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on April 25, 2004 Review for Relationship Rescue
Author: Phillip C. McGraw
We are a group of five college seniors from Villanova University who have spent a semester researching and reviewing best selling self-help books on the subject of relationships. We evaluated five texts after reviewing academic literature specifically on the topics of: commitment, trust, conflict, verbal communication, & intimacy. In order to make you a more informed consumer, we hope to provide you with an educated insider view of Relationship Rescue by Dr Phillip C. McGraw.
McGraw's intent is to "rescue" relationships, and get partners to reconnect by first evaluating their individual selves. He challenges readers to address the truths about themselves, and get in touch with their core of consciousness. When the individual can recognize his or her inner strength, and eliminate "bad spirits," he or she has the power to lift the partner, and get the most out of the relationship. While there are partner exercises in the end, this book for the most part is geared toward the individual. McGraw provides a "7-step process for reconnecting with one's partner", which included a series of personal inventories, journal entries, and self-evaluation. By performing these activities, and engaging in a 14-day process of self-disclosure and relationship evaluation with one's partner, one will grow toward a better relationship.
In our evaluation of five major topics, we found the following in Relationship Rescue:
Commitment - In the chapter entitled, "Reconnecting with Your Partner," McGraw addresses the personal dedication component of commitment found in academic research. This basically says that commitment includes the individual's desire to improve the relationship. He also stressed the importance of physical activity in finding commitment.
Trust - While McGraw did not address trust directly, there are some connections to be made to ideas presented in academic research. It seems to be generally understood that the disposition of the individual greatly effects trust, and an overall personal deceptive nature will negatively affect the relationship. McGraw's goal is to get the individual to remove these negative feelings. Also, a great deal of the book revolves around self-disclosure, which is imperative to developing trust. However, this all depends on how the individual approaches the exercises in the book.
Conflict - In regards to this topic, McGraw touches on the idea that conflict is inevitable. We found this to be an overwhelming theme in research conducted on the topic. Conflict can be constructive if it is done properly, and partners remain in control. He gives rules for "fighting with your partner" which focused on the environment (physical and mental) that the disagreement is taking place in. He also focused on managing one's differences, because there are some that cannot be fixed, and therefore must be embraced.
Verbal Communication Skills- McGraw makes it clear that this is not a book that addresses communication theories. Therefore, it was not his intention to lay out specific communication skills. Instead, he focuses on inner attitudes. While a great deal of the exercises involve partner communication, McGraw does not address the verbal skills necessary for effective communication.
Intimacy - In this book, McGraw affirms the idea found in research that positive regard in the sense of acceptance and confirmation is necessary within a relationship. He also points out that the presence of affection does not make a difference in the relationship unless it is communicated to the partner. McGraw motivates the reader to do, and not just say what he or she feels to achieve intimacy. In regards to intimacy, the emphasis on self-disclosure throughout the book supported what we found in our research as well. In general, McGraw promotes individual behaviors that lead to love and increase intimacy.
Relationship Rescue is best for the topic of Intimacy.
Please feel free to check out our reviews on
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Dating For Dummies by Dr. Joy Browne
Men are from Mars, Women are from Venus by Dr. John Gray
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on January 9, 2002
As a physician I have recommended this book to many of my patients whose relationships were in trouble. I feel Dr. Phil's approach is right on: you have to work on yourself first. Most people who feel their relationship is doomed tell me, "Well, my partner won't listen to me...", or "he/she isn't willing to do the work...". He has you look and work on yourself FIRST then involves you in seven steps. The couples I have recommended this book to have found it very helpful. There have been a few cases I have seen where the partner never participated in the process and my patients happily ended up moving on with their lives with the aid of this book.For those people who cannot afford or do not have access to therapy this book/program is wonderful (actually even if you do!). He "tells it like it is", and drills the point home that we are each responsible for the state our relationship and life are in (excepting cases of abuse). As Dr. Phil says you have to "get with the program" and work on yourself and relationship "until". A great self-help book.
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Relationship Rescue is my pick as the top book of 2000.
This book deserves many more than five stars. It is as close as you can get to having a hands-on guide to improving your relationships as you can get without having a trained counselor present.
It's too bad that most people will take on this book because they have a bad or failing relationship. It would be much better to start with this approach in the beginning. I hope marriage advisors, parents, living together couples, and engaged people will become familiar with this book and recommend it to others.
The book is extremely direct. The author makes it clear that you have to first change yourself before you can change you relationship.
