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Book Reviews   |    
Balancing Family and Work: Special Considerations in Feminist Therapy
Reviewed by William Vogel, Ph.D.
Psychiatric Services 2003; doi: 10.1176/appi.ps.54.9.1297
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edited by Toni Schindler Zimmerman; New York, Haworth Press, 2001, 213 pages, $24.95 softcover

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The nine papers that make up this book—published simultaneously in the Journal of Feminist Family Therapy—contain literature reviews, theoretical formulations, and original research. The focus is on problems and solutions involved in traditional and nontraditional middle-class and working-class middle-American and minority families struggling with the problem of balancing family and work.

The social problems addressed by these papers are enormous. Solutions both for individual families and for society as a whole are hard to come by. Among couples who aim to follow a model in which breadwinner and homemaker roles are equally shared, such roles are in fact rarely equally shared. The homemaker role often continues to fall heavily upon the woman, even when both partners—at least in theory—are committed to a nontraditional model. The adjustments necessary when both partners follow a joint breadwinner-homemaker model are very difficult and constitute a major source of stress on the couple's union. Not least among the problems is the fact that there is a great lack of community support for parents, especially those at the lower end of the socioeconomic scale. Many of the authors represented in this volume find that although there is a considerable body of research and scholarship that focuses on these problems, very little of it seems to inform the day-to-day clinical work of mental health professionals. I found each of the articles to be instructive, well written, and a rewarding read.

Dr. Vogel is associate professor of psychiatry at UMass Memorial Health Care, Inc., in Worcester, Massachusetts.




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