by Niccy Fraser in “Counselling Today/Nga Korero Awhina” (a monthly publication of the NZ Association of Counsellors)

Nic Beet’s new book “Make Love work: A practical guide to relationship success” is an excellent source of professional development for practitioners, both personally and professionally.

It is written for the public, mainly oriented to hetero sexual couples in  long term, committed relationships. This book is refreshing in our short attention span, quick fix, throw-away-age. An absolute treasure. Nic Beets is an experienced couples therapist, intent on providing  accurate  information and guidance  to enhance couple connection, closeness and good quality sexual relationships. In essence, how  to  maintain and grow respectful, flourishing, couple relationships.

This book is brave and sensible, a revolt against the dominant, unhelpful information about love, relationships and sex we are so regularly exposed to in our culture. Hence the choice of title; Making our relationships work, which requires work, much effort and  risking  being vulnerable. Nic’s voice is clear, warm and  compassionate  with dry humor. His practice ethics  shine steadily through out his writing.

Acknowledging the expense of couples therapy and limited  therapists available in Aotearoa, Nic has provided an accessible, in depth “do it yourself “ guide for couples. I believe he has certainly delivered; providing  foundational theory and up to 60 different  exercises for readers to practice new behaviours.

The beginning chapters  on neurobiology, differentiation and attachment surprised me with  such  detailed explanations  but as the book progresses, everything rests on these frameworks. I imagine for the public, this explanation could be a mix of  empowerment  and over whelm. Once understood and digested, there is potential for better  understanding of  why it takes such effort to change long held, automatic, individual and partnered ways of relating.

Nic draws on various spheres of knowledge; his  own lived experience of being in a long term, committed relationship,  three decades of specialist couples practice with his partner Verity Thom, learnings from  couple  clients, mentors, supervisors, research and above mentioned theoretical frameworks.

Make Love work: A practical guide to relationship success is a challenging book to read as it is so jampacked. For those who dare to complete some of the exercises, you may discover things about yourself that you didn’t know and are not comfortable with. Beware of how much better you may become in your relationships!

If curiosity takes  you  direct to chapter 15: Sex, passion, eroticism and intimacy, start there and then read backwards. If you are time pressed,  do a quick read by selecting relevant chapters  or absorb the illuminating couple case study and information summaries at end of each chapter. If you have time and the head space I  would recommend  a slow close read, than a reread with one’s partner and discussion.

 I  fully appreciated this book, which  has grown me, my own partnership and  my counselling practice. I will be  referring this resource to my counselling clients.

This book is very well written and  strongly researched. I highly recommend Make love work: A guide to relationship success which will benefit  the public, counsellors and therapists.

Niccy Fraser

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