Create the Life You Need!
Dr. Charles Franklin,
PhD., LCSW, BCD
Perfect bound, 96 pages, 6" x 9"
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About the Book
Though it may not always be, as Sartre said, that, “Hell is other people,” our relationships with them can often seem very far from heaven.
Making these relationships function more successfully calls for skills that many of us find do not come easily. What these skills are, and the ways we can fit them into our daily lives, are lessons Dr. Charles Franklin has learned over many years of therapeutic interactions with a wide range of people and their problems.
Now, in Create the Life You Need! he shares the benefits of his lifetime of healing work and presents the results in a clear style and reader-friendly format that maximizes the impact of this vital information.
Over his career, Dr. Franklin has provided treatment for a broad spectrum of patients and clients in areas as varied as marriage and family counseling, helping veterans with severe PTSD, treating victims of early childhood trauma, and providing mental health services after major disasters. In addition, he enhances the valuable lessons of Create the Life You Need! with examples of situations and relationships in his own life that have yielded better ways to deal with the problems we all must face.
First, Dr. Franklin wisely tells us, we must learn to know ourselves: What are the inescapable realities built into our human existence, and what opportunities does life nevertheless give us to change and grow?
Then, once we realize and accept this distinction, the world outside awaits us! This is the world Sartre dreaded but one, as Dr. Franklin makes clear, that can offer unbounded potential for happiness, fulfillment, and joy. The sources are all around us: our friends, family and neighbors; those we date and dine with, work with and wed—and then our children, whom we raise to be the adults we hope we can be ourselves.
None of this is easy. Communication takes work; handling emotions takes work; relationships take work; life takes work. But through challenge—and sometimes through crisis—come change and achievement. Life is dynamic, not static; the universe is always evolving. If we learn, we will grow.
In this book, the culmination of his professional and personal experiences, Dr. Franklin does more than just lay down an outline to accomplish our goals. He spells out in step-by-step detail exactly how we can master the essential skills to blend our own lives successfully with the world around us.
The focus for Dr. Franklin has always been giving, and his many years as a therapist and teacher have made possible a career filled with lessons learned and shared. And now in this book, he passionately conveys his understanding of the most important of these truths: Above all else, he insists, life is an opportunity!
From Chapter 3
Intimacy requires understanding. Successful couples share where they are, what they want, and why they want it. This lets them become practically and emotionally supportive, since they have to find agreement. Understanding requires open exchange.
Intimacy requires empathy. We must know what our companion is feeling and why. Thus, we could imagine having the same feelings in the same situation. Empathy requires that we tune in to ourselves and find an emotional similarity with our companion.
Intimacy also needs affection. Affection includes love, admiration, and encouragement. Yet strong affection makes us vulnerable to pain. Problems can switch our emotions and even our commitment. Caring makes us happy but vulnerable to sadness, excited but possibly fearful and proud. But if the relationship fails, we could feel ashamed. Thus, affection has a high value, but it must be carefully maintained.
We want our companions to be romantic. That means not just intellectually and emotionally beneficial to us but also physically and sexually attractive. And we want to be attractive to them.
A successful relationship requires a lot! But the benefits are enormous. Self-esteem is increased, encouragement is strong, and assistance is always present. Our learning, growth, and accomplishments are strongly enhanced. Plus happiness is present.
The way to find a companion is by dating. Its purpose is to find out about each other. Thus, at the end of a date, you should know something about the person you’ve been out with that you didn’t know before, and that person should know something about you that was unknown before. This includes things we like and things we don’t. Both are essential.
How does dating compare with courting? Courtship has a different purpose. It is not to show the other person who you are; it is to convince that person to join you. Therefore, people who are courting anticipate what the other person would want to see and receive. They create the appearance they believe will sell themselves best.
