Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Book Review: Townsend's "Beyond Boundaries"

Beyond Boundaries: Learning to Trust Again in Relationships by John Townsend

In his latest work, Beyond Boundaries, well known psychologist Townsend meets those of us who were left on the edge of wondering after reading the Boundaries book, "getting it," and then waking up to find that we still had these people in our lives or wanted to know how to make sure we don't just get different versions of the original boundlessness relationships we had in the first place. I should pause here and tell you that I was given a copy of this book via Net Galley (a fabulous way to read the latest and greatest on your e-reader) and that Zondervan has not paid me for my comments, nor have they required that I leave a positive review. This is all me.

As you might have guessed, I was one of the people who got to the last page of Boundaries and thought, "well, that's great but now what?" When I saw this followup was due out, I was excited to move a little further. And, in some ways, I think I did. What left me sort of hanging about this is that Townsend focuses more on how to form NEW relationships with totally NEW people. For those of us who are hoping to form boundaries with the people we had issues with before and learn to trust them again, this might help but it's not the ace in the hole I think all of us look for when we turn to so called "self-help." All in all, it is a nice followup, though, just not in the direction I wanted it to go in. Townsend does mention re-trusting those who have broken trust in the past but not at the level that I think people who are staring down that barrel need to find. That being said, I respect Dr. Townsend and will always be interested to see what he has to share next. For those starting new relationships, read Boundaries by Cloud and Townsend first, then, when you realize you are doing some things kind of wacky in your relationships (as I believe we all do from time to time), go with Beyond Boundaries.