Archive for August, 2009

_225_350_Book.68.coverAll you need is love? Not according to Dr. Eggerich:  Love & Respect, based on Ephesians 5:33 and culminating from Dr. Eggerich’s vast experience in pastoral and marital counseling, focuses on the transformational power of unconditional love and unconditional respect in marriage. Although it is certainly not the most entertaining or captivating book, Dr. Eggerich does successfully capture one of the primary sources of conflict in a majority of marriages: unmet needs.  Dr. Eggerichs postulates that women have an innate need for love and that men have an innate need, not for love, but for respect.  He explains that the failure to have this essential need met results in a cycle of reacting and withholding the other from one’s spouse, dubbed the “Crazy Cycle”.  While this may seem an overly simplistic distillation, it does have merit.  In a highly unscientific poll, I queried my patients over the past week that were experiencing challenges in their marriage: 100% agreed, not only that “love & respect” were an issue, but also that the converse had the potential for restoration.  Dr. Eggerich presents his thesis in the first section, accompanied by many relevant and supportive Biblical quotations.  He follows in the subsequent sections with suggestions for creating an “Energizing Cycle” including specifics on how to express your love/respect in a way that the other spouse can receive; then concludes with the “Rewarded Cycle” and several appendices with practical exercises.  While Eggerich tends to be redundant in his writing style, his message is both valid and useful in application.  I recommend this book for couples that are experiencing difficulties in their relationship or those who want to take their relationship to a higher level through improved communication and greater understanding.


Book Reviews forthcoming….

IMG_0190One of the most frequent requests I receive from patient is for book recommendations.  I have not been as much of a “reader” as I would like in the past few years; but have decided to remedy that.  I have agreed to review a few books from Thomas Nelson Publishers: specifically those applicable to mental health and relationships.  First up:  Love & Respect by Dr. Emerson Eggerichs followed by the latest from Max Lucado: Fearless.  The first review should be available within the next few weeks.  I am open to suggestions for future titles as I have found some of my favorite books at the recommendation of my wonderful patients.

Adam: A Movie Review

Picture 1I had the pleasure of attending a screening of the film Adam on August 18th, 2009.  This film, written and directed by Max Mayer, tells the story of an awkward and unusual relationship between two neighbors: Adam Raki, who has Asperger’s Syndrome, and Beth Buchwald, who aspires to write children’s books.  Adam is one of three new films being released featuring individuals with this complex and mysterious disorder considered to be an Autism Spectrum Disorder.

The film opens with what could easily be considered every parent of a child with disabling condition’s worst nightmare: the funeral of his parent and caretaker.  Thus, my initial reaction came not as a psychiatrist, but rather as the parent of a child on the autism spectrum:  “I cannot die—who will look after my child?”  This reaction is understandable  given the film’s remarkable job of depicting the reality of day-to-day living with this difficult condition: the need for routine and structure, problems adapting to change, communication challenges arising from rigidity of language, as well as other problems interacting with the “neurotypical” world—including the benefits of having a trusted advocate and interpreter to facilitate these interactions.

Hugh Dancy does a wonderful job portraying Adam Raki: complete with his fixation on astronomy, awkward social interactions, and tender gestures.  He depicts many of the physical attributes common to those with Asperger’s syndrome, including lack of appropriate eye contact as well as other automatisms, with absolute accuracy.  Dancy is able to capture not only these differences, but also the courage, subtle tenderness, and humanity that enables the audience to not only accept him, but to hope for him as well.  The neighbor Beth, beautifully acted by Rose Byrne, is portrayed as incredibly kind, patient, and understanding—yet seems too idealistic to be believed at times.

The story is insightful, engaging, and entertaining; it has the potential to bring awareness of this condition to audiences that hopefully may lead to a greater understanding of, compassion for, and acceptance of individuals with this disorder.  Adam captures the hope and possibilities for those who are affected by this condition in a very accessible, balanced, and believable manner.  While Adam unfortunately does not seem destined for blockbuster status, it is easy to see why it won the Alfred P. Sloane award at the 2009 Sundance Film Festival.  I highly recommend this movie to those with an interest in Autism Spectrum disorders as well as to those just looking for a tender, romantic movie.