A psychotherapist’s goldmine. I have been a couples therapist for more than twenty years, and have never felt satisfied with the efficacy of existing approaches. In my clinical opinion, the Undefended Love model is the most exciting development in the field. I have never seen such a sensitive, compelling, respectful process. What Jett Psaris and Marlena Lyons have done in less than 200 pages is provide the reader with the means to explore themselves and their relationships in a way that gently expands their capacity to create fulfillment.
~Gerda K.Young, Ph.D.
A friend gifted me this book 7-8 years ago. I read it very slowly with an open mind and there was some transformation. However, it was difficult, felt like hard work, and though I loved to hear about its promises, I was very resistant.
Now, I’ve cracked the book open again, 8 years later, and am impassionedly tearing through the lessons, eating up the intense transformation I am feeling, and am ecstatic about how easy the work feels this time. I believe the difference is that I am reading it again with an open heart. I needed my mind to interpret what I read, but my heart is what is able to take in the profound meaning of this book and make the transformations happen.
At this point I feel like I’ve just begun my journey with this book towards true joy and love. Though, I am already confident that the promises this book offers are real, and through the tools I’ve learned from my reading of it, my heart can now lead me back to me.
I have read a lot of books on love and relationships and this is by far my favorite. “Undefended Love” was recommended to me by a friend to use as a source in writing my masters thesis on the connection between intimate relationships and the individuation process. Little did I know at the time what a gift this book would be, and not just as an academic resource. I don’t feel it’s an exaggeration to say that this book changed my life as a therapist, a partner, and as an individual. Psaris and Lyons beautifully explore the dynamics of intimate relationships, looking at how we become the partners that we are and how we can actually use the conflicts that inevitably arise in our love relationships as opportunities for growth, not only of the relationship but also of oneself. They write, “When we experience conflict or dissatisfaction in our relationships, we are being called on to develop something in ourselves that is weak, hidden, or unknown.” Psaris and Lyons ask the reader to shift their focus away from blaming their partner when things go awry and instead look at what it is within themselves that is contributing to the conflict and calling to be healed. Using concepts that are simple in theory yet challenging in practice, the authors guide the reader through delving deeply into their own personal history and wounds in an effort to uncover their authentic self and open the possibility for real and pure love. Intimate relationships and the conflicts that naturally arise within them are a universal experience – I don’t know anyone who could not benefit from reading this beautiful book.
~ Nicole (Goleta, CA)
Undefended Love is a rare and wonderful book. It speaks with timeless wisdom about the nature of our true self, and of how we relate to ourselves, our lives and our loved ones. This book can free you and enhance you – providing a deeper and compassionate understanding of the reactive and compensating patterns we all develop to protect ourselves. It is these very patterns that so often cause us to contract in our lives and in our relationships, and that cost us the full experience of feeling open, safe, and connected to life and others.
With a wonderfully balanced mix of concepts, examples and solutions, the authors take us on a journey into our deepest selves – into both our timeless essence and into our deepest and most fiercely protected fears. They then lovingly illuminate the path beyond those fears into greater wholeness, peace and open-heartedness. This is a book about true strength – the strength to face and fully experience those parts of ourselves which we so often deny and turn away from, the strength to be open and experience ourselves and others absent our usual constricting defenses. It is so often the same walls we think protect us that deny us the full experience of the wonder of our own life and of connecting with others. This book is one of the most elegant maps of the territory beyond such defenses that I have ever encountered – a place of texture, nuance and richness that most people believe is reserved for just a few special moments in their lives.
I have read many books on psychology, conditioning, communication, relationship and the like. Very few have touched me as deeply as this one. Do yourself a true favor and read this book. It will enrich your life.
~ D. Morgan (San Diego, CA)
My heartfelt thanks to the authors of this book for Chapter 7, Moving Beyond the Impulse to REACT. The lessons I learned in this chapter about loving unconditionally saved my marriage–not only saved it, but improved it 100%.
I heartily recommend this book for anyone who has a relationship they want to keep.
~ Philip Sheridan “Librarian & Storyteller” (mill valley, CA USA)
As I am writing a book on relationship and have a relationship myself that needs evolving, I have not only read but carefully studied the majority of the most important English speaking teachers of relationship in our time. Among the very impressive giants of the field, I found Marlena Lyons and Jett Psaris to be the most helpful. They are extremely thorough and clear in telling you why you need to take responsibility for your reactions to your partner whether or not their behavior is a problem in itself (not just that you do) and how to do it at the deepest core level possible. They go beyond telling you what it means to treat your partner in a conscious way and the importance of knowing yourself and validating yourself, rather than seeking to get that from your partner, to telling you what you need to do and how to do it to actually achieve that holy grail. The book explains a concept, gives you guided self inquiry questions that enable you to identify where you are in relationship to the concept, and then gives exercises that enable you to do the work of understanding and healing yourself. As the process unfolds through the course of the book, you learn the skills to heal yourself and your relationship, one layer after another.
