Through LibraryThing.com I now and then get review copies of books newly or nearly published, in exchange for writing a review. This is one of those. It’s not very political, to say the least, but it does have a lot to do with humans living in society together.

The book is Essentials of Premarital Counseling: Creating Compatible Couples, by Sandra L. Ceren, Loving Healing Press, 2008

I enjoyed reading this book, profited from it, and will certainly use it as a reference, and to help me keep perspective in my own counseling situations.

She sets out a ten-session pre-marital counseling program, explaining what to do with each session. I do not foresee using that outline, but it is helpful to follow her through her reasons and strategies.

The heart of the book is two long self-surveys for each individual to fill out. Then they are talked through with the counselor. “Fill out” is inadequate as the questions (100 on the “Relationship Quiz” and 58 on the “Personality Quiz”) are the type that usually require more than a 1-word answer. No doubt some answers could go on to more than a page.

The “Relationship Quiz” comes with a second copy within which the author adds her own comments about the significance of the questions and/or the significance of possible answers. This is all helpful, allowing us the benefit of her experienced insight in a very practical, as against theoretical, context.

There is helpful content on conflict resolution, including a number of suggested role-playing situations, again with helpful comments from the author about each one.

Helpful additional chapters treat “personality disorders” and other interesting personality tendencies that are not necessarily diagnosable.

The author’s extensive experience lends to the book’s realism, but that realism did not leave me with a negative feeling. She communicates hopefulness about marriage relationships, even in some pretty challenging situations.

There is no index, but the short bibliographic section at the back got me interested in pursuing some other resources, including the idea of “Cinema Therapy”.

There are some linguistic oddities that usually are an obvious result of not quite enough editing. I could probably list two dozen. (An example: “If he is chooses not to complain …”) That’s unfortunate, because the quality of the content deserves a little better treatment in the process of getting published.

But the book is substantial and sensible. I recommend it.