In her review of Women Psychotherapists’ Reflections on Female Friendships: Sisters of the Heart, Harriette Kaley notes how well the book makes a case for the “power of sisterhood” (para. 6). The chapters describe the transformative effect of friendships on the lives of women and their ability to heal, empower, and inspire; but, as Kaley notes, the authors do not neglect the other factors that are important to women’s lives. The additional factors include “feminist therapy, education, cultural sensitivity, alternative therapies, self-care, and so on” (para. 3), with a significant emphasis on spirituality.
The reviewer notes how touching and personal each author’s narrative is and the value of this act of witnessing. However, I found myself wondering about the emphasis on the development of feminist therapists. Is the impact of women’s friendships different for women therapists who are not feminists? How much would narratives of male therapists who espouse a feminist perspective vary with respect to the importance of women’s friendships or in the other factors affecting women’s lives?
Given the importance of relationships to human well-being, perhaps the emphasis should be on the capacity of women to acknowledge and seek what we all need—nurturance, guidance, and good friends.
By Harriette Kaley
PsycCRITIQUES, 2014 Vol 59(38)