To Really Love A Man

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How does a man really need to be loved?

How can his partner help to bring out his sensitivity, his emotions, his strength, his fire,

and at the same time allow him to feel respected, secure, and acknowledged?

Praise for both books:


“Read these books if you want to have a more loving, intimate, understanding and vulnerable relationship with the special person in your life.” –John Gray, PhD, author of Men are from Mars, Women are from Venus.


“To say that Barry and Joyce Vissell are masters of love is not an exaggeration. Not only is their own marriage a model of the kind of relationship most of us would like to have, but they teach us what real, lasting love is all about. I highly recommend these two new books, and all their books and retreats to anyone who wants to have an enlightened relationship that lasts through time.” –Jed Diamond, PhD, author of The Enlightened Marriage: The 5 Transformative Stages of Relationships and Why the Best is Still to Come


“Barry and Joyce Vissell are two of the most sincere and compelling voices for healing relationships and creating the highest connections. They have devoted their lives to understanding and explaining what makes relationships work. The wisdom they share in these new books will absolutely help you create the kind of relationships your heart desires and you deserve.” –Alan Cohen, author of Don’t Get Lucky, Get Smart


To Really Love a Woman and To Really Love a Man are backed by the powerful work the Vissells have been doing decade after decade in helping couples thrive and see the highest in one another, fueled by the beauty and success of their own partnership.” –David Feinstein and Donna Eden, authors of The Energies of Love


“Joyce and Barry Vissell walk their talk. Having been together for 52 years and taught thousands of people how to love themselves and their partners, I am thrilled that they have shared their wisdom in these books. Their writing is a true representation of who they are: warm, caring, supportive, funny, and inspiring.  Give yourself the gift of these books and watch all of your relationships transform!” –Karen Drucker, singer, songwriter, and author of “Let Go of the Shore” 


“It’s so easy to fall into tried-and-true patterns of showing love. The Vissells challenge us to let our imagination be big and to reach down deep to expand our repertoire of ways we show love. These books are detailed, practical, and inspirational guides for those who aspire to become great lovers and to bring maximum delight to their partnership.” –Linda Bloom, co-author of Secrets of Great Marriages.


“Reading these two books is a blessing and transmission of decades of personal and couples work. These books are filled with teachings. Joyce and Barry have put truths into words that we were unable to articulate. We want to thank them from our hearts for creating an authentic map that we can trust and feel confident to follow.”  –Barbara and Mark Stefik, authors of The Zorcon World Stories


From the Introduction:



We feel that women and men are essentially similar souls in different-sexed bodies. Both sexes want the same happiness, need the same love, crave the same peace, and feel the same emotions. In all our previous books we have emphasized the similarity rather than the difference between the sexes. While this is the highest truth, there is another truth no less important. Most men and women approach life and relationship in different ways and react to situations differently. Notice we said “most,” because nothing is all or none. However, the difference in male and female hormones, the findings of brain chemistry research, added to the difference in how women and men are raised, help create different emotional climates and even alter ways of thinking. On the deepest level, women and men are alike. In personality, there is often a clear contrast. On the level of soul there is sameness. In thoughts and feelings, men and women can be strikingly different.

We write these books not to point out the differences between the sexes. There are enough books that do that. We write these books to give tools to the readers to more deeply honor their partners. With honoring there can be joining. Respect for differences breaks down the age-old wall between women and men. Before there can be union, there must be love. Before there can be love, there must be understanding and respect. Before there can be understanding and respect, there must be listening — real listening – both inner and outer.

To really love another is to more deeply love yourself. To more deeply understand another is to more deeply understand your own soul. In other words, the real opportunity of relationship is your own spiritual growth. As souls, we are both male and female. It is just in our bodies, minds, and emotions that we express one sex predominantly.

Although these writings refer mostly to heterosexual women and men, there is a wealth of information for LGBTQ. Our focus, after all, is how to deeply love another person, whether it be a man or a woman.

Joyce and Barry Vissell started out in the field of medicine. Barry received his MD from the University of Southern California in Los Angeles in 1972. Joyce added her MS in child psychology from the same university to her previously earned BS and RN from Columbia University in New York City. Her main preceptor (and an influential teacher for them both) during her graduate work was Leo Buscaglia, who later became a close friend and contributor to their second book.

The couple then moved to Portland, Oregon, where Barry trained in psychiatry at the University of Oregon, and Joyce taught pediatric and psychiatric residents the subtleties of play therapy. Unsatisfied with the rigidity of traditional psychiatry, the Vissells undertook an intensive exploration of holistic and alternative disciplines, as well as a spiritual pilgrimage that led them half-way around the world and into meaningful training with teachers and leaders of the East and West.

The Vision:
In 1973, in an alpine meadow in the French Alps looking across Chamonix to Mont Blanc, Barry and Joyce Vissell had an experience that changed their lives. As teachers at a summer camp, they explored and pioneered a new method of healing by combining spiritual and psychotherapeutic individual and group work. They saw the transformational power in this combined work to change people’s lives. By the end of that summer they knew their lives would be dedicated to helping individuals, couples and families to open their hearts through this powerful combination.

The Foundation:
In 1984, the Vissells found a board of directors who understood and were dedicated to their vision, and created The Shared Heart Foundation, a California nonprofit educational 501c3 corporation.

Our Purpose:
Our purpose is education and the healing of individuals, couples, teens and families. We take our slogan seriously: “Changing the world one heart at a time.” Each person who is helped by our counseling services, books, or workshops goes on to make a difference in many others’ lives.

The Shared Heart Foundation provides counseling, workshops, retreats and training programs around the world. These programs are for individuals, including men’s and women’s retreats, and couples. One summer program, started in 1986, is a retreat for individuals, couples, and families, with teens and children of all ages. An inspired and experienced team of teachers work with each age group.
The Shared Heart Foundation provides scholarships to those who would not otherwise be able to get the help they need.
The Shared Heart Foundation offers a free monthly inspiring article by email. Hundreds of past articles, archived on this website, offer help with relationships and personal growth.
The Shared Heart Foundation provides books free of charge to prisons and other institutions.