Diane Tegtmeier
Your Partner in Healing and Learning
Book Reviews

What people are saying about Relationships that Heal.... 

 "Relationship is the crucible of humanity's evolution to the heart chakra.  Through personal stories, here is a manual that shows how to navigate the many dynamics of therapeutic relationships and maximize the healing power of love."

Anodea Judith, Waking the Global Heart


"This book provides a model that will challenge—in a compassionate, deeply thoughtful and human way—everything you thought you knew about the professional helping relationship."

—Dorothy Van Soest, PhD, MSW, Professor and former Dean, University of Washington


"Integral healing has found an innovative thinker in Diane Tegtmeier.  "Relationships That Heal" is a MUST READ for anyone who practices healing in today's world."

Peter Amato, CEO, Inner Harmony Group


"In her new volume Relationships that Heal, environmental activist, clinical social worker and energy practitioner Diane Tegtmeier has succeeded in explicating and integrating a deeply colored, varied, and extensive amount of material.  Her work draws broadly upon the cell membrane model to illustrate crucial ecological ideas of wholeness, interconnectedness and permeability.  Tegtmeier's book is highly readable, richly metaphorical and imminently practical. It includes abundant examples from her own life and practice experience that will assist the interested reader and professional practitioner alike in understanding and applying these concepts to a wide-range of helping contexts."

            Fred H. Besthorn, M.Div., MSW, Ph.D. Associate Professor of Social Work, University of Northern Iowa, Cedar Falls, Iowa


"Her book presents a new approach to professional ethics, based on a natural, ecological model: that of the cell membrane. It takes the point of view that what happens in nature happens in ALL of nature, so that whether we're looking at the way cells deal with pathogens, or therapists deal with transference, the same sets of principles apply.

Diane's model is a flexible, contextual one: rather than presenting a "do and don't" approach to ethical dilemmas, it offers the reader tools to help turn all aspects of professional relationships into opportunities for healing to the client and therapist alike. It's the first new approach to ethics I've ever seen, and I think this book could be useful to anyone in a "healing" role and in their personal lives.

—Andrew Yavelow, Integrative Bodywork Specialist

"Relationships That Heal is an awakening to nature's universal healing dynamics! Tegtmeier spells out the practical steps for navigating a healing partnership in a way that translates seamlessly to my methodologies. It gives meaningful context for my true role in the healing arts."

Shaw Coté, Certified Cranio-Sacral and Massage Therapist.


"Tegtmeier offers a new point of view of sexuality—not an anthropocentric, but an ecocentric one. Here we have a guide to dealing with sexual issues in counselling and therapy processes that enable us to become more aware of our co-creative relationship with all life in Earth, honouring our power, and becoming more responsible toward ourselves and others."

Marcella Danon, Italian psychologist, vice-president of the Europea Ecopsychology Society


"Diane Tegtmeier has written a wonderful book that will be of benefit to any practitioner who enters into healing relationships.  She very cleverly uses the physiology of cell membranes to describe methods of fostering ethical interactions with our clients/patients. 

Diane also draws on her experiences to illustrate how good intentions alone may not adequately serve our patients/clients as well as not adequately protect us caregivers from charges of ethical violations.  I foresee that the use of this book in the teaching setting by faculty and students in various disciplines of the Healing Arts will stimulate healthy discussions which will result in grounded, centered students who will be well prepared to deal with the complex issues that may arise in the course of being involved in healing relationships."

Robert D McKay MD, Anesthesiologist and Pain Management physician with Bristol Anesthesia Services, Bristol Tennessee, Watsu Practitioner, Therapeutic Yoga Practitioner


"Using the cell membrane model, Diane has created a clear set of tools that are proving to be invaluable in my practice.  She lays out guidelines that not only offer insight to shift uncomfortable situations, but also allow healing energy to enter.

Patti Phillips, Aquatic bodywork and massage therapist and physical therapy assistant.


