The Stories We Tell Ourselves : Mentalizing Tales of Dating and Marriage book cover
1st Edition

The Stories We Tell Ourselves
Mentalizing Tales of Dating and Marriage

ISBN 9780415635608
Published September 13, 2013 by Routledge
312 Pages

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Book Description

The Stories We Tell Ourselves: Mentalizing Tales of Dating and Marriage is about the dynamics of intimate interpersonal relationships (dating and marriage) - how and why human pairings occur, what helps them function optimally and how therapists can intervene when they don't. J. Mark Thompson and Richard Tuch employ a multidimensional perspective that provides a variety of "lenses" through which intimate relationships can be viewed. The authors also offer a new model of couples therapy based on the mentalization model of treatment developed by Peter Fonagy and his colleagues.

This book is aimed at those interested in the nature of intimate relationships as well as those wishing to expand their clinical skills, whether they are conducting one-on-one therapy with individuals struggling to establish and maintain intimate relations or are conducting conjoint treatment with troubled couples who have sought the therapist's assistance. Thompson and Tuch view relationships from a wide array of different perspectives: mentalization, attachment theory, evolutionary psychology, psychoanalysis, pattern recognition (neuroscience), and role theory. A mentalization based approach to couples therapy is clearly explained in a "how to" fashion, with concrete suggestions about how the therapist goes about clinically intervening given their expanded understanding of the dynamics of intimate relations outlined in the book.

The Stories We Tell Ourselves: Mentalizing Tales of Dating and Marriage will appeal to psychoanalysts, psychotherapists, psychiatrists, psychologists, clinical social workers, marriage therapists, and all those interested in both learning more about the dynamics of one-on-one intimate relationships (dating and marriage) from a truly multidimensional perspective and in learning how to conduct mentalization-based couples therapy.

Table of Contents

Section I: Basic Science: Mentalization, Theory of Mind, Theories of Love, Attachment. Prologue. Storytelling: You can keep your damn jack! Lost in Narration. A Few Things Worth Knowing About Marriage. Attachment Theory. What Evolution Teaches About Dating and Mating. Section II: Practical approaches: Mentalization-Based Couple's Therapy. Introductiono to Mental.-Based Model to Couple's Therapy. The Workbook: Section 1. The Basics.The Workbook: Section 2- Advanced Concepts. Section III: Elaborations. Pattern Recognition. Complementarity. The Challenge of Mentalizing Sexual Betrayal. The ways in which we differ, The ways love makes us same.

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J. Mark Thompson is Associate Clinical Professor of Psychiatry and Training and Supervising Analyst at The New Center for Psychoanalysis. He teaches at the Department of Psychiatry, UCLA, David Geffen School of Medicine. He also teaches at the Department of Psychiatry at USC and the Department of Psychiatry at UC Irvine.

Richard Tuch is Dean of The New Center for Psychoanalysis and Clinical Professor of Psychiatry at the UCLA, David Geffen School of Medicine. He is a Training and Supervising Analyst at The New Center for Psychoanalysis and at The Psychoanalytic Center of California.


"This is a remarkable book. The authors have managed to write a book that is, at one and the same time, a manual for mentalization-based treatment for couples, a lucid account of the basis for such treatment in the theory of mind, mentalization, and attachment theory literatures, and an integration of material from psychodynamic theory, attachment theory, evolutionary psychology, neuroscience, and cognitive psychology. In addition, the book is laced with very useful clinical vignettes and clinical wisdom about human nature and human relationships – all written in a lucid and accessible style. It is, indeed, a remarkable achievment and I enthusiastically recommend it to a wide range of readers, not just those specifcally interested in couples therapy." - Morris N. Eagle, Ph.D.ABPP, Professor Emeritus, Derner Institute for Advanced Psychological Studies; Distinguished Educator-in-Residence, California Lutheran University; Past President of the Division of Psychoanalysis, American Psychological Association

"This remarkably novel and useful book offers a fascinating exploration of the nature of "love" that integrates findings from evolutionary biology, neuroscience, mentalization and attachment research and provides an innovative clinical model for conceptualizing and conducting treatment of couples and individuals. The role of evolutionary givens -nonconscious perception, rapid recognition, and reflexive categorization – that predispose all couples toward simple minded intuitions and intense feelings is clearly demonstrated by the authors’ clinical examples and case vignettes. I would high recommend this book for all interested in a lucid and user friendly model for helping individuals and couples find greater intimacy." - Dr. Regina Pally, Co-founder and Asst. Director, Center for Reflective Parenting at Center for Reflective Parenting

"Thompson and Tuch have managed to write a book that zones in on a mentalization-based treatment approach for couples (MBCT) that provides a meticulous integration of concepts from psychodynamic theory, attachment theory, evolutionary psychology, neuroscience, and cognitive psychology. [...] This is a compelling account, bringing couple and marital therapy to a new level as it examines unconscious motivations and instictual forces that constitue the underlying dynamics within the matrix of marital relations. [...] [The authors] use their many years of expertise in clincial practice in an innovative piece of work offering an exploration of love relations and what gets in the way of love through the process of mentalization. [...] In reading this book, I almost felt like these authors were super heroes coming to the rescue me during my most challenging times, which is a credit to Thompson and Tuch's breadth of psychoanalytic understanding and the value of their contemporary contribution to mentalization as part of our struggle to make sense out of the senselessness." -Joan Jutta Lachkar, PhD, New Center of Psychoanalysis, West Los Angeles, California, in Psychoanalytic Psychology