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Love, Loss, and the Space Between - An Interview with Dr David Sbarra

Dennis Relojo

29th August 2016

Tutor2u Blogger Dennis Relojo recently interviewed Dr David Sbarra, a clinical psychologist and Professor at the University of Arizona about his book Love, Loss, and the Space Between: The Relationship Expert Essays.

Here is the excerpt of our interview. You can read the full interview on Psychreg.

Maybe you can start out by telling us about yourself and what this book (or should we say ebook) is all about.

I am a Clinical Psychologist and Professor at the University of Arizona, where I direct the doctoral programme in clinical psychology. In 2011, I started writing a series of relationship advice columns for YouBeauty. It was pitched to me as a part of Dr Mehmet Oz and Dr. Michael Roizen’s growing internet presence, where they marketed themselves as the You Doctors and were following-up and extending the successful content behind their books and Dr Oz’s TV show.

I ended my run as the relationship expert with YouBeauty in 2014, and after finishing up a few other projects, I started to think about all the columns I had written. Earlier this year, I reread the columns for the first time in a while; they felt fresh, alive, and still very meaningful to me. I also felt like they were going to waste on the web – just sort of rotting on an electronic vine.

I thought it would be fun and worthwhile to put all the columns together in essay format, then curate them a bit by providing some introductory remarks and organising them in a conceptually meaningful way. The result is this ebook!

Love, loss and the space between is now available on Amazon.

How did you decide to self-publish the book, and how in the world did you come up with the $3.20 (£2.42) price point? And, why not publish the essays as “real” book?

These are great questions. When you consider why someone might write a book, I think a lot of it has to do with a need – in that the author and publisher believe people want to learn the story. When I think about the topic of relationships, I see a great need. Three out of every ten marriages can be considered extremely distressed, and we have tremendous problems with loneliness and disconnection in our society. For me, from my vantage point, I saw a tremendous need to write about relationships and how to make our relationships as good as they can be, and, how fix the kind of nagging problems that plaque all our relationships. So, in my opinion, there was an absolute need for something accessible that could discuss a range of interesting and important relationship topic.

What are some of your favourite essays in the book?

I probably have 10 or so favourites, but if I had to narrow it down to just a few, I especially like the ones about grieving on Facebook, how to deal with a workplace bully, why it’s so hard to appreciate our partners. I especially like the essay on the question of whether depression can be contagious. I had a lot of fun writing the introduction to the piece. I don’t think my wife has any idea (yet) that she appears in the book several times, but I think I care most deeply about the essay in which I asked myself a question about what is happening around me – Why was I doing what I was doing? Or, why was I feeling what I was feeling? – then tried to contextualise my personal observations with what I saw happening in my clinical practice or in my research.

What are your goals for this ebook?

My goal for this ebook is simple: I want to make a noticeable difference in people’s relationships. I don’t care where this change comes from or even how people get there, but if something in this book causes a spark, and if someone feels better in even the smallest noticeable way, then that’s a success. I’ll die a happy person. Please help me die a happy person. Go buy my ebook! No pressure.

Final thoughts…

I hope tutor2u & Psychreg readers like my ebook. If they’d like to learn more, I created this fun “explainer” video, and I welcome anyone to download it and share it on the internet and on social media. Also, I am on Twitter as @dsbarra. I’d love people to follow me and learn more about the book, its contents, and all the manner of topics in clinical psychology.

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Dennis Relojo

Dennis manages Psychreg, an online resource in psychology and allied fields. He also works as a Learning Support Coach for South Essex College. He holds an MSc in Research Methods in Psychology from the University of Hertfordshire.

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