For practicing psychologists Paul Donoghue and Mary Siegel, communication is basic to being human: “We need to talk almost as much as we need to breathe.” This need, however, does not mean that communication is simple or comes by osmosis. The authors appreciate that communication can be messy and difficult, and they offer readers a hopeful and practical way to learn, practice, and improve their skills. The book has three sections: 1) “we really need to talk,” 2) “you don’t want to talk this way,” and 3) “talk this way.” Section one provides foundational ideas about communication and explores how it impacts different relationships in different contexts, including the workplace and at home with spouses, partners, and children. Section two identifies pitfalls and obstacles to effective and honest communication, such as “speaking impersonally,” “fibbing and exaggerating,” and “blaming.” Section three offers examples of effective communication and explores the relationship between talking and listening. The examples and stories in this Roman Catholic resource are current and relevant for a variety of readers. Nearly all the chapters end with discussion questions, making this resource appropriate for use in various congregational settings, such as special studies, Sunday School classes, or small groups.
Reviewed by Janet Hoover