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Keeping Passion AliveReview - Keeping Passion Alive
by John Gray
Zeig, Tucker & Theisen, 2000
Review by Prem Dana Takada, B.B.Sc.(Hons) M.A. Psych.
Mar 4th 2001 (Volume 5, Issue 10)

John Gray, a therapist hailing from Northern California, needs little in the way of introduction with the success of his Venus and Mars books. This tape is one of seven, 2-hour videos for couples-and the therapists who work with them. The format is an interview accompanied by either a therapy session or, in this case, group sessions presenting the techniques espoused by Gray. In this video we get to watch the participants, a small group of 4 couples, discuss openly various questions posed to them by Gray. His approach is largely a pycho-educational one with the presupposition that information changes attitudes. His first "tip" is -When men have sex it opens their hearts, while talking brings a woman down to her heart and it goes on from there. He states that women need 1. To feel cared for 2. To be understood and 3. To be respected while men, on the other hand, need 1. To be appreciated 2. To be accepted and 3. To be trusted.

The videos shows how to keep passion alive through the use of four activities, the first one being "Venting," which he describes as using negative feelings to change. An important principle is that one always ends on a positive note. The group discussion questions are related to the topics above, for example, for men, "In my relationship I don't feel appreciated when…" Similarly for the women's group they are asked to discuss "In my relationship, I don't feel respected when..." The second exercise is a writing exercise called "The Feeling Letter" once again a very helpful and practical tool. The third is an exercise designed specifically for men, "Listening" rather than solving or doing and the fourth one is "Visualisation" which is guaranteed to reignite passion in relationship as one reminisces about previous feelings of passion and "What made you feel loved" in those early courtship.

In these days with the stress of modern life and loss of roots, when the basics of life often go unlearnt, I think videotape material can be of considerable assistance to a number of people and is worth watching, even if only one of the "tips" is new to you. For therapists this may be a helpful tape to give clients as the information is very clearly presented and, given the group format, they have the chance to see others grappling with similar issues and trying to build and preserve strong, fun marriages. However, though I know that his books have helped millions of couples to develop deep, nurturing relationships, I still can't help but think that within us all there lies wisdom and knowledge of what works/heals for each of us and that people can creatively access solutions and methods for themselves that might be just a bit more interesting than the ones Gray presents here. (See the other tapes in the Brief Therapy "Inside Out" video series)

NB: free online handouts are also available for this video from Zeig

Prem Dana Takada, M.A.Psych. originally trained as a Clinical Psychologist in Melbourne, Australia, where she is also a registered Family Therapist. After leaving Australia, Prem Dana worked as a Principal Clinical Psychologist in West London, continuing to work with individuals, couples, families, and as a group therapist and further training as an Ericksonian Psychotherapist and Hypnotherapist in Oxford. She has travelled widely having also lived and worked in India, and has been in Japan for the last five years where runs the Psychotherapy and Healing Practice and is current President of International Mental Health Providers Japan (IMHPJ) -a professional organization established for therapists who service the international community in Japan.


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