The authors move from an initial consideration of love as a part of close relationships to provide a historical context for love; they then present the most recent empirical work on the topic and point the way towards exciting and innovative research and applications. Although written primarily from a social-psychological perspective, it draws material from other disciplines such as sociobiology and family studies.
After a brief historical and clinical overview, the authors discuss factors and issues that either contribute to, or hinder, good relationships. Topics explored include: the various relationship combinations found in stepfamilies; child abuse in stepfamilies; extended family relations; and clinical perspectives that provide insight into both well-functioning and dysfunctional stepfamilies.
Central to the discussion is the author's contention that relationships are solidly based in the recognition of shared meaning, which is discovered in the way we metaphorically represent the world to ourselves and to others through everyday talk and symbols.
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