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Dillon, C. (2001). Discussion—Relational Growth Through Similarity and Difference. Psychoanal. Soc. Work, 8(1):15-25.

(2001). Psychoanalytic Social Work, 8(1):15-25

Discussion—Relational Growth Through Similarity and Difference

Carolyn Dillon, LICSW, B.C.D.

So many of the complexities and perplexities of developing an appropriate, contemporary, theoretically informed relational stance with clients are touchingly present in When Breaking the Boundary Between Reality and Therapy. Who among us does not still struggle periodically with relational issues in a world increasingly diverse, “wired,” and insistent on the need for more authenticity in relations between people, whether global, presidential, or therapeutic? The honest struggles and missteps of the author remind me so much of my own and others' efforts to evolve a theoretically informed responsiveness that commingles empathy, assessment knowledge, and a reflective codevelopment of the work together in ways that are productive for the client.

Linda and her therapist illustrate for me the “central paradox” in women's relationships described by Miller and Stiver (1997) in The Healing Connection, a book summarizing much of the relational thinking of the Stone Center Women's Theory Group at Wellesley College (Jean Baker Miller, Irene Stiver, Judith Jordan, Janet Surrey, and colleagues). Miller and Stiver observe that women often withhold parts of themselves in relationships—at the price of free speech and authentic self development—if they believe that speaking their own truths will end or damage an important bond.

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