We Have to Talk: Healing Dialogues Between Women and Men

Samuel Shem, Author, Janet Surrey, Author, Stephen Bergman, Author
Samuel Shem, Author, Janet Surrey, Author, Stephen Bergman, Author Basic Books $23 (240p) ISBN 978-0-465-08063-2
Reviewed on: 06/29/1998
Release date: 07/01/1998
Paperback - 238 pages - 978-0-465-09114-0
Open Ebook - 239 pages - 978-1-306-31034-5
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Beginning with a small experimental group workshop on a weekend in Cape Cod in 1986, Shem, a psychiatrist, and Surrey, a clinical psychologist, have conducted what they call ""gender dialogues"" all over the world. They reject the popular notion that men and women are so different that ""they might have hailed from different planets,"" dismissing the idea as a ""masked return to the stereotypic 1950s."" Instead they argue that ""[d]isconnections in male-female relationships impact everyone: in families, schools, corporations, medical settings, courtrooms, and government."" The athors offer a ""relational"" approach for more honest and mutually beneficial communication by applying the Connection Model--developed at the Stone Center at Wellesley College, where they are faculty members--to find and attend the ""we"" in any given exchange. Their implied position that what has traditionally been women's (learned) view is superior to that of men's and should be adopted in all circumstances will be troublesome to some and requires further discussion. Nonetheless, the actual dialogue sessions presented here ring true, and the positive results offer hope for the possibility of improved connections between different people in various settings. Couples, families, classrooms, schools and businesses, for example, might benefit from the authors' recommendation to learn to focus on a shared ""purpose statement,"" admit and release the ""dread"" and ""yearning"" that create impasses in communication and ""hold the we"" while attempting to reconcile differences. (Aug.)
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