Synopses & Reviews
Why do I go from one relationship to another without finding what I yearn for?
Why am I restless or critical with those I love and uneasy with my own company when I'm alone?
Is it possible to be close to someone else and still be myself?
Being alone. Relating to others. Both have the potential for immense personal satisfaction. Both can seem painfully elusive to balance or achieve.
As Stephanie Dowrick, a writer and psychotherapist, shows, intimacy and solitude are not opposing experiences. They are different expressions of our same self. We cannot usefully address our difficulties in relationships without also considering how we spend our time alone. Nor can we take on "self-awareness" in any meaningful way without questioning what we expect from others.
Solitude is a very different experience than loneliness, and sex is only one way to express intimacy. In understanding our "self", we must explore the roles of men and women. In understanding how to care, we cannot ignore who and how we desire, and where we look for meaning.
Bringing intimacy and solitude together allows each of us to unravel why we need others and want to be free; why we want to be understood and guard our secrets; why we want to be loved "for ourselves" and yet may have difficulty accepting who we are.
Intimacy and Solitude is a self-discovery book with a rare breadth of insight, and a gentle insistence that we can and must take responsibility for ourselves in order fully to express our care and love for others. Dowrick draws from a wide range of psychoanalytic and spiritual sources to trace the development of the capacities to be comfortably alone and with others from infancy onwards. But as Dowrick emphasizesthrough a variety of moving, personal stories drawn from her own and others' experiences, no matter how far from ideal our early experiences were, nor how fearful we might at this moment be, to the end of life it remains possible to develop the self-acceptance essential to solitude, and the freedom that allows generous, life-enhancing contacts with others.
"Remarkable....In essence, Dowrick sees intimacy and solitude as different expressions of the same self, but to state her conclusions is to miss the fascination of her book as it unfolds." Genre
"Stephanie Dowrick captures the essential essence of what intimacy is all about....Intelligent, broadly informed." Marilyn J. Mason
"I imagine lovers and spouses pressing [Intimacy and Solitude] upon their partners with slips of paper in all the relevant places." Australian Book Review
"Sympathetically, and with a rare clarity, [Intimacy and Solitude] offers penetrating insights into some of the most basic paradoxes of human relationships." London Guardian
About the Author
Stephanie Dowrick is the author of Intimacy and Solitude, The Intimacy and Solitude Workbook, and Forgiveness and Other Acts of Love. Co-founder and chair of the Women's Press, Dowrick is a practicing psychotherapist. She lives in New South Wales, Australia with her two children.