassuring effect. Talk To Me Like I’m Someone You Love would make a great wedding or anniversary gift as well as an everyday portable relationship tool.
As a Licensed Social Worker, I have used the ideas from the book in therapeutic sessions with clients and have found them wonderfully successful in calming even the angriest couples. I also incorporate the concepts in my personal interactions and marvel at the results.
The book was born when in a session with a couple, Dreyfus found herself experiencing a sense of counter-transference. It began to feel like she was re-living the dynamics of her family of origin. In a flash, she scribbled the 8 words that became the book’s primary title, handed it to the man and whispered for him to hold it up to his wife who, at that moment, was berating him. It was as if time stood still and their interaction shifted to one that was more healing. Over the course of the next two decades, this book took shape and Dreyfus’ accumulated wisdom, gleaned from work with other couples, is now in the 285 pages of text with a few pages in the back on which to write messages in addition to what she offers. There are more than 100 ‘flashcard’ messages that can move through the heart of the matter in nearly every potential conflict, as well as Dreyfus’ commentary on each subject. These include:
“When you go on and on like that, I feel invisible to you.”
“Even though I’ve been arguing my position like a crazy person, I can see where your point of view makes sense.”
“What can I say that would make you feel understood?”
“I’m sorry if I acted like mine was the only reality.”
“I treasure you.”
The value in the book goes beyond the words themselves to the way in which it is to be used. In her practice, Dreyfus has discovered that vocalizing words can carry an emotional charge that simply reading them does not. There is no voice intonation, no chance to misinterpret when words are read and not said. Couples are encouraged to have the book handy to use as needed. Granted, it is not the same as sitting in the presence of this gifted therapist, but it is the next best thing to having her in your home.
I love the attitude Dreyfus speaks about with regard to the value of an open heart vs. a closed heart. She writes, “the only difference between an open heart and a closed one is that an open heart has opened only one more time than it’s closed…..only one more time.” This poignant and powerful book will ensure that hearts in your house will open much more quickly