I am a clinical psychologist practicing in Nashua, NH (Southern New Hampshire, some 40 miles north of Boston). Much of my work is with couples (marriage and relationship counseling), an outgrowth of the book and 20+ years of counseling individuals and couples toward more satisfying intimate relationships.
My undergraduate study was at Brandeis University, where I was very interested in social psychology, and most influenced by the work of Zick Rubin, an earliest contributor to the systematic social psychological study of love relationships. He actually encouraged me toward clinical psychology, rather than a research career as a social psychologist, as it would have more career options. When I headed to graduate school, I found my interests in social psychology merging with personality and developmental psychology ...
I went on to University of Connecticut for Masters and Doctoral degrees. There I studied under J. Conrad Schwarz, who was conducting a decade-long, large scale study of family dynamics and late adolescent personality development. Dr. Schwarz was concerned with the personalities and interaction patterns of family members, not only in terms of how they perceived themselves (e.g., on psychological tests), but how they were experieced by each member of the family. Each family member did similar psychological tests to describe one another. With these tests and surveys he examined how couples communicate, how they feel about their own marriage, how they resolve problems, how they raised their children ... in sum, how they contributed to their children being either more resiliant or more vulnerable to the problems of adolescence and young adulthood. What resulted were huge data sets which taxed the computers of that era! I worked with him for several years, and when it came time to do my own dissertation, I tracked-down folks who had been in Dr. Schwarz study (on whom we already had this tremendous amount of developmental and family data), and inquired in depth about their romantic love relationships thus far in their lives. (They would now be mid-life. Maybe I can track them down once again?)
What I learned, most importantly, is that reliable, comprehensive data about family backgrounds can lead to clearer understanding of the continuity in personality over the decades of ones life. I learned that so much which seems elusive in the study of personality can be brought into more reliable focus with good data. Good data stands the test of time, and can give enduring substance to self-help writing. I believe that's why the book which resulted -- If This Is Love, Why Do I Feel So Insecure? -- has remained in print and a brisk seller for more than two decades.
My graduate school experience also was shaped by the Social Learning Theory of Julian Rotter, who headed the clinical psychology training program. Dr. Rotter's theory makes paramount the understanding of people's expectations, needs, and how they construe their interpersonal world. My interests, as captured in my book, bring these areas together.
In my daily clinical work with clients, I try to illuminate how our family backgrounds, interacting with our current circumstances as we perceive, react and shape them, impact our adult love relationships. From this perspective there are no villains to blame, only ourselves and our partners to better understand and appreciate. Couples seeking to improve communications and intimacy in their relationships appreciate such a non-judgmental approach to understanding and improving their relationships.