Dr. Shelley Green and Dr. Douglas Flemons,
I am a student in the Marriage and Family Therapy program at Valdosta State University in Valdosta, Georgia. One of our professors, Martha Laughlin, used your book for one of our classes: Couples and Sex. I must say that for an overall read, being a student, it was very educational and helpful to me in my journey towards being a marriage and family therapist. The use of case illustrations, while intertwining the disciplines of Batesonian systemic thinking, helped me to more clearly understand how to apply these principals that I am learning. Additionally, when reading through the case illustrations, I was able to apply the teachings of my sociology background, such as social construction and dominant social narratives, and have a clearer understanding of how these can be used in therapy.
On account of personal preference, I found certain chapters more interesting than others. Chapter ten, "How Do Therapists of Same-Sex Couples `Do It'?" was a favorite of mine. Being open to either an opposite-sex or same-sex relationship myself, I could relate to the information described in both chapter ten and chapter two. It is true that there is limited research that can speak about the sexual difficulties of same-sex relationships, and I was glad to see that you both included these chapters. I found this book to also be intriguingly humorous. The double-meanings in some chapter headings such as, "Come Again? From Possibility Therapy to Sex Therapy," "Out of My Office and Into the Bedroom," "Just Between Us: A Relational Approach to Sex Therapy," "Who Really Wants to Sleep With the Medical Model? An Eclectic/Narrative Approach to Sex Therapy," and my personal favorite, "How Do Therapists of Same-Sex Couples `Do It'?" were a delightful aspect to the book. As mentioned in the introduction of this book, these chapter headings and titles grab the reader's attention and hold it there. Sex therapy is indeed a "serious business," but the lightheartedness of these chapter headings makes the book not only a "serious" read, but a fun one too. It is refreshing to know that you can read one of your class books for fun. You had mentioned in the introduction that this was one of your motives. Well, in my opinion you succeeded.
One other chapter that I enjoyed was chapter six, and how author Thorana S. Nelson "briefly" spoke about the different parts of family therapy that have helped to form her orientation to therapy, structural, Bowenian, behavioral, solution-focused, and narrative. For me, as a reader this helped me to better articulate the views behind the therapist and why she chose certain interventions. As a therapist, it is my orientation that you have to be able to make sense of your client's behavior in order to form that therapeutic relationship of change. Vice versa, it is helpful for me to be able to make sense of the therapist in order to understand how change occurred.
The book was well written; therefore, I did not find anything to be significantly confusing. I understand that as a writer/editor, it is more helpful to receive criticisms as opposed to praise, but I do not want to find myself trapped into trying to find something out of nothing. Yet, this did not surprise me considering that I agree with the majority of the ideologies contained in the book. If anything, what I gained most from this book was a better understanding of how to put these theoretical principals into practice. It was an "out of the book and into my therapy room" experience. Thank You for this.
Valdosta State University
Family Therapy Student