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†† A member of an online group
asked had anyone read this book; she having noticed it in a bookstore, wondered
if it were worth buying.† I read a few online reviews and decided it did indeed
looking interesting and set out to buy it from Amazon.† Much to my surprise,
Amazon said I had previously bought it back in 1999.† Searching through my
books, I didn't find my copy, so bought another.
†† I discovered the book was
indeed familiar to me but was surprised because I had some questions I don't
remember having the first time I read it.† Why just women and their therapists;
why not clients or patients and their therapists?† Don't men form bonds with
their therapists?† I also remembered how exciting the book was to read back in
1999, how, because I'm a woman, it taught me more about myself and my
relationship with my therapist.† However, this time through, with five more
years of therapy under my belt and being older and hopefully, wiser, I found
the book somewhat Freudian stereotypical.
†† Basically the book covers how
women and their male therapists deal with fathers, power, and sex and, with
their female therapists, mothers.† While it's not presented so dichotomously,
and is dealt with in chapters on transference and "I'm in Love With My
Therapist," wherein both male and female therapists are discussed
interchangeably, nevertheless a dichotomy is the gist I felt.† Yes, male
therapists also get the mother transference and female therapists the father,
power and sexual ones but in this reading, I was wishing to find discussed why
women choose or prefer a male or female therapist in the first place and how
that impacts therapy.† I have mother issues and have found my female therapist
extremely useful working with them.† However, I have also known women who avoid
female therapists because they have issues with females (mothers).† My previous
male therapist and I got into sexual difficulties.† None of that surprises me
and I wonder why.
†† With female therapists now
experiencing a growing edge in numbers in this traditional male occupation, I
was wishing for more about women and power, feminism and the changing roles of
women.† Instead, there's two chapters on mothers and many of the other chapters
cover power, love and sex, but it is "The Therapist's Power" and
"Sexual Transgressions in Therapy," standard fare.† I consider my
female therapist a sort of mentor and while "mirroring" is covered,
mentoring is not.† The effect of the intimate relationship is discussed but the
relationship itself is not.† The mirroring is therapist mirroring patient, not
patient mimicking and wishing to be like the good they see in the therapist and
being aware that that is so.† The discussion of transference was about how
frightening and distasteful it is to many women, women's affect, with too
little about how useful it is or about women clients' intellectual
understanding of what is happening in the therapy relationship.
†† Even though personally
disappointed about its lack of forward-looking aspects, I like this book
because it is well written and educational.† The chapter and discussion of
transference is especially enlightening.† That the author is a journalist
instead of a therapist, so easier for the average female therapy client to
identify with and understand, is a plus too.† I would recommend this book to
anyone interested in therapy and the relationship between therapist and
patient.† It's a good start in a relatively new genre of psychology book.
© 2004 Margo McPhillips
Margo McPhillips is a 1972 graduate
of the University of Maryland with a Bachelors degree in Sociology. She is
currently interested in the use of books on the Web, bibliotherapy, genealogy
as an online family/generational activity.
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