Reclaiming positive stories can help couples that have become distant, strained and stressed find ways to connect and strengthen their relationships. Dr. Karen Skerrett, a staff clinician and faculty member at The Family Institute at Northwestern University, explores this concept in her co-authored book, Positive Couple Therapy: Using We-Stories to Enhance Resilience (Routledge, 2014).

Using the authors' combined years of psychological expertise, the book teaches couples and therapists unique methods for uncovering positive potential within a relationship, and focuses on "We-stories": shared stories between the members of a couple that define and guide their relationship. The book defines and illustrates in concrete ways what is meant by the "we" -- an element increasingly found in research to be a key dimension for couple resilience. "We-stories serve four vital positive functions for couples," says Dr. Skerrett. "They help shape the couple's mutual identity; provide meaning and purpose in the couple's life; serve as guides for current interaction and future growth; and are positive repositories of the couple's wisdom and a means of transmitting their legacy to others in their lives."

The book demonstrate these "we-stories," and how they help couples connect. Couples that are able to find their stories, share them with each other, and then carry them forward to family, friends and a larger community are more likely to preserve a sense of mutuality that will thrive over a lifetime of partnership. " The book arose from a joint passion to rebalance the negative emphasis in the field of couple treatment ," says Dr. Skerrett. It is filled with vivid couple stories, and case examples of couples from a diverse perspective such as LGBT and military couples. It contains exercises for partners and couples, and illustrates opportunities and challenges for couple growth at various stages across the life cycle.

What does the writer mean by saying a joint passion & rebalance negative emphasis ?

  • 2
    Joint in this sense means together; the two people shared a passion. That passion had an objective: to develop a positive emphasis (in the field of couple treatment) to balance out the prevailing negative emphasis. They wanted to work together to improve the field of couple treatment.
    – Dan Bron
    Feb 26, 2015 at 23:33
  • "rebalance the negative emphasis". Does that mean "put more emphasis on the positive"?
    – TimR
    Feb 27, 2015 at 0:11

2 Answers 2


The book arose from a joint passion to rebalance the negative emphasis in the field of couple treatment.

Joint passion:


Joint: (adj) 13. shared by or common to two or more: "a joint obligation." Dictionary.reference


Passion: (noun) 2. strong amorous feeling or desire; love; ardor. Dictionary.reference

So "joint passion" is the love a particular group of people have (here, assumingly the authors or contributors) towards doing something.

Rebalance the negative emphasis:

Negative emphasis in the field of [something]: The negative potential that has been dominant in that field.

Rebalance: To change the amount or level of one or more things in order to improve a particular situation. Cambridge Online Dictionary


Those psychologists all loved to do something in order to bring the field of couple treatment into an equilibrium, by 'fighting' the negative potential that has been in the field for a long time.


They want to say:

Experts on counseling couples have focused on couples' problems. We wrote this book because we strongly feel that this has resulted in a need to write from a positive perspective, one focused on developing couples' strengths and recognizing and enjoying the good things in their relationships.

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