Women's Growth In Connection

Writings from the Stone Center

Judith V. Jordan, Alexandra G. Kaplan, Irene P. Stiver, Janet L. Surrey, and Jean Baker Miller

April 19, 1991
ISBN 9780898624656
Price: $35.00
310 Pages
Size: 6" x 9"

This book presents an innovative relational perspective on women's ways of being in the world. It offers an alternative to traditional models of human development that define health and maturity in terms of separation and consistently define women as deficient. Written by leading clinicians and teachers from the Stone Center at Wellesley College, the book foregrounds women's meaning systems, values, and organization of experiences, which often revolve around relationships rather than the self. The authors set out basic relational principles and consider the implications for life challenges that many women face, as well as for psychotherapy.

“The [Stone] center's relational psychology is indispensable, a mainstay for any mental health professional who works with women. Whether one agrees with these psychologists' psychoanalytic framework, one simply cannot do without their contributions to the psychology of women.”

Affilia, Journal of Women and Social Work

“These are voices that are changing the way all women are heard and seen....Every woman who ever feels dissatisfied with life, angry, depressed, or misunderstood, and every man who cares about a woman who says she feels that way, and every psychotherapist needs this book.”

The Boston Globe

“The work of the Stone Center represents the most significant epistemological shift in psychoanalytic thinking since Freud, transforming not only WHAT we think, but also HOW we think about female development. The authors inspire us to join with them to bring theory and clinical practice closer to the real world of female experience and to approach this challenge with courage, integrity, curiosity, and heart. In both content and spirit, this is a most revolutionary work.”

—Harriet Goldhor Lerner, PhD, Author of The Dance of Intimacy

“This impressive collection of the original work from the Stone Center presents the feminist inspired view of women's development from the self-in-relation theories. It is lucid, it is passionate, and it is ground-breaking.”

—Teresa Bernardez, MD, Faculty and Supervising Analyst of the Michigan Psychoanalytic Council

“Traditional psychology devalues and mystifies women. The work of the Stone Center revalues and illuminates.”

—Judith Lewis Herman, MD, Author of Trauma and Recovery

“How splendid to have, in book form, these varied and sensitive explorations of human psychology and development from a relational, women-centered perspective! This is the stuff of which world-transforming changes are made—if only we'll listen.”

—Paula J. Caplan, PhD, Author of The Myth of Women's Masochism and Don't Blame Mother

“Some of our customers waited for years to see the work of the Stone Center collected in a book. Others see Women's Growth in Connection for the first time, scan the table of contents, and feel as if this is the book they've been waiting for. Since publication, this work has generated praise and excitement, and promises to become, like Gilligan's In a Different Voice and Miller's Toward a New Psychology of Women, a 'classic' for readers interested in women's lives and experiences in the world.”

—Laura Zimmerman, New Words Bookstore, Cambridge, Massachusetts

“I have been using Women's Growth in Connection as one of the texts in my graduate course, Psychotherapy with Women. The students, who are graduate students in clinical, counseling psychology, and other mental health professions, have responded enthusiastically....These writings promote a critical reexamination of traditional theories of women's development and inspire therapists to envision new ways of being, for themselves, and for their women clients.”

—Edna I. Rawlings, University of Cincinnati

“The more I read, the more I had difficulty in putting the book down. In fact, I found myself reading sections over and over because of the richness, depth, and newness of the material presented....This collection of writings is an important and long overdue step in formulating new models of women's development.”

—Nancy R. Hooyman, University of Washington

Table of Contents

I. A Developmental Perspective

1. The Development of Women's Sense of Self, Miller

2. Women and Empathy: Implications for Psychological Development and Psychotherapy, Jordan, Surrey, & Kaplan

3. The "Self-in-Relation": A Theory of Women's Development, Surrey

4. Empathy and Self Boundaries, Jordan

5. The Meaning of Mutuality, Jordan

6. Beyond the Oedipus Complex: Mothers and Daughters, Stiver

7. Women's Self in Development in Late Adolescence, Kaplan, Klein, & Gleason

II. Applications

8. The Meanings of "Dependency" in Female-Male Relationships, Stiver

9. Relationship and Empowerment, Surrey

10. The Construction of Anger in Women and Men, Miller

11. Women and Power, Miller

12. The "Self-in-Relation": Implications for Depression in Women, Kaplan

13. Work Inhibitions in Women, Stiver

14. Eating Patterns as a Reflection of Women's Development, Surrey

15. The Meaning of Care: Reframing Treatment Models, Stiver

16. Female or Male Therapists for Women: New Formulations: Kaplan

17. Empathy, Mutuality, and Therapeutic Change: Clinical Implications of a Relational Model, Jordan

About the Authors

Judith Jordan, Ph.D., is Director of Training and Founding Scholar at the Jean Baker Miller Institute, the Stone Center, Wellesley College, and Assistant Professor of Psychology at Harvard Medical School.


For anyone interested in the psychology of women, the role of connection in all of our lives, and the transformative power of human relationships. It also serves as a text for undergraduate and graduate-level courses in women's studies, the psychology of women,the psychology of gender, and developmental psychology graduate courses.