Tuesday, April 16, 2019

Author Interview: In Sickness and In Health by Dr. David Hawkins

Earlier this month, I reviewed In Sickness and In Health: The Physical Consequences of Emotional Stress in Marriage by David Hawkins, PhD, with Tyson Hawkins, MD, and Joshua Hawkins, MD.  In my review, I gave it five stars because of its honesty, information, and healthy perspective. Read my full review here.
Today, I'm returning to In Sickness and In Health with an author interview with Dr. David Hawkins, but first, a little about the book.

About In Sickness and In Health:
Are you sick and tired of being sick and tired? 
When you first met your spouse you probably had a physical response to the emotions you felt. You’d get butterflies in your stomach, your heart would race, and your palms would sweat. So why is it that after you’re married, it’s so hard to make the connection between your physical health and your emotional well-being when you’re facing relational stress?
If your emotional pain feels physical and your physical pain feels emotional, your marriage may be making you sick—literally. Join Dr. David Hawkins and his sons, an internist and a surgeon, as they explore the effects relational stress and trauma can have on our bodies. You will learn to . . .
  • recognize the link between emotional and physical pain
  • embrace the power of choice to become empowered by hope
  • find a path forward to ultimate restoration and regain your life
No matter what kind of pain you’re experiencing, or how long your health has been in decline, you don’t have to stay stuck. Discover hope and healing when you take control of your life.

Interview with Dr. David Hawkins:

What defines a toxic marriage?

Five Signs: 1. A relationship where you can’t seem to do anything right. 2. Everything is about them, not you. Your mate’s needs always trump your own. 3. You find yourself unable to enjoy good moments with him. 4. You’re uncomfortable being yourself around your mate. 5. You feel no freedom to grow and change.  

What is C-PTSD? 

Complex PTSD is chronic relationship stress, marked by the following: emotional dysregulation, difficulty with self-perception, interruptions in consciousness, difficulty in relationships, inaccurate perception of one’s perpetrators and broken system of meanings (loss of faith and meaning in life.)

Do you think that the C-PTSD that results from a toxic marriage has a disproportionate effect on women?


Often, women experiencing the kind of physical maladies you describe are also experience autoimmune disorders. Is there any correlation between these types of disorders and emotional stress?

There is no doubt a positive relationship between PTSD, CPTSD and autoimmune disorders, not to mention other psychosomatic illnesses.

What are the calling cards of the type of marriage that produces symptoms of physical stress?

A toxic marriage, or marriage of high-conflict and never-ending stress, is likely to lead to physical symptomatology. The body definitely keeps score when it comes to chronic relationship unhappiness.

How does your faith inform your views on psychology and medicine? How does it inform your views on marriage?

My faith is my foundation for everything I believe about my practice of psychology and marriage counseling. I believe in the sanctity of the individual and the marriage. All decisions I make as a clinician and solutions recommended need to align with Scripture.  

What are the steps towards healing that individuals can take to recover from an emotionally damaging marriage?

First and foremost is the importance of naming the truth of what is happening. You can’t change what you won’t own, you won’t own what you can’t see and you can’t see unless you are open to feedback from others. So, after naming the problems, seek steps to change and grow. Victims of emotional abuse need specialized help to heal and perpetrators of abuse need special help as well. Getting the right help can make all the difference, especially if they stick with the healing process.

Are there preventative measures individuals can take to stop their marriage from becoming toxic?

Yes. Couples can name the toxicity at the beginning of the destructive process rather than live in denial and waiting until things are very bad. Early detection and treatment are critical.

What do you hope that readers take away from your book?  

That they are responsible for their healing, for finding the best emotional, physical and spiritual help available, and that healing is available to all.

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