Healing Relationships is an Inside Job
Did you think you could make everything right with another person if you just:

. . . kept trying harder,

. . . said exactly the right words,

. . . gave him or her enough money,

. . . expanded more energy,

. . . waited long enough

. . . or did whatever else you were sure would do the trick?

Did any of your attempts at repairing a broken relationship work better than mine did?

Let me introduce myself. I am Arlene Harder and many years ago our son began experimenting with alcohol and marijuana when he was in high school.

We tried ignoring it. We tried scolding. We kept thinking things would change when we asked him to leave the house. Instead, our relationship went down the drain. There were times when we didn’t even know where he was.

As a marriage and family therapist, I thought I should know all the answers. This kind of thing wasn’t supposed to happen to me!

I blamed myself. I believed that everything would have been fine if only I had done a better job of raising him. And of course, I was sure that everything would be fine if I could get himto change.

However, like many other people in conflict, I wanted something from him he was unable to give and he wanted something from me I wasn’t willing to give.

When none of my techniques to get him to change worked, I was in too much pain to simply ignore our disconnect.

That’s when, with my pain as motivation, I stopped trying to change him and focused on myself.

As I worked on my own issues, I realized my ego had gotten in the way of healing the problem with my son. Then, when I was able to manage my ego, I discovered my true self, a part of me I didn’t know I had. However, when I got in touch with that true self, I developed a new perspective on my son. And even though he didn’t change in the way I wished he would, I felt a great weight off my shoulders. My relationships with othes improved as well.

Most of all, what I discovered from this experience, and from working with my clients, was that the most direct path to healing any relationship runs through the heart and soul of the person who has the most motivation to change.

Then in 2011 I took what I have learned over the decades and wrote a book, published by Personhood Press, Healing Relationships Is An Inside Job, which has been highly received. In fact, the testimonials on this page are only a few of the positive comments people have sent me.

Lisa Hein"I want to share my feelings about Healing Relationships is an Inside Job. When I called you about a year ago, I was feeling quite sad about where I was with my relationship with my son. Although, my parenting responsibilities were less since he was 19, I still worried about his health and well-being.

After reading your material and doing the exercises, I could see what I had done 'wrong,' and began to correct my own bad behavior from enabling him and allowing him to continue treating me and himself disrespectfully.

Thank you for all of your research, hard work and the desire to help others who feel like they have failed. It is nice to know there are people out there who share positive information and have a desire to help others feel better."

Lisa Hein

cheering crowdWe couldn't fit all of the glowing reviews on this page! SO . . .


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Read an excerpt of Healing Relationships is an Inside Job, to see whether it might be right for you.


Take a closer look at Healing Relationships is an Inside Job

Healing Relationships is an Inside JobYou can read a dozen books that give you ways you can change a relationship. You can listen to two dozen speakers on how you should try to view your situation differently.

However, insight and intention need to turn into action in order for healing of a relationship to occur. That is why an exercise reinforces the lesson of each of the nine chapters in Healing Relationships is an Inside Job.

CHAPTER ONE: Viewing Your Relationship From a New Perspective

Healing Exercise: What Story Do You Tell Others About a Relationship That is Strained or Broken?

CHAPTER TWO: Discovering Who You Are

Healing Exercise: How Does Your Brain Store Information About Your Self-Identity and Your Relationships?

CHAPTER THREE: Exploring How You Became Who You Are Today

Healing Exercise: Why Do You Think You Are Who You Are?

CHAPTER FOUR: Managing Your Emotions

Healing Exercise: How Do Your Emotions Help or Hinder Your Relationships?

CHAPTER FIVE: Setting a Goal for Your Relationship

Healing Exercise: What Are You Willing to Give Up In Order to Improve Your Relationship?

CHAPTER SIX: Letting Go of Guilt and Regrets and Learning to Apologize and Forgive

Healing Exercise: How Will You Release Your Regrets?

CHAPTER SEVEN: Strengthening Your True Self

Healing Exercise: What is the False Self at the Heart of Your Relationship Problems?

CHAPTER EIGHT: Preventing Ego From Destroying Love

Healing Exercise: Are You Ready to Manage Your Ego and Put Your True Self in Charge?

CHAPTER NINE: Resolving Disagreements

Healing Exercise: How Has the Story of You and Someone With Whom You Have Conflicts Changed Since You Began This Book?

Because I am so sure that this book will help you improve your relationships, I will refund your money if you are not completely satisfied.
Healing Relationships is an Inside Job

Healing Relationships is an Inside Job

BOOK - Print or Digital [PDF]


MP3 - Listen on your computer or portable player

Remove the Mask That Hides Your True Self

This guided imagery exercise helps you appreciate who you are at your core, and to accept yourself just as you are, so that you can appreciate others for who they are.


