BOOK BEAT Naples Sun Times July 26 – August 1, 2006
by Philip K. Jason
Dr. Molly Barrow has been working in Naples as a mental health counselor and psychotherapist since her arrival in 1998. She opened her private practice here soon after earning a Ph.D. from Walden University with a dissertation on Pathways and Pitfalls of Co-parenting in the Divorce Process. Before that, following B.A. and M.A. degrees in psychology from the University of Northern Colorado, she had already established herself as a mental health practitioner. But there is another Molly Barrow who has training and experience as an actor, director, writer, and production supervisor. So we have here a talented and highly-educated woman who is a member of both the American Psychological Association and the Screen Actors Guild.
These two areas of expertise nourish one another in several of her enterprises. For example, Dr. Barrow wrote, directed, and edited several NEVCO medical training videos. She is also involved in a full-length film, My Suicide, which is mentioned in her comments that follow. Her experience in front of and behind the camera helps her communicate and inform, whether as a teacher, guest speaker, contributor to documentary video projects, or expert witness. Now, growing out of her clinical work, Dr. Barrow has written her first book – Matchlines.
PKJ: How did you first get the idea for the book?
MB: During my counseling sessions I questioned why people who gave great quality love still could not make their relationships work. I developed a theory and began to show it graphically to my patients. They reacted first with an “Aha! I get it,” then later they were able to balance their relationships and found happiness. I was aware that men could understand the relationship in a “big picture” way after they saw me draw the lines of their relationship. Patients knew what their next move should be and it worked for them. I wanted to reach more people, so I wrote the book.
PKJ: In a somewhat crowded field, what makes your book stand out?
MB: Your relationship can affect your good health, divide your finances, and make or break your children’s happiness. There is room for many books on how to communicate and improve your relationship with your partner. Matchlines is a tested theory that works. The book can be used to improve all relationships, help to distinguish the right partner for you, and build your self-esteem. Many readers say they are excited and empowered by the book, and even call it a self-help page turner. It is good for adults married thirty years or teenagers venturing into the dating world. Matchlines gives people hope that they can be happy in love. So many people had tried other methods, books, and therapists without getting better, but they said my theory shows them what was going wrong in their relationship while the diagrams and cartoons made them laugh. Most people seem to comprehend it and make changes that make a big difference in the quality of their relationship.
PKJ: What are the main features of the book?
MB: Everyone has a learned capacity to love another that can be estimated and compared to another’s. For a compatible easy relationship, the two capabilities or “lines” need to match, thus Matchlines. A step by step instruction on how to analyze your relationship is in the book, as well as chapters on you and your partner’s “love heritage,” your current love capacity and ways to improve your ability to give love and sometimes, to give less demonstrative love.
PKJ: Had you done much professional or popular writing before?
MB: My mother was and my eldest brother, James, is now the writer in the family. Writing is hard work for me. I have a children’s book and screenplay completed about a young girl finding self esteem. I had some input on the My Suicide screenplay, due out in 2007, where I also will play the part of the suicide expert. My Ph.D. dissertation was the most difficult and time-consuming paper. It is where I learned to be a better writer. My research was on how to predict successful co-parenting after a divorce. The Matchline Relationship Evaluation Questionnaire evolved from my dissertation work. Along with Beth Van Arsdale and Judge Dan Monaco and others I helped to write the Standardization for Custody Evaluation for Collier County. I took writing classes from Hollis Alpert, and over many coffees and cookies he taught me to “just tell stories!”
PKJ: Is it true that this will be the first in a series of books?
MB: The relationship theory will be applied to parenting and step parenting and also business and social relationships. I am under contract for three more books for my publisher, Archebooks Publishing. I attended a writing conference run by the Naples Press Club last January and met Bob Gelinas, the publisher. Everything happened very quickly. Six months later I have a book, Matchlines, a web site www.askdrmolly.com and a blog www.drmollybarrow.com .
PKJ: Has the publication of the book affected your practice in any way?
MB: My patients are thrilled for me. Many have already bought the book and are giving me five star reviews on Amazon and barnesandnoble.com. That feels pretty great!
PKJ: What are your interests and hobbies and your views on living in Naples?
MB: I love movies, gypsy flamenco music, and books on nutrition and health. I read movie magazines on the treadmill, enjoyed Jimmy Carter’s tapes about values, and the last film I saw was An Inconvenient Truth with Al Gore on global warming. I eat organic food 95% of the time. I think Southern Florida real estate is still the best buy around when you factor in the beach lifestyle and scenic beauty of this area. I have a few causes. One is Regenerate, a non-profit that helps prevent teen fatalities from suicide and reckless driving. When Regenerate founder David Miller and I met at Sundance film festival, he told me about his work with teenagers using teen peer influence in prevention commercials. He developed the concept for the film My Suicide, which he directs. I am a producer of the film, and we hope to raise the final editing funds by fall in time to enter My Suicide at Sundance 2007. The film stars Gabriel Sunday, David Carradine and Mariel Hemingway.
Dr. Molly Barrow will be at the Naples Barnes and Noble for a talk/questions and book signing on Friday, September 1 at 7:00pm.
Philip K. Jason, Ph.D., is Professor Emeritus of English from the United States Naval Academy. A poet, critic, and free-lance writer with twenty books to his credit, this “Dr. Phil” chairs the annual Naples Writers’ Conference presented by the Naples Press Club. Send him your book news at email@example.com.