That is not reality; it is fake. It might work to deceive the person you are courting in the short run, but since it is not who you actually are and is not sustainable in the long run, the other person will be shocked to discover who you really are, will feel betrayed, and could leave with anger. Nonetheless, courters hope to permanently capture the other person as their spouse: “Now we’re married and have children, so he (or she) has to stay with me.” But even if the person’s values and beliefs require her or him to stay, your spouse is not going to like being stuck there.
From Chapter 4
Love is purely emotional, not logical. Yet it is essential for a romantic companionship because it creates strong motivation to pursue, establish, and maintain intimacy.
But because it is essential, does this mean it’s sufficient? No. There are many other requirements for a healthy relationship—although many people do believe, to quote the song, that love is all you need. Love can give motivation to learn and practice whatever else is missing, but it cannot compensate for other requirements.
If a couple who need counseling are motivated by love, that’s great to hear. Love provides energy to fix their problems. It will not change personalities (or values, goals, or beliefs), but it can change behavior (such as communication, decision-making, and support).
I have worked with couples who have been through hell (sometimes including violence and divorce) yet were so caring that they were willing to work hard to fix their relationship. On the other hand, I’ve had couples who were dealing with relatively minor events or decision-making problems, but because they were no longer in love, it was the end of their relationship.
What causes love to enter two lives? What causes it leave? The answer is not the same for everyone and depends on the individuals involved.
Is there really such a thing as a “love therapist”? No. You cannot fix love, although you have to respect it.
Is affection necessary throughout the relationship? Absolutely! Healthy relationships are always voluntary, and challenges will come from both inside and outside. We will always need strong motivation to overcome them.
Every spouse should say, “I love you. Thank you for being my companion.”
About the Author
In Create the Life You Need! Dr. Charles Franklin, Ph.D., LCSW, BCD, has brought together for the first time the full range of tried-and-true methods and techniques developed over his long career as a therapist and teacher. Together, they offer invaluable help for us all in facing life’s many diverse challenges. Holder of a master’s degree in social work from the University of Washington and a doctorate in sociology from the University of Colorado, Dr. Franklin is a licensed Clinical Social Worker and a certified Divorce and Child Custody Mediator. In addition to his research, writing, and personal counseling work, he has provided private and public outpatient community mental health and inpatient services to a broad range of clients since 1971, and is a qualified Spanish/English bilingual therapist.
He has been an undergraduate and graduate instructor at six universities, teaching family therapy, social welfare, social psychology, sociology of conflict, and social conflict analysis. His expertise and multiple problem-solving approaches to psychological and interpersonal problems also have led to wide success as an educator, negotiator, program manager, consultant, administrator, and leader in his profession.
As a volunteer, Dr. Franklin has worked with the American Friends Service Committee and provided family mental health care after major disaster, community services during racial violence, poverty assistance, psychiatric inpatient services, and educational/community development aid in Guatemala. He has received awards from Colorado Amigos de las Americas, the Colorado Medical Society, the American Red Cross, and the Municipalidad de Fraijanes in Guatemala. In his non-professional life, Dr. Franklin enjoys painting, music, and biking.
Praise for Create the Life You Need!
One of the most sensible, down-to-earth books I have read in a long time. Chuck Franklin has drawn upon his lifelong experience as a therapist and mediator to define the many pathways to a healthy, fulfilling life. He dispels the myths around what creates a happy, fulfilled life. Individuals, no matter their age, will profit from the wit and wisdom of Dr. Franklin.
—Psychologist Carla Garrity, PhD, co-author of Bully-Proofing Your School, Children of Divorce, and Caught in the Middle
Many wise observations about life and analogies to support common-sense approaches. . . . Valuable information for both physicians and psychologists.
—Dr. Madison Jerome Lucas, MD
Interesting, educational, and easy to comprehend. Useful to the average person as well as to a professional counselor.
Easily understood guidelines for individuals who wish to emerge from passivity to take charge of their life and make insightful choices of compatible friends and partners.
—Psychiatrist James Maier, MD
Easy to read and understand . . . content taken from real-life experiences. The examples cover a wide range of life experiences that almost everyone can relate to.
Insightful and beautifully simple.
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