Fear of Intimacy

Pages: 358
Item #: 431735A
ISBN: 978-1-55798-605-4
List Price: $29.95
Member/Affiliate Price: $29.95
Copyright: 1999
Format: Hardcover
Other Format: Softcover
Availability: In Stock
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For individuals in the U.S. & U.S. territories


Read an interview with author Robert W. Firestone at salon.com

Why is it that the relationships we care about most — those with our intimate partners— often seem doomed to fail? Why do we feel compelled to punish those closest to us who love and appreciate our real qualities?

In Fear of Intimacy, the authors bring almost 40 years of clinical experience to bear in challenging the usual ways of thinking about couples and families. They argue that relationships fail not for the commonly cited reasons, but because psychological defenses formed in childhood act as a barrier to closeness in adulthood. A wide range of cross-generational case studies and powerful personal accounts illustrate how the "fantasy bond," a once-useful but now destructive form of self-parenting, jeopardizes meaningful attachments.

Written in clear, jargon-free language, Fear of Intimacy shows how therapists can help couples identify and overcome the messages of the internal "voice" that fosters distortions of the self and loved ones. Related issues such as interpersonal ethics and the role of stereotyping are also discussed. The authors' innovative approach will be of interest to therapists and couples alike.

Table of Contents




I. Foundations

  1. The Challenge of Intimate Relationships
  2. Why Relationships Fail
  3. An Ethical Perspective: Human Rights Issue in Personal Relationships
  4. The Ideal Couple Relationship
  5. Characteristics of the Ideal Family

II. Psychodynamics of Relationships

  1. Inwardness: Self-Protective Patterns That Restrict Emotional Transactions Between Partners
  2. Remedial Procedures: Experiences That Affect Inward Patterns in the Couple and Family
  3. The Fantasy Bond in Couple Relationships
  4. Withholding in Couple and Family Relationships
  5. Men
  6. Women

III. Countering the Inner Voice: Methods and Theory

  1. Voices Affecting Intimacy
  2. The Therapeutic Process in Couples Therapy
  3. A Pilot Study Applying Voice Therapy With Four Couples: Clinical Material From a Series of Specialized Group Discussions
  4. Transference, the Therapeutic Alliance, and Love


Author Index

Subject Index

About the Authors

Reviews & Awards
One thinker/practitioner who has gone deep enough to offer a comprehensive explanation for both the near-universality of our outward devotion to marriage and its inner dissolution is Dr. Robert Firestone…His latest book, The Fear of Intimacy, tackles the issues of divorce and marriage head-on.
—Sacramento News and Review, August 26, 1999