Book Reviews -- Men, Women, and Infertility by Aline P. Zoldbrod

Article excerpt

ALINE P. ZOLDBROD: Men, Women, and Infertility. Lexington Books, New York, 1992, 256 pp., $29.95.

Men, Women, and Infertility is intended to give therapists with no background in infertility an insight how both men and women feel about this complex issue, as well as some new therapeutic techniques for dealing with it. It is not slated as a beginner's primer, but intended for the trained therapist who does not specialize in infertility. Some new techniques are to be offered as patient-coping strategies.

The author certainly meets her first goal. The volume's overview of infertility is full and references are well documented. Zolbrod gives the reader a valuable insight into the feelings of both men and women and identifies potential emotional problems for these couples, including the impact of infertility on individual perceptions and sexuality.

However, the book falls short in crucial areas. The author emphasizes that her writing is for the trained therapist, yet many of her comments are pitched at the inexperienced student. For example, she warns that empathy is not enough for working with a patient, when every trained therapist understands that empathy and the therapeutic alliance is merely the starting point for any given treatment.

In the preface, Zolbrod says she works largely with a healthy, white middle-class population but fails to explain until Chapter 5 that the behavioral techniques she offers may not be appropriate for patients diagnosed with character disorders. It would have been far more helpful if the author had disclosed this information initially for the reader and not revealed it so casually in the text.

Finally, the author cautions the reader about the potential problem of "theoretical eclecticism in the text where she bounces between perspectives of feminism, behavioral medical psychology, and psychoanalytically oriented psychotherapy and multimodal therapy." She is right, it is confusing. Nevertheless, much of the book is devoted to multimodal therapy at the expense of other modalities and the argument in support of this type of therapy is further downgraded because of sloppy editing.

The book is composed of three parts, and divided into 11 chapters plus an appendix. Part I, Introduction, notes that 12 percent of American couples of child-bearing age are infertile. …