Magazine article Herizons

[Living Beside: Performing Normal after Incest Memories Return]

Magazine article Herizons

[Living Beside: Performing Normal after Incest Memories Return]

Article excerpt

[Graph Not Transcribed]

BY TANYA LEWIS

MCGILLIGAN BOOKS, 1999

REVIEW BY HEATHER HOWDLE

Incest survivors contemplating counselling may want to read this book first. Living Beside is an intellectual analysis from a cultural, political and feminist perspective. The author creates her own language to express her experiences.

Definitely thought provoking, Tanya Lewis has challenged the goal of therapy or healing as becoming 'normal.' She notes that 'normal' in society is restrictive for women because of the male dominated rules that we have been conditioned to live by. This book will help counsellors and victims of incest understand that any help given to deal with their memories of abuse-whenever they surface-needs to be given in the context of that society.

Lewis purports the purpose of analysis is not to discover the 'truth,' but to create as many layers of meaning as possible. A post-structural psychology inhabits a world of partial meanings rather than universal truths. Lewis writes from the perspective of a white, middle-class, able-bodied lesbian incest survivor who used dissociation, strict boundaries between public face and private feelings and constriction as primary survival tools in a straight and structured world.

The depth of self-analysis may get in the way of the author's desire to convey the message that therapy does not always lead to a 'normal' life or complete healing. There are many things in our society that undermine a sexual abuse survivor's ability to function and feel emotions. …

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