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Intimacy and Solitude: Balancing Closeness and Independence

3.97  ·  Rating details ·  265 ratings  ·  32 reviews
Intimacy and Solitude is the international bestseller that helps you enjoy closeness with others, while maintaining a firm sense of independence. Using stories from her psychotherapy practice and her own life, Stephanie Dowrick shows how intimacy begins in discovering and trusting your own self, and then bringing that personal strength into one’s relationships with friends ...more
Paperback, 352 pages
Published February 17th 1996 by W. W. Norton Company (first published 1991)
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3.97  · 
Rating details
 ·  265 ratings  ·  32 reviews

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Jan 15, 2011 rated it really liked it
Shelves: read-in-2011
This book is a great look into how the early development of the self can affect your ability to experience intimacy or solitude. For those with too little self can muddle their identity within the relationship creating a we-self. People who experience muddled relationships are afraid of loneliness so they experience love with fear which interferes with intimacy. Vulnerability is needed in order to experience intimacy which can not be possible with fear. Of course to much of a good thing is also ...more
Feb 28, 2012 rated it really liked it
While the entirety of the book wasn't what I was looking for, the parts I found most interesting were helpful in identifying some person issues I had. Though dense, it's not particularly difficult to follow. A solid read overall on the topics.
Yvonne Anderson
Jul 15, 2013 rated it it was ok
I am almost finished. There were parts I loved about this book and parts I found really dry. It has taken me ages to get through it.
Dieu-Hoa Nguyen
Feb 13, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Tác giả nhấn mạnh rất nhiều về việc những gì xảy ra khi còn thơ ấu đã ảnh hưởng đến người trưởng thành như thế nào. Sau tất cả những gì mình trải nghiệm thì mình đồng ý với điều đó.
Khi đọc về cô đơn, tất cả những gì còn đọng lại trong mình là cô đơn thì khác cô độc. Mình không đến ỗi cô đơn nhưng chưa thể sống cô độc được. Rồi khi đọc cô đơn thì cứ mong chờ mãi để đến phần gắn bó, nhưng thực ra vấn đề trong 'gắn bó" dường như không phải là của mình. Tác giả nói nhiều về tình dục và những rắc rố
Oct 11, 2009 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: relationships
A very good book on relationships, about the continuous conflict between being alone and being with others, and also about having a healthy relationship with oneself. As the author shows, our relationship with ourselves is automatically reflected in our relationship with others.
Feb 25, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2014
If this is the only book you read this year you will have made an excellent choice.
Matthew Ng
Aug 20, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Reflective read on perceptions and motivation. the book touched on self perception, self projection unto others, others perception on self. the book argues that without healthy self perception, there can be no real intimacy. the other will only be consumed into the self, in an attempt to complete it. the result is a muddled we-self, which is no satisfactory for either party. differentiation, through solitude, is important.

The book also touched on desire. it covered sex as a pretext of desire, i
Feb 25, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: people wrestling to balance the need for relationship with the need to know and care for self
Much anxiety, anger, sadness and related dysfunctional thoughts and behaviors arise from an insufficiently clear sense of one's identity. Using refreshingly plain (non-clinical) language and a wealth of examples, Dowrick clarifies what it means to function as a well-formed individual maintaining a distinct sense of self while participating in healthy relationships with others.

I'm in my second rereading in twenty years and wonder why I haven't made reading it an annual tradition. There are many
Jonathan Solomon
Oct 31, 2018 rated it it was amazing
What an extraordinary book. This is one of those few books, when after reading you say "this book has changed the way I view the world". The emotional depth of this book and its many insights are still relevant today. Stephanie articulates very clearly the quandaries we can find ourselves in, and somehow provides a torch, like a guide, in how we may resolve and move on from difficult situations.
Warren Gossett
Mar 05, 2015 rated it really liked it
The author Stephanie Dowrick has written several books on creative writing, relationships, marriage and therapy. This books explores the various approaches to intimacy and solitude of current areas of psychotherapy. She is a publisher and has applied energetic curiosity to her London based research and her own experiences in psychoanalysis. I love the way she looks at many branches of psychotherapy. It is worth being as honest and reflective as you can to be self aware and to be aware and empath ...more
Charlane Brady
Apr 16, 2009 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I read the book in 1994 after a life-changing event and this book helped me understand intimacy.

Dowrick provides insight into relationships - with self, parents, partners and the public - and she had me evaluating my life without even realizing it. Which was nice. I realized I held the key.

The chapters flow well and are perfectly in sync.