The interplay of the writers beautiful languaging skills and the depth of their perceptions means that this book is peppered with memorable, quotable quotes on most pages. My book is underlined all over the place. It is deep book without being a difficult read. I couldn’t put it down. I was mesmerized and read it over a couple of days. In the middle of the book I looked up the authors web-site and signed up for their next workshop. That’s how powerful it was for me.
Undefended Love is a very helpful book for both therapists working with relationships and for people seeking to save and heal their relationships. It is also an immensely helpful book for people seeking either to use their relationships to heal themselves and or take their relationship from an emotionally healthy place to a really exciting transformative place. For those who wish to take that journey of spiritual partnership into conscious living, conscious relating, this is an amazing guidebook. It is also an excellent book for anyone who is not in a relationship who wants to heal their deep childhood wounds and free themselves of their conditioning. Esther Perlis, in her book Mating in Captivity, speaks of the need to bring mystery,the unknown and uncertainty into relationships in order to keep the passion alive. Undefended Love tells the most fundamental way to do this. I am now telling people that if they can only read one book on relationship to read Undefended Love.
~ Anastas Harris (Escondido, CA, US)
I’m a longtime entrepreneur, business consultant, and joy/miracles coach. In 40+ years of research and personal inquiry, this is by far the most extraordinary book I’ve ever seen, on how to become fully human — that is, how to live openhearted and fully available to all of Life. I’ve given away at least a dozen copies of this book, and everyone who’s read it agrees — it’s a transformational work.
When I first found it about 3 years ago, Undefended Love provided me with the keys to unlocking the doors to self-connection, transparency, intimacy, and freedom in my life … in a way that 37 years of pretty courageous, determined Life-seeking study, workshops, and spiritual practice hadn’t been able to do.
In particular, Psaris and Lyons’ concept of “broken toe” is *REVOLUTIONARY*. In 5 minutes, it forever transformed my relationship with my own upsets, in a way that consistently brings presence, compassion, openheartedness, tenderness, and unbounded intimacy into my most important relationships (partner, mother, sibling), where before there had all too often only been blame, hurt, and estrangement.
This book is an immeasurable blessing.
~ Victoria Miller
Deep engaging topic and conversational style of writing. I felt like I was in relationship to the book and intimate with the emotional realm.
Invaluable process! A must read for deeper intimacy with self and other.
~ Donna D’eufemia
This book is a very concise compendium of some very big truths about ourselves and how we allow our relationships to fall victim to old habits and hurts in a never ending cycle that guarantees our unhappiness and dissatisfaction. But while it explains this cycle more concisely than I have ever seen before, the real treasure lies in discovering that we have choice to continue the cycle or to disengage, one small incident at a time, and discover the parts of ourselves that prevent us from finding joy and fulfillment in our relationships and our lives. The practices the authors describe are easily understood and very powerful (yes, that means they are often painful). But I would virtually guarantee that your first successful engagement with yourself will make you come back for more. Identifying our patterns, understanding ourselves with compassion, and finally experiencing the freedom from the behaviors and thoughts that keep us from experiencing deep happiness is as exciting and fulfilling an experience as I can identify. This book has been and continues to be a powerful resource in transforming my life and relationships. This is not a book of new philosophy nor an academic tome. It is a very readable and usable set of examples that can help you transform your life.
~ J. Underwood (SAN FRANCISCO, CA USA)
I highly recommend this book for eveyone, whether in an intimate relationship or not. It clearly takes you to a place deep inside yourself, exploring your past protection strategies that cover the essence of your being. It gives you the path to recover the essence of who you are and how to enrich your relationships to see the essence of the other person.
Very powerful ideas.
~ Leslie Ann Trook (San Francisco)
Ever wonder why the Love in your life doesn’t quite live up to the potential of the word? Then this book is for you! Reading this book has helped me deepen my own relationships – both with myself and my spouse. Little did I know how many agreements in our marriage were made up of transactions and had very little to do with unconditional love. Now I have wonderful tools to transform my relationship starting with myself. This empowering book lovingly describes how we shut out love with our defenses, and then expect others to penetrate those walls “if they love us.” Undefended Love is about taking ownership of your own walls and helps you decide if they are really ‘protecting’ you like you thought they would when you put them up! If you’re ready for the Unconditional Love you keep hearing about but have yet to experience, than this book is for you. If you are in a relationship and want to get past the cultural view of ‘success’ than read this book! You owe it to yourself and your partner to begin to love Undefended. It is the sweetest love there is. I lovingly and kindly thank these authors for sharing this book with the world.
~ Starr Sheppard-decker “meSTarr” (Portland, OR)