Cover image for Fear of intimacy
Fear of intimacy
Firestone, Robert.
Personal Author:
First edition.
Publication Information:
Washington, DC : American Psychological Association, [1999]

Physical Description:
xvi, 358 pages : illustrations ; 27 cm
Subject Term:
Added Author:
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
BF575.I5 F57 1999 Adult Non-Fiction Central Closed Stacks

On Order



Why is it that the relationships we care about most - those with our intimate partners - often seem doomed to fail? Why do we feel compelled to punish those closest to us who love and appreciate our real qualities? In ""Fear of Intimacy"", the authors bring almost 40 years of clinical experience to bear in challenging the usual ways of thinking about couples and families. They argue that relationships fail not for the commonly cited reasons, but because psychological defences formed in childhood act as a barrier to closeness in adulthood. A wide range of cross-generational case studies and powerful personal accounts illustrate how the ""fantasy bond"", a once-useful but now destructive form of self-parenting, jeopardizes meaningful attachments. Written in clear, jargon-free language, this book shows how therapists can help identify and overcome the messages of the internal ""voice"" that fosters distortions of the self and loved ones. Related issues such as interpersonal ethics and the role of stereotyping are also discussed. The authors' innovative approach should be of interest to therapists and couples alike.

Reviews 1

Choice Review

This book continues the presentation of Firestone's exploration of the "fantasy bond" by showing how these defense mechanisms formed in childhood act as barriers to closeness in adulthood. Specifically, the authors demonstrate through a series of clinical vignettes that people involved in personal relationships characterized by emotional hunger, desperation, and an intense need for fusion tend to utilize deception and distortion so as to interfere with their efforts to develop a genuine love, respect, and concern for each other. Firestone's voice therapy is illustrated to show how individuals can put words to the unconscious yet destructive thinking patterns that inhibit their ability to form and maintain intimate relationships. The "voice" is described as a systematized pattern of negative thoughts and attitudes that is part of a self-parenting, inward protective posture that prevents individuals from finding gratification in significant relationships. This book will assist therapists in gaining an empathic understanding of the defenses and resistances to intimacy that they encounter in their work, and it will also be instructive for upper-level undergraduates through graduate students studying psychology and for educated lay people who wish to further their understanding of themselves and their relationships. Highly recommended. R. B. Stewart Jr.; Oakland University

Table of Contents

Acknowledgmentsp. vii
Prefacep. ix
Introductionp. 3
I. Foundationsp. 11
Chapter 1. The Challenge of Intimate Relationshipsp. 13
Chapter 2. Why Relationships Failp. 33
Chapter 3. An Ethical Perspective: Human Rights Issues in Personal Relationshipsp. 53
Chapter 4. The Ideal Couple Relationshipp. 77
Chapter 5. Characteristics of the Ideal Familyp. 99
II. Psychodynamics of Relationshipsp. 121
Chapter 6. Inwardness: Self-Protective Patterns That Restrict Emotional Transactions Between Partnersp. 123
Chapter 7. Remedial Procedures: Experiences That Affect Inward Patterns in the Couple and Familyp. 143
Chapter 8. The Fantasy Bond in Couple Relationshipsp. 163
Chapter 9. Withholding in Couple and Family Relationshipsp. 181
Chapter 10. Menp. 193
Chapter 11. Womenp. 207
III. Countering the Inner Voice: Methods and Theoryp. 225
Chapter 12. Voices Affecting Intimacyp. 227
Chapter 13. The Therapeutic Process in Couples Therapyp. 245
Chapter 14. A Pilot Study Applying Voice Therapy With Four Couples: Clinical Material From a Series of Specialized Group Discussionsp. 271
Chapter 15. Transference, the Therapeutic Alliance, and Lovep. 301
Referencesp. 315
Author Indexp. 341
Subject Indexp. 347
About the Authorsp. 357