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The Dance of Intimacy: A Woman's Guide to Courageous Acts of Change in Key Relationships Paperback – March 28, 1997


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The Dance of Intimacy: A Woman's Guide to Courageous Acts of Change in Key Relationships + The Dance of Anger: A Woman's Guide to Changing the Patterns of Intimate Relationships + The Dance of Connection: How to Talk to Someone When You're Mad, Hurt, Scared, Frustrated, Insulted, Betrayed, or Desperate
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 255 pages
  • Publisher: Harper Perennial; First Printing edition (March 28, 1997)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 006091646X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0060916466
  • Product Dimensions: 8.1 x 5.4 x 0.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 6.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (69 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #23,023 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

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.
Copyright 1989 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Review

“A wise and compassionate book that will teach the reader much about the complex emotions our family and love relationships engender.” (Lillian B. Rubin, Ph.D., author of Intimate Strangers)

“Subtle and literate, The Dance of Intimacy is like a long, revealing conversation with a wise and compassionate friend.” (Maggie Scarf)

“Dr. Lerner has a truly remarkable ability to analyze our problems with intimacy. She has written a hopeful, respectful, and transforming book.” (Carol C. Nadelson, M.D., former president of the American Psychiatric Association)

More About the Author

Harriet Lerner, Ph.D., is one of our nation's most loved and respected relationship experts. Renowned for her work on the psychology of women and family relationships, she served as a staff psychologist at the Menninger Clinic for more than two decades. A distinguished lecturer, workshop leader, and psychotherapist, she is the author of The Dance of Anger and other bestselling books. She is also, with her sister, an award-winning children's book writer. She and her husband are therapists in Lawrence, Kansas, and have two sons.

Customer Reviews

This book is very insightful and applicable to just about everyone.
dcmeme
I was required to read this book for my Family and Couples therapy class, and I would recommend it to anyone who wants to improve their relationships, romantic or not.
Danielle Freund
It is one of the best books on understanding relationships and helping yourself become better.
Amazon Customer

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

54 of 56 people found the following review helpful By Jennifer K Berman on November 13, 2001
Format: Paperback
After reading the Dance of Anger I was very eager to read this book. It is amazingly helpful. I especially appreciated the chapters on distancing, "overfunctioning" and how to bring up very hot issues with difficult people. I liked the author's realism, that she tells us that it's OK to move "at glacial speed" and that it's the direction and not the speed of travel that matters. She has so much wisdom and gives so much concrete advice without oversimplifying things. I also loved the chapter on "defining a bottom line" because it helped me make an important change in a relationship where I was complaining, but not really taking a bottom line position. Plus, Lerner is a great feminist in the best sense of the word.
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53 of 57 people found the following review helpful By Stephanie Manley VINE VOICE on March 7, 2005
Format: Paperback
I like how this book easily classifies people into distancers, and pursuers. It is fairly easy to see where someone falls in terms of being a distancer and a pursuer. From knowing this, determines how you should better communicate with your partner. Now while this book does not suggest dramatic change over night, it does suggest making small changes that can make large results.

I also like that she doesn't set the reader up to expect dramatic changes from the other person. She suggests in how to better communicate with the other person, whether it is your partner, parent, or child. Then she also teaches you to set some boundaries, and make sure you take good care of yourself first.

I like this realistic approach to relationships. The knowledge in this book can apply to many different types of relationships, do you don't have to have a significant other to benefit from this book. Its well worth the read.
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26 of 26 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on March 8, 1999
Format: Paperback
Everyone is entitled to their own opinion, however, I feel the comments from the UK couldn't be further from what Dr. Lerner is trying to say. First of all, she does not prescribe solutions but rather offers examples of struggles others have faced and how they have dealt with them. She is careful to state that it is possible for none of her examples to be useful in one's situation. Second, she addresses all relationships--mother, father, sibling, friend, lover, spouse--not just mother-daughter. What I see as a key theme is the fact that every individual is unique and carries with them a background and outlook that shapes their reactions to the world. There is a saying in Spanish: every person is a world. We must understand this background and outlook (their world) before we can ever hope to understand an individual. Most importantly, we must understand ourselves and how, when and why we react the way we do (our world) before we can ever hope to understand anyone else. Intimacy is challenging and change takes time and small steps. Intimate communication in strained situations can often initially create more conflict than resolution. Trying to find the humor in a situation and to express oneself in a non-threatening and non-judgmental manner often goes a long way towards opening the doors for better communication. I believe all advice is worth listening to. But, as with any advice, you take from it what you find useful and leave the rest alone. It is a book written by a woman, for women, so men may not find it as inspiring; being a woman, I really enjoyed it. I also found it to be a great read, a great challenge, and full of food for thought.
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38 of 41 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on April 30, 2003
Format: Paperback
I had always told myself that I would never read a self-help book, but then my therapist recommended that I read "The Dance of Intimacy." I had been having trouble in my relationship and this book helped me tremendously in understanding myself and my boyfriend. I connected completely with Lerner's assessments of the people she wrote about and their relationships. Throughout reading this book, I had several significant "lightbulb moments." I identified with the situations in the book and although my problems have not been solved overnight, I am gaining a better understanding of what I have to do to be happier with my relationship.
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19 of 19 people found the following review helpful By Growing into a Better Person on May 11, 2006
Format: Paperback
My pre-marital counselor suggested I read this. I had difficulty establishing intimate relationships and had been used to keeping my relationships shallow. This may work with co-workers and friends, but when marrying someone, it is very essential to develop a real emotional connection with your mate. This is something I couldn't fake. After reading this book, I began to change the way I looked at all relationships and have been made comfortable letting my guard down and allowing people I love to get to know me at a deeper level. This is a great read. Read slowly, so that you can absorb!
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16 of 16 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on December 31, 1998
Format: Paperback
This book was loaned to me by a counselor who I had worked with on my way out of an abusive marriage. Longing for a connection with someone who was not abusive, I couldn't understand the distancing that was taking place until I read this book. I also gained valuable insight into why my intense efforts to coerce cooperation from my 3 year old were, in fact, a result of trying to reduce the anger of his abusive father - a triangle I had imposed. The information can be a good tool to help sort out relationships that haven't gone smoothly.
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