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“I FELT THAT DR. FISHER HAD BEEN HIDING IN MY HOUSE AND TAKING NOTES.”
That’s an Amazon.com “reader from Scottsdale, Arizona,” commenting on the work of Bruce Fisher, the late therapist from Boulder, Colorado, whose divorce recovery work touched hundreds of thousands of lives.
“It’s not surprising,” says California psychologist Robert Alberti, “Bruce spent a quarter-century listening to and helping people going through the divorce process. What does surprise many people is that nearly everyone experiences the same emotions: grief, anger, rejection, loneliness… Bruce’s major work was to help people understand the divorce recovery process so they can handle it better.”
An estimated 300,000 divorced people have graduated from Fisher’s ten-week divorce recovery class, and hundreds of thousands more have read his self-help book, REBUILDING: WHEN YOUR RELATIONSHIP ENDS. Fisher taught thousands directly, and trained nearly 2,000 “facilitators” in churches and community agencies to carry on the work. His supportive, nineteen-step program for putting life back together after divorce was refined and adapted over two decades of work with that audience.
“People recovering from the loss of a love relationship do work through virtually the same stages in their healing process,” says Alberti. “Since Bruce lived in Colorado, he pictured those stages as climbing a mountain. The process is painful, and takes time and effort, so the mountain metaphor really works for most people.”
How does one begin to make that climb? The distress of divorce is a powerful motivator in the recovery process. “Recently divorced people want to get past their emotional pain,” observes Dr. Alberti. “And feeling better requires that you make some changes in your life. When things were going well in your love relationship, you didn’t feel any need to change. But now there’s that pain. What do you do? You use the pain as motivation to learn and to grow. It’s not easy, but you can.”
In addition to his therapy and teaching, before his death in 1998, Fisher was author of several books. A third edition of REBUILDING: WHEN YOUR RELATIONSHIP ENDS was recently released (Impact Publishers, Inc., 1-800-246-7228). Dr. Alberti, co-author of the new edition, worked with Fisher during the last months of his life to revise and update the book.
Fisher was a serious student of the divorce process. His research found that on the average, it takes about a year to get past the really painful, negative stages of the divorce process “climb,” longer to reach the top. Some make it in less time, others in more — a few will need as long as three to five years. He insisted that “finishing the climb is what counts, not how long it takes. Climb at your own rate, and don’t get rattled if some pass you along the way.”
“After all,” adds Alberti, “there will be other crises in our lives, and one of the most valuable personal skills we can develop is the ability to handle the pain and, eventually, get your life back together. Bruce gave us a remarkably helpful model for that process.”
The revised and updated third edition of this international bestseller incorporates feedback and life experiences of hundreds of thousands of divorced men and women who have read and used REBUILDING. This book has spawned thousands of divorce recovery groups in the U.S.A., Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Mexico, Finland and elsewhere. Fisher’s thorough understanding and presentation of the nineteen-stage divorce recovery process is remarkable. Readers often comment, “He seems to know exactly what I’m feeling!” Consistently the #1 divorce bestseller at Amazon.com. Translations have been published in six languages.
–Single Again Magazine