Missing Each Other

Ashley and Edward introduce their book, their blog, and themselves

“Only connect!” Those two words, quoted from E.M. Forster’s Howards End, are at the very start of our 2021 book, Missing Each Other: How to Cultivate Meaningful Connections. They eloquently sum up the theme of our book and a major theme of our professional lives. They also serve as a guidepost for each of us personally, as we encounter people in our own daily lives, reminding us of what’s really important.

The Forster quote continues, “Live in fragments no longer.” So many of us seem to “live in fragments,” disconnected from others and from parts of ourselves. Our attention is fragmented and dissipated by the continual demands and busyness of our complex lives in a highly individualistic, commercialized society. Technology consumes much of our time and attention, and mediates so many of our interactions with others, a state of affairs accelerated by the COVID19 pandemic. Internet and social media algorithms can link us electronically by introducing us to potential social media “friends” and even romantic partners, but these algorithms also distract us from live interactions with each other and amplify our polarization and hostility towards each other. Increasingly, we live in our own bubbles, and don’t acquire the practice and comfort many of us once had with real-time human interactions. We easily lose sight of ourselves, our own feelings, and find it hard to listen and maintain attention on others, and what’s happening between us.

Our book Missing Each Other addresses these issues and provides practical steps we can all take to cultivate more meaningful connections with each other. The book focuses on what we consider the key to connection, “attunement,” which is the ability to be aware of yourself and the other person and what’s going on between you, over the twists and turns of an interaction. Developing a greater capacity for attunement and better connections are crucial, we argue in Missing Each Other, not only for our own individual lives, but also for addressing the most important global problems that we face, from the COVID19 pandemic, to racism, to the climate crisis.

We — Ashley and Edward (Ted) — are mental health professionals with a long-standing interest in helping our patients to connect more comfortably and skillfully.

Ashley Pallathra and Edward Brodkin

Co-authors of the new book “Missing Each Other: How to Cultivate Meaningful Connections.” Twitter: @ashleypallathra @tedbrodkin