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Burke, N. (1996). Women As Therapists: Dorothy W. Canter. Northvale, NJ: Aronson, 1992, 250 pp. (softcover), $25. Psychoanal. Psychol., 13(3):439-447.

(1996). Psychoanalytic Psychology, 13(3):439-447

Women As Therapists: Dorothy W. Canter. Northvale, NJ: Aronson, 1992, 250 pp. (softcover), $25

Review by:
Nancy Burke, Ph.D.

The study of psychotherapy as a discipline cannot help but reveal its polyphony or the fact that its many voices, as they are simultaneously developed in the current psychotherapeutic literature, are now discordant, now in harmony. And the harmonic structure of the literature on psychotherapy, like the harmonic structure of music, is at least as complex and difficult to grasp as its melodic one, and it is at least as potentially profound. Thus, although I am grateful to Dorothy W. Canter's Women As Therapists for offering us an often skillfully executed concert that might best be called “Solo Variations on Some Themes,” I felt, in reading it, the lack of integration in what at first had promised to be a richly symphonic program.

The lack of attention to harmonic synthesis in this book may have been less problematic when the text was presented in its original form, as a series of panel discussions during the 1987 and 1988 conventions of the American Psychological Association. In certain respects, the reader of this book might feel as though he or she is not so much attending a concert as afterward reading the score, without benefit of the capacities of aural memory to preserve the lingering tones of each of the solo instruments and, thus, to sense the dissonance and consort of phrases and motives that would have emerged in the course of hearing the pieces in musical time. At its best, the text sometimes manages to convey the immediacy of the live performance and, in so doing, instills some semblance of this sort of aural memory.

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