The Power of Discord: Why the Ups and Downs of Relationships Are the Secret to Building Intimacy, Resilience, and Trust (Hardcover)
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This "profoundly wise" look at how to foster connections, attachment, and resiliency explains why working through discord is the key to better relationships. (Sue Johnson, bestselling author of Hold Me Tight)
You might think that perfect harmony is the defining characteristic of healthy relationships, but the truth is that human interactions are messy, complicated, and confusing. And according to renowned psychologist Ed Tronick and pediatrician Claudia Gold, that is not only okay, it is actually crucial to our social and emotional development. In The Power of Discord they show how working through the inevitable dissonance of human connection is the path to better relationships with romantic partners, family, friends, and colleagues.
Dr. Tronick was one of the first researchers to show that babies are profoundly affected by their parents' emotions and behavior via "The Still-Face Experiment." His work, which brought about a foundational shift in our understanding of human development, shows that our highly evolved sense of self makes us separate, yet our survival depends on connection. And so we approximate, iteratively learning about one another's desires and intentions, and gaining confidence in the process as we correct the mistakes and misunderstandings that arise.
Working through the volley of mismatch and repair in everyday life helps us form deep, lasting, trusting relationships, resilience in times of stress and trauma, and a solid sense of self in the world. Drawing on Dr. Tronick's research and Dr. Gold's clinical experience, The Power of Discord is a refreshing and original look at our ability to relate to others and to ourselves.
About the Author
Ed Tronick, PhD, is a developmental and clinical psychologist, and the co-founder of the Child Development Unit at Boston Children's hospital and the Touchpoints Program with T. Berry Brazelton. He is currently a University Distinguished Professor of Psychology at the University of Massachusetts Boston, a Research Associate in Newborn Medicine at Harvard Medical School, and director of the Infant-Parent Mental Health Fellowship Program at the University of Massachusetts Boston, which has trained more than 500 interdisciplinary practitioners from all over the world. He has co-authored and authored five books and more than 450 scientific papers on infant neuro-behavior, social-emotional development, cross-cultural parenting practices, and the Still-Face paradigm, which he developed.
He has been featured by Nova, 60 Minutes, the New York Times, and the Boston Globe, among others and speaks to audiences world-wide.
Claudia M. Gold, MD, is a pediatrician and writer with a long-standing interest in addressing children's mental health needs in a preventive model. She practiced general and behavioral pediatrics for over 20 years, and currently specializes in infant-parent mental health. She is the author of Keeping Your Child in Mind, The Silenced Child, and The Developmental Science of Early Childhood. She writes regularly for Psychology Today, and speaks frequently to a wide range of audiences. She is on the faculty of the Infant-Parent Mental Health Fellowship Program at the University of Massachusetts Boston and the Brazelton Institute at Boston Children's Hospital.
"In this fabulous book, which everyone must own, Ed Tronick and Claudia Gold give all of us a scientifically-based compass for negotiating the messiness of social interaction. Rather than searching for perfection, in this book they teach us that it is the messiness and the mistakes we inevitably make as parents, friends, and lovers, and the repair of our mistakes that really matters. For in repair we 'co-create a new meaning,' and relationships thrive and proceed, full of life and good enough. Get this book!"
—John Gottman, author of Seven Principles for Making Marriage Work
"Lively and riveting...Human connections have the power to heal by engaging us in a new set of moment-to- moment mismatches...as long as we are open to repair and reconnect."
—Bessel van der Kolk, MD, author of The Body Keeps the Score
"A brilliant overview of our contemporary relational landscape that argues that what people -- both children and adults -- need most is the messiness of real relationships, with their conflicts, partial resolutions, and imperfect efforts at repair. In trying to make these things work, we practice attention, connection, and listening. We practice our humanity. We learn to put technology in its place. A book for thinking and for practical action. A must-read."
—Sherry Turkle, author of Alone Together: Why We Expect More from Technology
"This profoundly wise book sets out how the dance of connection and disconnection with attachment figures molds our nervous system, our emotional lives, our sense of self, and our ability to dance in tune with others. When we miss each other is when we truly learn to turn, reach, and connect. There are no slick tips for perfect relationships with your kids or lovers here. Just a deep understanding of how the imperfections of life and love can make us strong."
—Sue Johnson, author of Hold Me Tight
"Our relationships with attachment figures are often innately 'messy' and filled with discord as mismatches rupture the attuned, resonant alignments that are possible in our relational world. The reconnection established in the mismatch-repair process illuminated in this important work enables us to develop resilience in the face of the inevitable disconnections in these important self-defining close connections in our lives. This wise book will help many to reframe such ruptures as opportunities rather than troublesome burdens, painful yet important challenges that can actually afford us the interactive reconnection experiences that serve as the foundation for flourishing in life."—Daniel J. Siegel, MD, author of Mindsight and Clinical Professor, UCLA School of Medicine