The Psychology Of Relationships _ Recomended Reading
The idea of this part of our web site is to function like a self-help guide to some basic psychological models which can help you make sense of yourself and your partner.
It sometimes seems hard to understand your own underlying psychological agenda and it gets even harder if your psychological agenda starts interacting with your partner’s.
Not only do you have to manage your own vulnerabilities and defense mechanisms, but you can be sure that in a long term relationship you will trigger each other’s “monsters” at some point in a quite spectacular fashion. In fact, you can rely on it.
The models that follow are intended as a road map for a person’s internal processes.
Don’t forget that they are just models and they can’t describe everything, so sometimes they don’t fit and may not be adequate to describe what’s going on.
Rather than trying to fit your psychological insides into them and thinking, “God this doesn’t fit, I must be really screwed up!” feel free to make up your own theories and test them by talking to other people such as your partner about them.
If something makes sense to them too, it probably describes one aspect of you or your reality in a generally adequate way. But if you find you can’t make head nor tail of what’s going on for you, think about finding a therapist who can help you with this stuff.
1 Hunger for relationship: What is it all about?
2 Ego state model: A way to describe our psychological insides.
3 Relational needs: What are you want from each other.
4 Script: Getting a handle on a life’s worth of patterns.
5 Symbiosis: One not so good way of being in relationship.
6 Games: An even worse way of being in relationship.
7 Time structuring: How the two of you spend time together and what the other options might be.
8 Strokes: How to get the feel good factor going.
9 Discounts: What not to do.
10 Life positions: Once you’re on the right side, life looks a lot better.
The models are mostly taken from Transactional Analysis theory (or TA), which is one of the humanistic branches of psychotherapy. You will be able to find more on this models in other books or web sites on transactional analysis. If you want to read more on TA or psychology, have a look at the following books:
Vann Joines, Ian Stewart (1987) TA Today, Lifespace Publishing. This is a good introduction to the main theories of transactional analysis. However, it describes TA in quite mechanical terms. Even so, you may find some of the exercises interesting or challenging.
Thomas Lewis, Fari Amini, Richard Lannon (2000) A General Theory Of Love, Vintage Books, New York. This is a superb book on neuropsychology, attachment and love. If you want to know how love makes your brain sing, this is the one to read. Enjoy!
Oliver James (2003) They F*** You Up: How to survive family life, Bloomsbury. A very good introduction to child development and what sort of personality traits result from what sort of parenting. Fascinating reading, especially some of the case examples James describes.
Alice Miller (1984) The Drama Of The Gifted Child, London, Virago Press. This is quite an old book, which describes how children adapt to their parents out of necessity and may become very defended and cold adults in the process. Miller championed the cause of the child in psychoanalysis and lays down one of the foundations for “working with your inner child.”
Alexander Lowen (1995) Joy, Penguin, Arkana. Lowen was one of the early body psychotherapists, who were interested in how defense mechanisms get laid down in our bodies. He describes how different personality styles restrict their bodies in different ways to curtail impulses or emotions. This obviously causes many problems with sexuality, so if you want to experience sex fully, have a read. It is also a fairly old book, so some of his language seems rather out of date by now.
King Warrior Magician Lover by Rod Boothroyd This book explains the structure of the personality from the archetypal model, and suggests how shadow work can help you recover your true nature. (USA sales from this link.)