"We have not communicated until what I meant by the words I spoke is what you understood by the words your heard."

This practical, simple-to-read book is a basic guideline of communication principles, primarily for couples, but which could also be utilized for any relationship between people. The author begins the book with the discussion of emotional intelligence (EQ). She then discusses her Pickett’s Pyramid of Possibilities—a helpful graph in breaking down seven levels of relationships. Level 1, the highest level, is about agreeing-to-agree. Level 2 concerns understanding and acceptance. Level 3 is about tolerance, and level 4 examines denial and stuffing thoughts and feelings. This is followed by level 5, which relates to the couple withdrawing or bickering. The lowest levels (levels 6 and 7) concern problems such as deceiving and lying (6), as well as controlling through fear and possible abusiveness (7). This is then followed by 14 chapters—each exploring a coupleship with its communication issues and ways to cope, a summary of helpful tools, and three pertinent appendices.

Comprising only 134 pages, this work is packed with useful tools for healthy relationships. In utilizing stories of healthy and unhealthy communication styles, the book offers a no-nonsense look at the struggles couples may come across in their own relationships. By exploring each teaching couples’ story, the reader can easily relate to and learn how to identify issues and ways to healthier communication such as using the five top communication tips and examining styles of partnership. In the summary chapter of examining the tool bucket for relapse prevention, healthy tips, and red flags of a “sinking marriage,” the reader can find a task sheet to easily reference in the future. The book takes a heterosexist approach to relationships, although any relationship dyad may benefit from this work. Besides being valuable for couples, it is also a book for therapists to add to their own libraries.

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