Tina B. Tessina, Ph.D. “Dr. Romance” http://www.tinatessina.com is a licensed psychotherapist in S. California, with over 30 years experience in counseling individuals and couples and author of 13 books in 17 languages, including It Ends With You: Grow Up and Out of Dysfunction (New Page); How to Be a Couple and Still Be Free (New Page); The Unofficial Guide to Dating Again (Wiley) and The Real 13th Step: Discovering Self-Confidence, Self-Reliance and Independence Beyond the Twelve Step Programs (New Page.) Her newest books, from Adams Press in 2008: Money, Sex and Kids: Stop Fighting About the Three Things That Can Ruin Your Marriage and Commuter Marriage. She publishes “Happiness Tips from Tina”, an e-mail newsletter, and the “Dr. Romance Blog” http://drromance.typepad.com/dr_romance_blog/ and has hosted “The Psyche Deli: delectable tidbits for the subconscious” a weekly hour long radio show. Online, she is “Dr. Romance” with columns at Divorce360.com, CougarCandy.com, and Yahoo!Personals, as well as a Redbook Love Network expert. Dr. Tessina guests frequently on radio, and such TV shows as “Oprah”, “Larry King Live” and ABC news. Follow her on www.twitter.com/tinatessina.
1. Tell us about your latest book.
I had two books come out in 2008:
Money, Sex and Kids: Stop Fighting about the Three Things That Can Ruin Your Marriage (Adams Media, 2008)
Helps the reader learn to view a relationship as a partnership, rather than a challenge or a competition, and discover new ways to think about sharing and working together to make the important decisions about money, sex, and kids mutual ones, and create a successful, happy relationship which feels blessed and happy. The reader will learn to understand why partners argue and the necessary skills to transform struggles into working together to create a smoothly working partnership. Money, Sex and Kids, is designed help you resolve the three biggest problems in your marriage and move on to having a workable, satisfying relationship, without arguing or fighting.
and The Commuter Marriage: Keep Your Relationship Close While You’re Far Apart (Adams Media 2008)
In her groundbreaking new book, experienced marriage counselor Tina Tessina, PhD speaks directly to the more than 4 million U.S. for geographically challenged couples juggling the unique struggles only long-distance marriages face.
As society becomes more mobile and as jobs move or involve travel more than ever, and with military deployments at a peak, couples must create ways to stay connected while physically separated— for days, weeks, months, or years. Even working different shifts or managing long commutes may mean couples living in the same house never see each other during waking hours. Keeping a connection—both physically and mentally—is no easy feat.
According to Dr. Tessina, “Spending time apart is both a blessing and a problem. When you have time apart, it can freshen your relationship and remind you what you love most about your partner. On the other hand, if you begin to resent the separation, and don’t communicate well while you’re apart, your marriage has the potential to quickly unravel.”
With a specific program designed to help couples maneuver this terrain, Dr. Tessina helps readers through everyday situations, such as:
• Managing two homes, financially and physically
• Raising kids when one parent is distant
• Holiday and visiting schedules
• Overcoming jealousy and suspicions
• Maintaining a healthy sex life
• Reintegrating when two homes become one again
With quizzes, exercises, and studies from Dr. Tessina’s practice, readers will see what works—and what doesn’t. So whether the decision to commute is voluntary or mandatory, couples can not only keep their marriages intact but make their unions stronger.
They are both self-help books for couples, written from my 30 years of experience as a licensed marriage counselor.
2. How did you get started as a writer?
I came through the back door. A colleague and I were teaching a class in 1975 called “How to Be a Couple and Still Be Free” and we wrote a manual for it, which later became a best-selling book, published in 1980. The third edition was published in 2003, and is still in print and selling. Since then, I’ve written 13 books, published in 16 languages by 11 different publishers.
3. What does a typical day look like for you?
Every day, I spend from 11:00 to about 12:30 doing interviews, answering e-mail and the phone. Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday I see clients, from 1:00 to 9:00 PM. The rest of the week, I write and work on my online columns, blog and other projects. Evenings and most of the weekend I spend with my husband. We are both self-employed, and we like to travel a lot. We both love our work, so instead of retiring, we are working less and traveling more.
