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“Hudson comes across as sensible, a solution-oriented woman whom women will heed to their benefit...She helps empower women with practical suggestions for improving their lot.” --Publishers Weekly
The pressures of caring for family, concerns about appearance and body image, discriminatory practices in the work place, sexual harassment - these are problems that all too often define a woman’s experience in our society. For decades, therapists have addressed these issues by searching for the roots of the problems and assigning blame either to men in general or to the nature of women. This approach rarely provides women with the tools they need to change their lives.
Now, author and clinical psychologist Pat Hudson defines a new approach to women’s problems. In THE SOLUTION-ORIENTED WOMAN: Creating the Life You Want [W.W. Norton; March 25, 1996; $19.95], Hudson distills her twenty-plus years of psychotherapy practice and radio counseling into a problem-solving method of women’s therapy that moves beyond analyzing what is wrong and focuses on making it right. Even if the theory of the patriarchal conspiracy were true, Hudson asks, what does it matter? How will it help any single woman deal with her family, save her relationship, or further her career? The answer is, it won’t. So Hudson does away with blaming and labeling and instead defines four solutions essential for women who wish to improve their lives.
The Thinking Solution - The thinking solution shows women how to change the way they think about their problems. Focusing on the “why” of a problem can be defeating. Concentrating on the “how” and the “what” is more productive.
The Action Solution - The action solution teaches women to identify and communicate the actions they want a person to either stop or start taking. Difficulties with a person are best resolved when feelings or vague complaints are translated into specific actions. For example, if a woman says to her partner, “I want more support from you,” but doesn’t say how “support” translates into concrete actions, the partner will not know how to change.
The Dreaming Solution - The dreaming solution shows women how to use their unconscious to create the life they want. Through imagery, self-hypnosis, meditation, and dreams women can first imagine and then achieve solutions to their problems.
The Feeling Solution - The feeling solution allows women to accept their feelings. Acknowledging emotions as neither right nor wrong helps women cope with residual feelings about unresolved issues. Dr. Hudson suggests women create daily or weekly ceremonies of connecting with themselves, or funerals for the past.
The power of the solution-oriented approach is illustrated in the case of Christie and Donald, a married couple. Christie and Donald are having arguments about the household work, who will do it and when. Hudson first examines how Christie might search for the reason behind her husband’s resistance to household chores. Through traditional methods of therapy - behavioral, psychodynamic, feminist, transactional, to name a few - she might reach as many conclusions as there are therapies. Hudson worked this way with her clients for a decade and reports with the strength of first-hand knowledge that understanding rarely produces change. Letting go of explanations and focusing what has worked in the past, and more on strengths and abilities are the keys to the solution-oriented approach, and Hudson makes the reader believe, through this example and many others, that it works. Christie and Donald were eventually able to come to a compromise, satisfactory to both.
In THE SOLUTION-ORIENTED WOMAN, Pat Hudson draws on her own life and her years of counseling others to illustrate how the four solutions can be used as flexible tools to solve problems in all aspects of a woman’s life: partnership, parenting, and career. She also covers how the solution-oriented approach can help a woman in situations of violence and violation, as well as how to identify and escape a dangerous relationship.
THE SOLUTION-ORIENTED WOMAN addresses the unique challenges that women face today with a message of hope humor, and action. With solution-oriented thinking, women will feel strong and more in control of their lives. They will be able to move beyond blaming and labeling to focus on immediate and permanent change and immeasurably improving their lives.