The Power of Two by Susan Heitler

Welcome everyone! As a part of my new journey on this blog I will be sharing with you a book that I am finding incredibly resourceful and beneficial within couples counseling. This will be an ongoing thread in which I will be breaking down the book, The Power of Two by Susan Heitler, in a way that can serve as an introduction to the material before you commit to buying it and learning on your own or with a professional! I look forward to sharing the material with you!

-Courtney, Graduate Intern

What is The Power of Two?

The Power of Two is a book that can be used with both couples and single people seeking to be in a relationship. It is a guide to creating a relationship that is dependent on cooperative dialogue and overall effective communication and conflict management. It is a way of learning how to communicate with others that is both positive and radiates affection. Positivity and affection can be seen through the ways a couple interacts, communicates, manages conflict, and demonstrates self-awareness. The book is broken down into three parts: the basics of collaborative dialogue, dealing with differences, and making a good relationship great. Heitler identifies the three parts as follows, identifying and engaging in helpful communication skills, conflict resolution skills, and effective ways of supporting one another in a way that works for both individuals.

How do I use The Power of Two?

Every concept, skill, and activity presented is meant to be an opportunity to practice the skill and apply it to your personal life and situations. Over the course of time material is to be reviewed rather than learned and forgotten. This book is not meant for casual Sunday reading as it requires action on behalf of the reader. That being said, it is not meant to be a test or something we are grading ourselves or our partner on. The book has a supplemental workbook that can be used, as well as working with a therapist or clinician who is familiar with the material in order to further learning and understanding. Later we will highlight ways to be successful in using The Power of Two.

What if I just don’t get it?

Remember, it’s a practice. We have learned so much about how to communicate, respond, and react and over time, practiced each. To retrain our brain and challenge our mindset can be challenging. Heitler encourages readers to not only review and practice, but also to focus on your own individual growth over the growth of your partner. In doing so, you can share your own challenges and your enthusiasm. It is important as well to know that these skills are not fool proof or any guarantee of a happy and lasting relationship. We are humans who have problems that can’t be solved solely by reading a book or changing the way we communicate. Marriage and other relationships take work and no one but yourself can determine whether or not it is worth working for.

What if I don’t have an answer or example to work on?

That’s okay! You aren’t expected to know everything or have experienced all things. There are plenty of examples provided within the reading and in working in collaboration with your partner or clinician; you can come up with examples. Remember the intention is to return to each basic. As you increase self awareness you may be able to provide more insights into examples to work out with the skills.

How to be successful in using The Power of Two

  • Practice, practice, practice!
  • Read, write, and say your answers to yourself to improve comprehension
  • Get the workbook
  • Work with a counselor who is familiar with the material
  • Work on it when you aren’t in a relationship
  • Involve your partner
  • Re-read
  • Get the basics down first

Follow along as we continue to dive into The Power of Two and its use with married couples, dating relationships, and single people. Bear in mind all information provided comes as a review of Heitler’s novel and from a clinician actively learning and utilizing the tools.

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