cover image Father Daughter Dance

Father Daughter Dance

Barbara Goulter. Putnam Publishing Group, $22.95 (256pp) ISBN 978-0-399-13826-3

In a revision of psychological theories that give mothers, as primary caregivers, the leading role in a child's emotional development, the authors argue persuasively that a woman's early relationship with her father exerts major influence on her approach to life. Most fathers play small parts in the daily lives of their daughters, while mothers are intimately involved in their daughters' everyday struggles of growing up. Thus fathers are likely to become larger-than-life figures--heroic or flawed but indisputably powerful--in their daughters' fantasies, given crucial roles that remain untempered by reality. Freelance writer Goulter and psychotherapist Minninger ( Make Your Mind Work for You ) describe six patterns that define many father-daughter relationships--e.g., Ruined Father and Rescuing Daughter, Abusive Father and Victim Daughter--and illustrate each with examples from history, literature and film. Calling on recent research studies and case histories, they also suggest ways in which both fathers and daughters can break out of limiting patterns to build authentic, unique relationships. A cogent, provocative and helpful volume. Psychotherapy Book Club selection. (Mar.)