MP3 - Listen on your computer or portable player

Meeting Your Friendly Inner Advisor

This guided imagery exercise leads you to a source of inner wisdom you may not have know you have; and it gives you a way to explore the path you want to take, rather than the path someone else thinks is good for you.


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only $15.95
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FOR INTERNATIONAL PURCHASERS: Because of extremely high international shipping costs, Healing Relationships is an Inside Job is NOT AVAILABLE FOR PURCHASE ON THIS SITE. However, it IS available at The Book Depository in print format, and shipping is free.

NOTE: If you wish to purchase the book elsewhere, it is also available in print or electronic edition at your local independent bookshop, Barnes and Noble, Indie Bound, iTunes, Kobo, and Amazon.


Thank you Arlene for this program, it transformed my life.

I improved my relationship with my family as well as others. I learned to forgive myself as well as those who have wronged me, thus removing the burden that I’ve been carrying for a long time. I realized now that the only person I can control is myself.

I recommend this program to those individuals who have unresolved issues in their lives.

Alma A.

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I want to share my feelings about Healing Relationships is an Inside Job. When I called you about a year ago, I was feeling quite sad about where I was with my relationship with my son. Although, my parenting responsibilities were less since he was 19, I still worried about his health and well-being.

After reading your material of your modules, I could see what I had done 'wrong,' and begin to correct my own bad behavior from enabling him and allowing him to continue treating me and himself disrespectfully.

Thank you for all of your research, hard work and the desire to help others who feel like they have failed. It is nice to know there are people out there who share positive information and have a desire to help others feel better.

Lisa Hein

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Lisa Hein
David Spero

"Arlene Harder has been helping people learn, grow and heal for over 30 years. Healing Relationships is an Inside Job takes her work to an even higher level, because relationships are central to health and quality of life. She shows us simple (not easy but simple) ways to transform even severely damaged relationships. This book will help readers heal their deepest interpersonal wounds and live a more joyful life."

David Spero, RN, author of The Art of Getting Well: Maximizing health when you have a chronic illness and Diabetes: Sugar-coated Crisis

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"Healing Relationships is an Inside Job shows you how to positively restructure your relationships by separating your ego from your true self. This book offers comprehensive steps to help you understand yourself, deal with your emotions, forgive yourself and others, and resolve difficult relationship challenges."

Marci Shimoff, NY Times bestselling author, Love for No Reason and Happy for No Reason

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When we are struggling with a painful relationship, it is a great relief to know that there are those who have been there before us and have successfully resolved their difficulties. That is why one of the strengths of Healing Relationships is an Inside Job is that Arlene Harder shares her struggles and triumphs. She has been able to turn her hard-won experience into an easy-to-follow path to letting go of old wounds that motivates the reader to forge a new future of hope and resolution.

J.M., Parent of an adult child

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"Arlene has written a book that is more than just another self-help book. It is a book born of the lessons of experience, and forged in the crucible of the author's personal growth. I find it very readable, and it is very insightful - you cannot change others; you only can change yourself. The exercises are nicely conceived, and they progress at a manageable pace. One is not led to try to change too much all at one time, but gradually, through a series of self-discoveries. Personal change is hard work, but this book motivates and reassures one as it leads one through the process. "

Kent Van Cleave, Jr., Ph.D., Online Instructor, AIU

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Mark Sichel

"The need to make close relationships more fulfilling is truly an inside job, a concept that is sorely needed and ignored by many self-help books. With warmth and compassion, the author of Healing Relationships is an Inside Job shares her wisdom for an audience hungry for new and solid ways to heal the rifts that are inevitable in any close relationship. She gently guides readers along a path to healing that will yield invaluable results, and I am recommending it all my clients."

Mark Sichel, LCSW, Author of Healing From Family Rifts: Ten Steps to Finding Peace

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"In her new book, Healing Relationships is an Inside Job, Arlene Harder masterfully guides us in understanding how our brains create stories as a way to understand ourselves and our relationships. She notes that retelling constructive and nurturing stories brings joy to our lives. Repeating destructive stories zaps our emotional energy and that of our friends and family. By the end of the book we will have a new story to tell that releases us from pain and misunderstanding."

Sandra Dye, Psychotherapist, Parent Training, One Step Ahead Parenting

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Sandra Dye

Shannon White

"Arlene Harder uses her personal experience, wrapped in her expertise as a therapist, to show readers how relationships which had seemed to be dead-ends can actually be transformed. Her exercises are extremely user-friendly, practical and powerful. Having done a considerable amount of self-reflective work, I wondered how this book might help me. After working through a few of the exercises, I saw on a much deeper level that those relationships which once caused me pain are some of the greatest gifts to me in life. Thank you, Arlene."

Shannon White, author of How Was School Today? Fine, pastor, speaker, TV news journalist

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"Arlene Harder's book Healing Relationships Is An Inside Job is a guide for understanding why deep, lasting change in ourselves is key to transformation in relationships and a "how-to" manual for taking manageable, conscious steps toward making it happen. I highly recommend Arlene Harder's book with its user-friendly experiential exercises that engage the creative mind in wonderful, empowering, change-promoting ways. I have used some of the book's exercises with clients facing intense conflicts and found them immediately useful and effective."