"Without a reliable sense of self, relationships may feel dangerous: you could easily be overwhelmed, entrapped or even lost. Without a reliable sense of sel
May 26, 2015 rated it liked it
I think whoever you are and whatever you're thoughts and feelings about relationships or the lack thereof, this is an essential read. It is quite psychoanalytical, and I didn't feel it was written in the most straightforward way, or perhaps it was more that I was not able to understand it as straightforwardly as I'd have liked. I will need to read this again to fully absorb it!! That all said, it is one of the better books I've read for understanding relationships and I would definitely recommen ...more
Erin Kelley
Apr 08, 2013 rated it it was amazing
I'm better for having read this. It's a dense, slow read partly because of the effort required to process all the provocative ideas. Worth it, though, if you're in an introspective phase and ready to grow. It has academic and psychoanalytic elements alongside a personal and highly accessible writing style. It illuminated a better way of knowing and honoring boundaries and vulnerabilities in my relationships with others and with myself. I made a lot of marks on it's pages, noting the many wise pa ...more
Dec 05, 2007 is currently reading it
This one is going slowly. what a facinating area of study and the author is coming up with some intriguing evedince, but she's writing as though it's a school paper - a really long one at that and I find that I have to re-read paragraphs to understand it's full meaning. I'm also not that fond of her personal story which although is the reason for her research, it's not necessary to the concept of the book.
Oct 30, 2012 rated it it was amazing
I came across this book right before I went away for 2 weeks solo retreat. She is a brilliant writer a book that explores the importance of the balance of solitude and intimacy in life and how important it is to be comfortable with solitude and getting to know and love self to be successful in intimacy.
I am now reading another of hers. Highly recommend this author.
Kristine (fezabel)
Oct 19, 2008 rated it it was amazing
I was given this book as a Christmas gift the year I divorced my husband of 10 years. It's a difficult book to read, simply because it raises so many different issues that should be examined and thought about before moving on. Ms. Dowrick has written several excellent books and I'm very happy to have started with this one. Highly recommended.
Jun 13, 2009 rated it it was amazing
This is another dog-eared book that I return to often; particularly when I am feeling alone or feel that my relationships are feeling superficial. Check out this poem from the book, by Michael Leunig - "Sitting on the Fence"

'Come sit down beside me,' - I said to myself, - And although it doesn't make sense, - I held my own hand - As a small sign of trust - And together I sat on the fence.
Yvonne Cowell
Oct 05, 2008 rated it really liked it
excellant book ., learning about self and other through decisions made in life. looking for someone to fill the gaps when it is yourself that has the potential. solitude so valued and yet borders on loneliness , and the search for an intellectual life filled with love .and warmth ,humour and connection with someone. i know more about myself now.
Feb 09, 2013 rated it really liked it

I really enjoyed reading this book. She writes very well and objectively.

I found it interesting to read the experiences of other people and have an idea of their views on the subject.

Gives you food for thought, both in relation to yourselves and other people you know,including your own family members.
Caroline Gordon
Sep 20, 2011 rated it really liked it
Shelves: psychology
This did take me some time to get through but was well worth the effort. I never realised the importance of solitude in your life and how introspection helps you relate to others better. A life changing book.
Acacia Bernstein
Jan 08, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Anyone who wants to learn more about human nature
Recommended to Acacia by: Found it in a book store one lonley night
I know it sounds cheezy, but this book was awesome. It really is a very easy read, but helps you look at your self, and other people to realize how you can strengthen yourself and help other people do the same.
Jen Fumarolo
This is like Psych 101. Very informative if a bit clinical in presentation. But the overall theme is an important one: You have to love yourself before you can truly love another. Sub-theme: All our issues go back to childhood. Sorry moms and dads, but no pressure. Good luck to us all!
Jul 17, 2007 rated it really liked it
I hate self-help books about as much as I hate hummers; this, however, is a beautiful and passionately argued book about staying connected to who you are and what you want - all as a means to create a more peaceful, loving world.
Karen Clarke
Sep 17, 2011 rated it really liked it
Life changing, makes you think.
An excellent book, good consolation in lonely times. Dowrick is very sensible.
Jun 21, 2010 rated it liked it
i am in constant need of both. it is confusing. this book validated me.
Sep 04, 2013 rated it really liked it
I read this years ago, have now lost it and am re-buying it as it has more importance now. I am also reading simultaneously Anam Cara and the Road Less Trevelled
Anna Claire
600 words exploring intimacy and solitude. Basically until one is okay with self, one is no good relating to others. Interesting, well researched, the writer could have been more objective.
Natasha (Diarist) Holme
Apr 24, 2012 rated it did not like it
Shelves: advice
Sep 25, 2009 rated it really liked it
Shelves: read-in-japan
oh, me hurts.
oh, me will heal.
oh, it will be too much work.
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“How we feel about our own self, how well or little we know our own self, whether we feel alive inside, largely determine the quality of the time we spend alone, as well as the quality of the relationships we have with other people.” 14 likes
“Sound crazy? It may well be, but it is precisely in relationships of intimacy that your craziness (and mine) will be hardest to conceal. p.215” 12 likes
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