4. Describe your desk/workspace.
Two rooms and a bathroom in my home are devoted to my businesses. One room is a counseling office, the bathroom is between, and the second room is my writing office. In there, I have a corner desk with a desktop computer. My office is lined with Ikea glass-door cabinets and file drawers. My secretary also has a small desk in there. She only works 4 hours a week. I also have a laptop on a small rolling table that I can use in the living room to write while my husband and I watch TV.
5. Favorite books (especially for writers)
Bird by Bird by Anne Lamott
Integral Psychotherapy by Ken Wilbur
Eats, Shoot and Leaves by Lynne Truss
Pen on Fire by Barbara DeMarco Barrett
6. Tell us 3 interesting/crazy things about you
I’m a trained classical singer, a lyric coloratura, and I love to sing Mozart arias.
I’ve been married now for 27 years, and it’s a real love match. I’m so blessed to have my wonderful husband, and our three little rescue dogs make up our family.
I’ve done book tours in Mexico, Costa Rica and Columbia, as well as 30 cities around the USA. I’ve also written song lyrics sung by some well-known singers, including Helen Reddy. I also write poetry.
7. Favorite quote
“I love your books. I always kind of shied away from self help books as I was embarrassed to think that I could not solve problems myself. Then I picked up your books and realized just how self efficient I really can be. You have changed my life in so many ways and I cannot thank you enough for becoming a writer.” —Amanda, Biloxi MS
“My religion is simple. My religion is kindness.” – Dali Lama
8. Best and worst part of being a writer
Writing is the perfect balance for being a psychotherapist. Psychotherapy is people-intensive, writing is solitary. Writing gives me an outlet for the new ideas and techniques I develop in the counseling office; and it allows me to reach many more people than I could reach face to face. Writing gives me a little taste of fame – but I can be as incognito as I wish. I never have writer’s block, but writing an 80,000 word or larger book can still be a big job.
9. Advice for other writers
Write what you love, what you are passionate about, and you won’t run out of ideas. When you have a book deadline, divide the book down to pages per day, and you’ll know how fast you need to go. Write rough, at first, get it more elegantly in rewrites. Sometimes I write almost gibberish just to get something on the page, and it makes rewriting easier. I like to write from an outline, but I don’t always stick to the outline.
10. Tell us a story about your writing experience.
In May, 1999, I was signing books at the BEA, in the HCI booth, and I had a huge line, over 100 people. I just did the best I could, hand cramping, to make a connection with each person who came through, and to sign the book individually. Little did I know the line included Francisco de Hoyos, of Pearson Educacion, Mexico. On July 30, I got an e-mail from him (I had no idea who he was – I was even suspicious and I called HCI to check it out.) inviting me to Mexico for a book tour. The book had been published in Spanish, and I didn’t even know it! They were holding a conference, the “Worshop 2000″, in Mexico City, with 1,000 women attending, and I was to be the featured speaker.
Through a translator, I spoke about the book, told them my story of being alone and frightened at 18, and led them through the “Wise Woman” fantasy, and they responded with an outpouring of love. I was mobbed like a rock star. My whole life came full circle at that moment — all my experience, as a young girl, as a therapist, a writer, a wife and a woman was useful. Eventually, I toured four cities in Mexico, three cities in Columbia, San Jose, Costa Rica, and the FIL (International Book Fair) in Guadalajara, Mexico. I’ve spoken to hundreds of people, been featured in magazines and newspapers, and been all over TV and radio in Latin America.
Where can people buy your books?
My website: http://www.tinatessina.com
Books Page: http://www.tinatessina.com/books3.html — buy personally autographed copies of all my books here.
“Dr. Romance” blog: Blog http://drromance.typepad.com/dr_romance_blog/
Book Videos on Youtube: http://www.youtube.com/user/tinatessina
Follow me on Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/tinatessina