The book is extremely well structured for easy use both as a book and as a workbook. It is divided into seven steps (define and diagnose where the relationship is now; get rid of your wrong thinking about relationships; find out what you are doing to hurt the relationships; internalize the values needed to build and maintain strong relationships; the necessary format for a strong relationship; and how to reconnect and manage the relationship).
Each section is filled with diagnostic questions for you and your partner to use, as well as directions for implementing what you learn.
The process involved is a good one. It begins with identifying stalled thinking, works on stallbusting that thinking, and then builds new habits that will work better.
The steps are extensive, but you can take them in bite-sized amounts. Before you are done, you will be sharing what you have done with your partner. I have to believe that anyone who was told that their partner had been working on these questions and exercises would be very impressed by the commitment to the relationship that this effort represented. It can help overcome a lot of thoughtlessness that may have preceded that sharing.
If your relationship is on the rocks, that idea of reconnecting can be scary. I was impressed to see that the book provides a 14 day program to help you with exercises that help reconnect you emotionally, intellectually, and spiritually. Most counselors would probably not give you this much guidance.
You can improve the benefits you will find here by also using the excellent workbook that is sold separately. It contains many more questions and a convenient place to write them down. You can read my review of that as well, if you like.
One of the finest things in life is to have a great relationship with other people. This book gives you the necessary background to move in that direction. The rest is up to you, as the author says. Give it a shot! You have a great quality of life to win!
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on April 1, 2014
A very good read. I could hear Dr Phil's voice as if he was right beside me ~ and I am not even a follower of his show! He presents many good ideas that focuses on analyzing yourself, not just your partner. The book is marriage focused; however, the concepts could easily carry over into serious dating relationships if your partner is willing and has some degree of self-awareness. Enjoyable, easy to read.
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on June 12, 2004
Me & my s/o have had problems from day one but we both tried to cover it up and work through them. After a year engagement we decided to set a date and plan the wedding. Something explosive happened in our relationship and we were at our end, the wedding was cancelled. It has caused us to basically give up and seperate. This is the last thing both of us wanted to do especially with 2 young children, but we didn't know what else to do but to take a break from one another, so I am setting to leave. After watching the relationship rescue episodes of Dr. Phil on television, I said I have to get this book - this is my only hope. I'm not even done with the book and I already feel confident that my relationship will work out just fine with time and dedication. Dr. Phil is down to earth, he doesn't play any games. I listen to the CD in my car on my way home from work since I never have time to read. Make sure you buy the Relationship Rescue workbook along with it! If your partner wants your relationship to be rescued he will go through this workbook with you. The CD will lift you up in ways you can't imagine...when everything else fails - you need to buy this cd!
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on April 17, 2004
In his book "Relationship Rescue," Dr. Phil offers great guidelines on how to build a healthy relationship. He warns us against the devastating effect of the myths that exist in our society about relationships (i.e.: in a great relationship you never fight, you are romantic all the time, you only have common interests...) and encourages us instead to stop working on our partners in order to make them fit these unrealistic standards, and take a look at how we operate. For him the key is in realistically evaluating the state of your relationship, and becoming aware of what you do that sabotages it. If you don't like what you see and understand your role in it, you gain the power to change things and create the relationship that works for you.
In the book I particularly enjoyed this idea of giving up working on your partner and your relationship to make them better. I recently encountered this idea in the book "Working on your Relationship Doesn't Work" by Ariel and Shya Kane. It is a very unique and soothing book with an immediate power of transformation and I enthusiastically recommend it to anyone interested in discovering novel ways to create meaningful, intimate and magical relationships. Check it out!
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on April 8, 2003
I found this series very helpful. I purchased the CD version and 2 workbooks. I actually listened to the cd's with my partner using headphones... but we did the workbook separately. The workbooks are always supposed to be private. The thing I have to say about Dr Phil is that he gives you new perspective that you can take away with you... The first thing to work on in the relationship is yourself, not focusing on what your partner is doing wrong. I found this very helpful as I was all rev-ed up to hear what the other person was going to be doing wrong. And truthfully the whole *whose wrong/whose right* issue is a no-win situation. So not starting there was helpful for me.
I found that Dr Phil puts things in a new light. If I am feeling like my partner isnt doing thier half... I remind myself that in a relationship it isnt really 50/50...its really up to everyone to give 100% not just the 50%... It was those kinds of shifts in my thinking that i found most helpful. and continue to find most helpful.
I know Dr Phil has his detractors... In general I find his advice deals with shifts in your thinking becasue what you are doing isnt working in your life. And that can be quite empowering. I enjoy his folk-sy style and sense of humor and i have found his advice to be sound and full of common sense.
