the Science of Love – Letter to the Editor

published in SCIENTIFIC MIND

Harriet Hall’s e-mail in Letters, in which she accuses Robert Epstein’s “Love Building Exercises” of not being scientific, shows a misunderstanding of science.  There are many kinds of science, and the studies cited by Epstein are actually well designed, good experiments.

My scientific training includes a PH.D. in clinical psychology from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.  I have spent the fast four decades as a psycho-therapist and graduate school teacher.  My reading of the professional literature and my therapeutic experience strongly supports the personal and clinical benefits of the exercises mentioned by Epstein.  I do these exercises in couple’s therapy, allowing the practice of powerful behaviors that really can bring a couple closer together.  One of the most important outcomes is unlearning or relieving the common and strong anxiety many people experience because of the vulnerability inherent in emotional intimacy.

Therapy outcome research is extremely hard to do well.  Moving from published science to creative therapeutic applications in real-life healing requires careful, extensive and long-term assessment of measurable treatment outcomes – a real challenge.  Unfortunately, many clinicians pay little attention to the scientific literature and thereby miss both therapeutic options and reports of what does not prove useful over time.

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