cover image The Dance of Intimacy: A Woman's Guide to Courageous Acts of Change in Key Relationships

The Dance of Intimacy: A Woman's Guide to Courageous Acts of Change in Key Relationships

Harriet Goldhor Lerner / Author HarperCollins Publishers $17.9

This sensible self-help book draws on family-systems therapy in recommending thoughtful ``self-focus'' for women stuck in difficult relationships with either mates or families. Emphasizing that ``a truly intimate relationship is one in which we can be who we are, which means being open about ourselves,'' Lerner ( The Dance of Anger ; Women in Therapy ) highlights the importance of women defining themselves, their needs and limits, rather than reacting to anxiety unthinkingly--either by emotionally distancing themselves from problems or by overreacting. A staff psychologist and psychotherapist at the Menninger Clinic, Lerner illustrates her points with case studies from her family as well as her practice. To explore what unhelpful patterns of behavior may be passed down from past generations, she advises creating a genogram, or family diagram, going back to a person's grandparents or earlier. Lerner's book presumes at least an acquaintance with professional jargon but should be accessible to most readers of pop psychology. (Apr.)