Jude-Treder Wolff, LCSW, Performer, Speaker, Psychotherapist and Writer

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Ivajoy Draper

"When you are ready to release the Velcro that holds you firmly in the grip of old relationship patterns, old belief systems, old pain of rejection and abandonment, and all that which is so intense, take Arlene Harder's book and embrace it and make it one of your best friends.

Ivajoy Draper, PhD, Psychotherapist, Hypnotist

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"Arlene Harder does a wonderful job in Healing Relationships is an Inside Job using stories and metaphors to teach us how to take personal responsibility for the relationships in our lives. The principles and healing exercises in her book will transform your life and your relationships. I use them quite often in my therapy practice with great success."

Mary Einarsen, Psychotherapist

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Mary Einarsen

Many self-help books, trying very hard to explain their theories of change, end up being more complex than helpful. Consequently, it can be difficult to apply their suggestions in one’s life. However, when I read Arlene Harder’s beautifically written book, it was as though I were invited to have a conversation with a wise woman. With ideas that flowed and were easily understood, she allowed me to see, and to accept, who I was. At the same time, she gave me the courage, and a way, to discard those things about me that I no longer needed.”

Renee Austin, Business Consultant

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Excerpt from Healing Relationships is an Inside Job:


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The Eight Things That Influence How We Become Who We Are


If the relationship that most bothers you is estrangement from your child, you may blame yourself. If you have a lot of difficulties with your parents, you may blame your parents. If you have problems navigating through life, you may blame society, poverty, or lack of opportunity for your troubles today.

Who is to blame when relationships don’t turn out the way we’d like them to, and when we aren’t the people we’d like to be?

A few years ago, I cut out a cartoon called “Non Sequitur,” by Wiley, whose comics have an off-beat but right-on analysis of life. In this strip there are four cars lined up at an establishment called McDoc’s, where a sign points to “Drive Thru Analysis.” A poster on the window says, “FAST answers to complicated questions!” As one car drives up to the window, a man inside says to the driver, “It’s your parents’ fault . . . NEXT!”

Is there even any point in assigning blame? Let me suggest an exercise that can put blame and responsibility into perspective. Take out a piece of paper. Fold it into half, thus dividing it into two sections. Fold it into half again, creating four sections. Fold it one more time to create a total of eight sections. Write these headings in each of the eight sections.

There is no doubt that your mother had a significant role in how you turned out. If you are a mother, you have a significant role in how your child turns out. But notice that we have seven more sections to fill in.

As with the female parent, fathers have a great influence on the child. Even if there is no father in the home, the fact that there is not a male presence means “something” is missing. In saying that, I do not mean to imply that single parents cannot do a heroic job of parenting. It is just that, although she may be the best possible mother on earth, a mother cannot share a male perspective with her children.

A person’s height, which is not something over which we have much control, tends to give an advantage to one person over another in sports, in the classroom, and even in politics (taller candidates tend to win). Genetics is a given you can’t “think” yourself out of. Who you are—as well as who the other person with whom you have problems is—is partly influenced by DNA.

Inborn temperament traits, as we have seen, set the stage for how a person responds to life, how we respond to others, and how they respond to us. And as much as we would like to view equality between the sexes, the fact remains that physically there are gender differences that definitely do influence who we are.

Here is where an individual has responsibility for how things have turned out until now. To the extent that we continue to make choices every day, the quality of our relationships rests in large part on our shoulders. The choices you make each time you meet a person with whom you have difficulty makes a significant difference in whether the situation is likely to get worse or better.

No one would doubt that the type and level of schooling you received has helped make you who you are today. A one-room schoolhouse and a large campus can shape very different kinds of people. Also, difficulty in learning because of undiagnosed dyslexia may have contributed to how you or the other person sees life today.

When you were a child and left the shelter of your house, the people around you were able to persuade and manipulate you as your personality was being developed. Even today, we are shaped by the opinions of pundits, political parties, celebrities, TV personalities, religious leaders, neighbors, co-workers, and bloggers.

There is no doubt that the world in which I grew up was a very different place than the world of my children and grandchildren. Drugs were not available at all to the extent they are today. Their easy access made it possible for my son to obtain drugs and alcohol and there were not the facilities and programs to deal with teenage addition as there are today.

A child whose parents divorced or died when she was four will have a different experience than if her parents divorced or died when she was fourteen. Tragedies happen to the best of people and there are simply some things that don’t seem to be under anyone’s control. As I said earlier, recognizing this fact can make life much easier to accept.

You have the power to change some things about who you are today; you don’t have the power to change everything, including other people. Keep the reality of choice in perspective and you will discover that the path to healing a relationship is much easier.