Ask the Expert: Q&A with Alexandra Solomon, PhD

Interview with relationship expert and Love Every Day author, Alexandra Solomon

Alexandra Solomon, Ph.D.

The journey of developing Relational Self-Awareness is not about striving for perfection—it’s about becoming humble and curious about our inner world and the way we relate to others. Introspection and intimacy are inextricably linked. When we truly love and allow ourselves to receive love, especially over the long term, our tender spots, emotional wounds, deepest fears, and insecurities are revealed. Though this can be scary, it creates the possibility for us to be seen and loved as our most authentic selves. . . and to heal from the times when we weren’t.

We sat down with Alexandra Solomon, PhD, author of the new book Love Every Day, a relationship daily devotional that redefines what it means to love and be loved.

How can I use Love Every Day with couples in therapy?

Couples therapy is an effective way for couples to transform unhealthy patterns and to create more connection and ease, but it tends to take place only once a week. Couples therapists are often looking for resources that can help partners maintain their gains between sessions. With its daily micro-lessons, Love Every Day can be used by couples to practice new kinds of conversations with each other. The therapist could ask the couple to read the day’s entry out loud to each other each day and respond to the prompts offered in the entry. If an entry doesn’t include any prompts, the couple could just ask each other questions like:
  • What feels new or different or challenging about this entry?
  • What does this entry make you think about or remind you of from our relationship?
  • How do you think we could make use of this entry in our life?

What type of couples need this book the most? What challenges are they facing? What makes it difficult to treat, that this book becomes such a useful tool?

Regardless of a therapist's preferred orientation, there are particular variables that make couples therapy more or less successful. One of those common factors is “conceptualizing difficulties in relational terms.” No matter your therapeutic approach, you must have a process for helping partners move from a linear view of relationship problems (“My partner is emotionally unavailable” or “My partner is impatient with me”) to a systemic view of relationship problems (“The more I pursue connection, the more my partner pulls away” or “When I feel unheard, I ask the same question again and again, which leads my partner to feel irritated and cornered.”). When a couple comes to therapy, it is usually the case that each partner wants to join with the therapist in an all-hands-on-deck effort to change their partner. The types of couples that need this book are couples who get locked in cycles of finger-pointing and blame because Relational Self-Awareness is about gently and compassionately studying one’s reactivity. This book is designed to help people understand and take responsibility for the patterns and blind spots they bring into their relationship and how these tendencies end up keeping them from getting the very things they want in their relationship—closeness, safety, and vulnerability. The daily exercises in Love Every Day will help couples feel more empowered and effective in their intimate relationships.

How can a therapist use this book for self-care?

I think one of my favorite things about being a therapist is that, in order to show up fully for my clients, I need to (and I get to) remain devoted to my own healing journey. I must keep learning from mentors and colleagues to keep my skills sharp, and I need to keep attending to my own tender spots. That ongoing self-care is what helps me discern the degree to which the reactions I’m having to my clients are telling me something about my own “stuff” or telling me something about my clients’ “stuff.” When it comes to Love Every Day, I don’t want readers to get perfectionistic. You don’t need to read every entry and follow every prompt in order to benefit. Yes, there are a year’s worth of insights, but the book is yours forever. Read the day’s entry when you need a little adjustment or additional support. You can also use an entry to initiate a courageous conversation with your partner, your family member, or your friend. Just make sure that you take your “therapist hat” off and connect human to human.

Praise for Love Every Day

“Alexandra Solomon’s work is mandatory for anyone who desires a road map to improve their relationships (especially with the person in the mirror). Her thoughtful teachings make it easy to view the world with sincere humility, resulting in more confidence and peace within.”
Kristen Bell, actress, producer, author, entrepreneur, and mental health advocate

“Alexandra Solomon’s Love Every Day is like a daily taste of Belgian chocolate: rich and thoughtful musings for when you’re hungry for more satisfying relationships.”
Esther Perel, psychotherapist, New York Times bestselling author, and host of the Where Should We Begin? Podcast

“If you’re ready to deepen and revitalize your relationship, look no further than Love Every Day. With hundreds of reflections and lessons on topics such as trust, intimacy, communication, and commitment, this book is an essential and approachable guide to modern relationships. Solomon is sharp and compassionate, inspiring readers to cultivate the love they truly deserve.”
Lori Gottlieb, New York Times bestselling author of Maybe You Should Talk to Someone and co-host of the Dear Therapists podcast

“Each of the daily insights that make up Love Every Day is a gift. Solomon’s writing is a refreshing blend of clinical wisdom, life-giving empathy, and humor that will guide you to clarity and connection in your most important relationships. What are you waiting for?”
Terry Real, founder of the Relational Life Institute in Massachusetts and New York Times bestselling author of Us: Getting Past You and Me to Build a More Loving Relationship
Love Every Day: 365 Relational Self-Awareness Practices to Help Your Relationship Heal, Grow, and Thrive
Integrative Attachment Family Therapy
In Love Every Day, relationship expert and best-selling author Dr. Alexandra Solomon offers 365 daily practices to cultivate a curious and compassionate approach to your relationships with others, as well as your relationship with yourself.

Inspired by her popular Instagram feed (@dr.alexandra.solomon) and grounded in her life-changing approach to relationships – Relational Self-Awareness – each practice in Love Every Day will help you understand the impact of your past (and your partner’s past), get your needs met, enhance intimacy, improve communication, and address relationship problems.

Whether you’re single, in a relationship, or between relationships, this book invites you to develop awareness, curiosity, and empowerment so that you can be seen and loved as your most authentic self – and heal from times when you weren’t.

Meet the Expert:
Alexandra Solomon, PhD, is one of the most trusted voices in the world of relationships, and her work on Relational Self-Awareness has reached millions of people around the world. Dr. Solomon is a licensed clinical psychologist at The Family Institute at Northwestern University, and she is on faculty in the School of Education and Social Policy at Northwestern University, where she teaches the internationally renowned course Building Loving and Lasting Relationships: Marriage 101. In addition to writing articles and chapters for leading academic journals and books in the field of marriage and family, she is the author of two best-selling books, Loving Bravely and Taking Sexy Back. Dr. Solomon regularly presents to diverse groups that include the United States Military Academy at West Point and Microsoft, and she is frequently asked to talk about relationships with media outlets like The Today Show, O Magazine, NPR, The Atlantic, Vogue, and Scientific American. She is the host of the weekly podcast Reimagining Love.

Learn more about her educational products, including upcoming live seminars, by clicking here.

Topic: Relationships | Book Club

Tags: Self-Compassion | Couple Therapy

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