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YOU'RE NOT WHAT I EXPECTED by Polly Young-Eisendrath


Learning to Love the Opposite Sex

by Polly Young-Eisendrath

Pub Date: May 20th, 1993
ISBN: 0-688-11434-4
Publisher: Morrow/HarperCollins

 An impressive account of how ``dialogue therapy''--a technique developed by Young-Eisendrath and her husband and described in detail in the author's Hags and Heroes (1984)--helps couples to achieve a new intimacy. Young-Eisendrath, a Jungian psychoanalyst and feminist, believes that intimacy depends on equality and that equality between the sexes is only now becoming possible in our culture. She uses the term ``gender'' to refer to the role assigned to each sex by society, and she sees the rise of feminism as increasing our awareness of gender stereotypes. To show how the gender split can be healed, Young-Eisendrath follows four representative couples in dialogue therapy: Patty and Joe, a working-class pair in their 20s; Karen and Jonathon, feminist yuppies in their 30s; Larry and Louise, a twosome in their 40s struggling with social change; and Charles and Pamela, a traditional, patriarchal couple in their 60s. Each pair meets for two hours a month for six months with Young-Eisendrath and her husband, and are directed in conversation--with the therapists acting as alter egos--that expresses the feelings that each couple implies but has been unable to put into direct words. Excerpts from these sessions demonstrate just how the couples gradually learn to conduct their own dialogues as they work through their differences, conflicts, and sexual stereotypes concerning issues such as money, leisure, parenting, envy, power, fighting, etc. Young-Eisendrath sees the process as a transformation from disillusionment into trust, one in which individuals achieve mature dependence, learning to maintain their own viewpoints while understanding those of the other gender. Scholarly and thoughtful yet totally accessible and quite practical.