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According to McGraw, the first relationship to rescue is the one we have with ourselves. Unless and until that is achieved, our relationships with others will probably remain (to varying degrees) dysfunctional. To paraphrase Thoreau, many of those involved in relationships of various kinds feel trapped in "lives of quiet desperation." Approximately half of all marriages end in divorce. Perhaps as many as 70% of all corporate mergers fail. It is probably impossible to determine how many once close friendships deteriorate or end acrimoniously. How many of these relationships could have been rescued? Presumably those who purchase McGraw's books feel a need to improve their effectiveness as human beings. In this volume, he suggests a rigorous seven-step strategy for "reconnecting" with ourselves as well as with others.
1. Analyze the relationship: What happened? What's wrong? What's missing?
2. Assume personal responsibility; eliminate consideration of "blame, "guilt," etc.
3. Also eliminate all negative ("wrong") thoughts
4. "Embrace" relationship realties ("truths")
5. Understand and then apply the "Formula for Success" he offers
6. With total honesty, "renegotiate" the terms and conditions of each relationship
7. Then commit to sustaining mutual love and respect in harmony
In First, Break All the Rules, Buckingham and Coffman discuss what could be characterized as "business tough love." They insist (and I wholly agree) that if a supervisor sincerely cares about the welfare of those for whom she or he is responsible, it is imperative to be totally honest with each of them, especially when there are unpleasant issues to resolve. Long ago, my own experience in the business world convinced me that constructive criticism has credibility only when those who offer it are respected and trusted by those who receive it. Moreover, constructive criticism is most effective only when those who receive it are convinced that those who offer it sincerely care about them.
McGraw presupposes that those who implement the seven-step strategy do so in good faith. In terms of the relationship with his reader, he obviously sees his function as providing no-nonsense guidance and (yes) encouragement throughout the difficult process if implementation. It is indeed a very difficult process because the most powerful of human emotions are active in dysfunctional relationships, notably love and, of course, pain. McGraw's credibility with readers has much less to do with his credentials and celebrity status, I believe, than with the fact that he speaks with a candor that is credible because it is so rare. He cares deeply about helping people to face and then cope with unpleasant realities, challenging them to have the courage to trust what is admirable within them and nourish it with total honesty in the most important relationship of all: with themselves.
Because so many of McGraw's ideas in this book are compellingly relevant to relationships in business, I hope he will write a book for those in the workplace and especially for those with supervisory responsibilities. It would be a mistake to distinguish between dysfunctional personal and dysfunctional professional relationships. The causes of the former are certain to be virtually the same for the latter. But to repeat the thought with which I began this review, "the first relationship to rescue is the one we have with ourselves. Unless and until that is achieved, our relationships with others will probably remain (to varying degrees) dysfunctional." The choice is ours. It always has been and always will be.
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on November 11, 2002
This is by far the best resource I have ever seen for doing focused relationship repair/building work. I initially picked up this book at a friend's house and found the cover to be enticing. Dr. Phil was blowing apart some long-held myths about relationships and I was intrigued. By the time I got ahold of the book my own relationship was needing some serious attention and I drove in with both feet. I doubt my fiance will ever even see this book and it really doesn't matter. I'm a hypnotherapist and I work a lot with people who are looking for change in their lives. I understand the power of taking responsibility for my side of the street and the difference that can make. I'm a little more than halfway through the book and things have improved dramatically between my fiance and me already. I am learning more about myself than I ever imagined I would, and what I am learning will be useful for me going forward in many areas of my life, not just the romantic love relationship that I'm in. I rarely endorse this kind of self-help, but this book is excellent.
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on October 11, 2002
Do not buy this book unless you are serious about examining yourself closely and acheiving real improvement in your closest relationships. Dr. Phil is no nonsense! He comes on strong and won't let you get away with blaming all your problems on your spouse. As a result, people either seem to love him or hate him. If you are not ready to face up to your own mistakes then this is probably not the book for you. He makes you admit and take responsibility for your own bad behavior first. This approach is not for the faint of heart. It requires a lot of work, however I have found that it has helped me tremendously. I have faced my own actions that were causing most of the problems I was experiencing in my marriage. Previously, I had been blaming most of the problems on my wife. It seems simple, but Dr. Phil continually reminds the reader throughout this book that we can only change ourselves. This simple fact has forced me to get real and to look at my relationships in a new light. I highly suggest you buy this book, but don't do it unless you are ready to make a commitment to change!
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