"You know how it is when you try to back out of a relationship - it keeps coming at you until you make peace with it."  Diane Tegtmeier

If I were the kind of person who underlined 'aha' moments in books, my copy of this one would be thoroughly marked up.  For Diane is taking me on a rewarding hike through a familiar and challenging terrain.  Every step - every word - has the weight of experience behind it.

 Although she has made this book very accessible to someone new to what she inclusively calls the 'helping profession', I think it is likely to speak most to those who have bravely battled their way through some of the slings-and-arrows of a few years in healing practice and in life.

 Since bringing all her many skills to the water in the practice of aquatic bodywork is a central passion for Diane, there are numerous references to this particular healing modality.  However, setting it in a wider context and collaboration as she does here, is especially effective.

 Diane and her work had me at hello.

 Last year, I met her at the poolside in the hot springs retreat where she lives and practices.  I can still see her face and summon up the clarity of her words as she sat in the spring sunshine, briefing me about the extraordinary aquatic bodywork session I was about to take with her.

 I knew right away that I was in the hands of a professional; but also of someone who'd be willing to co-adventure with me, even if the going got wild or tough and the territory seemingly uncharted.  All these metaphors seem appropriate as I read in the present book of her love for the Earth's wilderness.

 The second hello came when I read her invitation at the start of the book to join her on a 'new kind of inquiry into professional ethics', not the dos and don'ts of conventional codes or any other human-centered attempt to control or predict what is called for in each unique situation needing therapeutic care.

 A model is helpful though, and Diane has found a viable and versatile one in the cell membrane.  Drawing on observations of common patterns of relationship in nature and her own lived experiences in family, work and community,  she demonstrates how this model can work quite naturally in practice.

 Like me, she has grappled with the implications of a common concept and central challenge in our profession - that of  'boundaries'.  When not wielded well, this can turn into a destructive power struggle between client and practitioner that may go either way - exacerbating suffering or damaging reputation.

 The extremes of practitioners who stick conscientiously to the rules they have been taught, and those who unconsciously break them to serve their own wounded needs, are equally harmful.  Healthy but rare is the highly developed awareness and responsiveness in a healer-practitioner that Diane is exploring here.

 In the model of the cell, I suggest that this ideal requires a vitalized system that has not been overloaded with toxicity of any kind or subject to traumatic injury that compromises or disables healthy function.  Fortunately, cells and relationships are remarkably resilient and do have a natural preference for a balanced vibrant state.

 By using the phrase 'healing partners' to describe the relationship that is commonly called 'client and therapist', Diane is establishing another important dynamic.  Even if it doesn't start that way, the dynamic state of balance that is needed for health is a two-way process of exchange.

 Diane's definition of healing is a brilliant distillation of all this, worth posting where you can contemplate it often:

 Healing is the collaborative, transformative process by which balance is restored as we become increasingly aware of our wholeness and interconnection with all life.

 This reminds me of my yoga teacher Iyengar's admonition that to know how to do 'Mountain' pose well, was to master the entire practice.  This pose, simply that of standing still as a mountain, requires the kind of dynamic balance, while still staying grounded, that I think Diane has set out to share here.

 After introducing 6 cell membrane principles that provide her healing model in the first section of the book, she takes us firmly from model to healing practice.  The  co-creative reader  is encouraged to adapt appropriately the basic 5-step process Diane uses to integrate the model into her practice.

 Taking the concepts developed from her cell membrane model (containment, selective permeability, interspace, differentiation, connection to center, and oneness), she brings them to life in creating safe space, dealing with power and control issues, and navigating money, sex and dual relationships.

 The openness with which Diane shares her mistakes, her risks and her successes in working with others, many of whom were courageously facing serious physical and/or psychological traumas, is a model in itself for the level of honest humility and true compassion that such healing work requires.

 In conclusion: If you are a novice practitioner buy this book (link below) and please don't leave it on your shelf after you have read it once.  For us all, it deserves to be a well-leafed and thoroughly underscored working manual.  It would also make valuable reading for someone on the receiving end who wants to know what is possible in the best of healing partnership.

—Sara Firman, Aquatic Bodywork Practitioner and Researcher