Relationships are complicated. Andrea Gurney, Westmont professor of psychology and a practicing clinical psychologist, has written a book born out of a desire to help create and maintain healthy, intimate connections that honor and glorify God. “Reimagining Your Love Story: Biblical and Psychological Practices for Healthy Relationships,” which will be released March 26, will be available at several book-signing events through the local region.
“Fostering a healthy, intimate relationship is one of the hardest things for a human to do,” Gurney says. “And yet it is also one of the most rewarding things we can ever be a part of, integral to the way we were created.”
Gurney, who began teaching at Westmont in 2005 and opened her private practice soon after, says love makes us vulnerable, but it also makes us strong. “I am reminded of this every day in my work as a clinical psychologist and college professor, but also as a wife, mother, daughter, sister and friend,” she says. “We need one another. We are designed for relationships, Imago Dei: We are created in the image of God. And at His core, our God is relational. But more often than not, relationships are messy.”
Even though we are born wired as relational beings, dependent on one another for survival, we are ill-equipped to establish and maintain healthy and lasting intimate relationships.
“Instead we pursue ‘the fairy tale,’” she says. “We want so badly to believe there is one perfect person out there, and once we find each other, our problems will disappear and life will be easy. At the end of the day, none of us has a fairy godmother or pixie dust at our disposal.”
“Reimaging Your Love Story” is divided into three sections: What’s Your Once Upon a Time? Deconstructing the Myths of Love, and Working Toward Happily Ever After.
Gurney earned her doctorate at Northeastern University in Boston, Mass., and her master’s degree at the University of Pennsylvania. She completed a post-doctoral fellowship in couples and family counseling and a pre-doctoral internship in individual therapy at Harvard Medical School.
The book signing tour stops include: March 8 at 9 a.m. at Community Presbyterian Church, Ventura, 1555 Poli St.; April 9 at 7 p.m. at Chaucer’s Bookstore, 3321 State St.; April 11 at 3:30 p.m. at Westmont College; April 28 at 12:30 p.m. at Santa Barbara Community Church, 1002 Cieneguitas Rd.