Mixed Blessings

by Rhoda Berlin, MS, LMFT
and Harriet Cannon, MC, LMHC, LMFT

Mixed Blessings Part One has clear educational chapters that demystify the components of culture and confusion that undermines confidence and trust. Part Two, uses empathy and humor in twelve stories, based on real couples’ navigation through complex relationship challenges with each other and with their families. Part Three is a collection of creative exercises individualize a couples’ path through cultural differences.

Mixed Blessings
Rhoda and Harriet
L: Rhoda Berlin, R: Harriet Cannon

Harriet Cannon and Rhoda Berlin have over fifty years collective experience as psychotherapists, and workshop leaders. They have specialized in clients who identify as multicultural, multiethnic, expatriates, and those work across cultures.


Mixed Blessings
Book Reviews

…Is love really all you need?…This book mines the complexity of romantic relationships that are a union of cultures as well as individuals…required reading for anyone who counsels or is part of a multicultural relationship…
— Kirkus Review
Featured in August 15, 2014 magazine

…Travelers, educators and students going abroad, along with business people who want a better understanding of how to recognize and bridge cultural gaps would benefit from reading Mixed Blessings…
— Chanticleer Book Reviews
Five Rooster Review Featured in Chanticleer Reviews
November 2014

I am a filmmaker who has traveled the world and lived abroad. My life has been filled with relationships with people of many cultures. My current film, Look At Us Now, Mother! delves deeply into my own ethnic culture and the challenges that I have faced. Harriet and Rhoda’s work on this topic is not only cutting edge but so needed to help our growing population of multiethnic individuals and relationships. With their combined years of work, research and wisdom we are lucky to have their knowledge passed onto us.
— Gayle Kirschenbaum, multiple award-winning writer, producer and director of documentary films including My Nose and A Dog’s Life: A Dogamentary
New York, New York

Mixed Blessings is true to its mission of delving into the heart of the multicultural, multiethnic couples… The authors skillfully blend psycho-education and real life couple stories that go beyond just teaching, more like opening the heart…
— T. Pfannenstiel, MD (Kansas, USA)

I related to many things whilst reading Mixed Blessings. For example, I recognize I have gone through the acculturation process in working in Iraq and Afghanistan. I also realize I do a lot of cultural refueling even though I have now lived in Thailand for several years.
— Dave, a Scot in Thailand

Mixed Blessings addresses the intense feelings of being ‘neither/nor’ when individuals are forced to respond to the difficult question of what is considered home or “homeland”. The book is rich in examples on how couples negotiate and reconcile the conflict between being loyal to their individual self hood versus the expectations inherent in their extended multicultural family identity.
— Cristina Fandino Ed.D, an Argentine-Canadian Psychologist in Toronto, Canada

This exercise for groups and individuals: an excerpt for Part Three in
Mixed Blessings: A Guide to Multicultural and Multiethnic Relationships

Cultural Conversation Starters

The following are questions to peak cultural curiosity in book group discussions, or in conversations between you and your partner.

1. Where did you grow up? What was it like growing up there?

2. Do you identify with one culture or ethnicity, with two or with more?

3. Did your family tell stories about people, places and events from your home culture(s)?

4. What special traditions and rituals have been passed down to you?

5. Did one side of the family have more influence than the other? If so, how?

6. From your perspective, why do you think that happened?

7. Has the influence of your extended family changed over time (for instance, after your marriage or with the birth of your first child)?

8. How have you changed? If your parents were born in a culture or country or region different than where you now live, is it more difficult to fit in when you visit? Or when they do?

9. In your committed relationships, what ways does your heritage compliment that of your partner and/or extended family? Your friends?

10. Do you have a strategy for negotiating the rough places when your cultures clash?