Book Review - Blurred Boundaries

This article is an electronic version of an article originally published in Cultic Studies Journal, 1994, Volume 11, Number 2, pages 227. Please keep in mind that the pagination of this electronic reprint differs from that of the bound volume. This fact could affect how you enter bibliographic information in papers that you may write.

Book Review - Blurred Boundaries: My Therapist, My Friend. 

M.C. Miller

Shades of Gray Books, Westminster, CO, 1993, 306 pages.

This book is a personal account of one woman's search for self. Its 13 chapters flow much like a diary with dated entries describing her journey in therapy. Dedicating the book to her "inner child," the author views "the gift of love" as the major dynamic between therapist and client. Therapy, for the author, is "a profound paradox" because "the relationship is not reciprocal," yet it is "crucial" that therapists be "totally involved." Otherwise clients feel "alone and terrified." She believes therapists and clients "transform a part of themselves" in the process. This is the author's own personal view and she presents it well.

The truth is that if all therapists invested themselves so intensely it is likely the experience would be too draining. There is a danger in the closeness and sensitivity of therapy. We can be thankful that only a small fraction of therapists become emotionally or sexually involved with clients. The book would have been stronger had it warned readers of this possibility.

Blurred Boundaries revolves around the themes of dependency, codependency, striving for unity, integration, and autonomy. This book is everyone's story but at times only the author's, which may cause readers difficulty in feeling personally involved in what are mostly the author's personal concerns and issues. Readers pursuing their own search for meaning, stability, and identity can benefit from this detailed exploration of inner space. It is recommended for anyone along that path, especially recovering excult members and their families, since it helps to see how someone else charted a course toward improved mental health.

Frank MacHovec, Ph.D.

Center for the Study of the Self

Gloucester, Virginia

Cultic Studies Journal, Vol. 11, No. 2, 1994