INTIMACY AND SOLITUDE by Stephanie Dowrick


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 Co-founder of the Women's Press in England and practicing psychotherapist Dowrick reflects on the interdependent nature of intimacy and solitude. Drawing upon a grab bag of theories from Kohut, Winnicott, Fairbairn, Lacan, and others, as well as citing numerous case studies of heterosexual and homosexual men and women culled from her psychotherapeutic practice, Dowrick contends that the capacity to tolerate solitude is predicated on one's ability to be intimate with others. Intimacy begins at home--specifically, in the experience of being securely held as an infant and child, which determines one's ability, as an adult, to stand alone as well as to develop close ties with others. Self-knowledge and self-trust, learned in childhood, become the foundation for the healthy personality. Paradoxically, the less one needs others, the more easily one can embrace them. Dowrick includes relevant anecdotes about her own life, explaining that losing her mother at the age of eight made her fearful of establishing intimate ties with others, anxious about her ability to mother her own two children, and occasionally ineffectual in dealing with her more troublesome patients. But the author is not among those who believe that childhood is fate. Quoting the concentration camp survivor and founder of logotherapy, Victor Frankl, she concurs that ``Facts are not fate. What matters is the stand we take toward them.'' With guidance and insight, it seems, one can overcome the legacy of a difficult childhood. Learned, sensitive, and compassionate: self-help fare at its best.

Pub Date: April 1st, 1994
ISBN: 0-393-03627-8
Page count: 336pp
Publisher: Norton
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1st, 1994


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