BRIDGEWATER, NJ - It was a project seven years in the making, and now Martinsville resident Dr. Barbara Tucciarone is celebrating the release of “Before You Love Again,” a book about how to move forward after losing a partner to divorce or death.

“The focus of the book is on moving forward,” she said. “I saw people in my neighborhood and in my family stay stuck, and there was a lot of bitterness. I thought, how do you get a person to choose to give up blame and say that they choose to let go of yesterday?”

When she was young, Tucciarone said, she would watch a woman on television named Dr. Joyce Brothers, a psychologist who would hear letters about problems from viewers. Then, Tucciarone said, she would tell her mother what she would do to help the person – and it usually mirrored exactly what Brothers would say.

Sign Up for E-News

“My mother said, ‘you’re good at this, you should be a psychologist,’” Tucciarone said. “I wound up going into teaching because I could use skills since I am a good listener. Students would come after 3 p.m. and ask me about their personal problems, and then the parents would ask too.”

Tucciarone said she eventually decided to get her master’s degree – with the support of her late husband George, a clinical psychologist – and once she had completed that, she left her job teaching and began to work at South Amboy Hospital, where she also started an addiction program.

“That taught me a lot because I wasn’t just a director, I wanted to keep my hands in the clinical part, so I would do family sessions and marital sessions after work,” she said.

After she got her doctoral degree in counseling psychology from Heed University in Florida, Tucciarone began working with her husband in a private practice.

“Our primary focus was on relationship counseling,” she said. “We were working with people in relationships, old and young, gay and straight.”

“People had issues with relationships because you go in with expectations, and many people lack the communication tools,” she added.

Tucciarone said she found that the majority of issues in relationships centered around inadequate and ineffective communication.

“It was helpful to teach people how to communicate from the heart,” she said. “Say what you need and how you feel without making the other person wrong.”

That, Tucciarone said, is what the book is about.

“If you have lost a partner, how can you grow and not flounder in blame or guilt or sadness,” she said. “People can be stuck in these traps, but you have to see how you can move forward.”

As she was preparing the book, Tucciarone said, she realized it was about moving forward.

About eight years ago, just before she had started the book Tucciarone said, she started to understand the law of attraction, and began to understand that the way a person thinks and feels affects how he or she attracts others.

“The books starts out with being willing to forgive, and then you find exercises to do,” she said. “You are starting out with the intention of forgiving.”

When she realized that, Tucciarone said, she knew she had to move forward with the book.

“I knew I was off to a running start,” she said. “I figured people need to realize that by holding on to the old, you’re blocking the good from coming in.”

“I knew I had to write the book and get it out there so people don’t keep going through that pain, never realizing they can choose differently.”

Tucciarone said it is about people focusing on healing as opposed to accusing.

“You watch those who had successful second and third marriages, and they were ones who had cleared the past and really bore no ill will to their exes,” she said. “In time, they even saw there were benefits to having spent one year or 31 years with one person.”

The book took so long to write, Tucciarone said, because she wrote it in fits and spurts, around her time with her family and her work as an adjunct professor for more than seven years in the psychology department at Union County College, as well as private coaching clients.

The book includes case studies, exercises and more, Tucciarone said.

Through the book, Tucciarone said, she hopes people start to understand how to heal and get unstuck from any devastation in the past.

“I hope readers find how to regain their self-confidence, self-esteem and trust,” she said, “to experience a healthy, happy, long-lasting relationship with another person.”

Tucciarone said she doesn’t know if she will write another book or what the future holds for it, but she is planning to promote the book and continue coaching others.

Now that the book is complete and available for purchase, Tucciarone said, it is such a relief and joy to have it done.

“It’s high time,” she said. “I feel so happy and ecstatic most of all because I know this book will help tons and tons of people.”

This article originally appeared in the July/August issue of The BReeze, out now!