Jean Baker Miller’s pioneering work, Toward a New Psychology of Women Beacon Press, 1976) focused on how issues of difference, power, and inequality (dominance/subordination) play out in all relationships, and on implications for human growth and development, particularly in women.
Recognizing that there was little positive language in psychology to describe women’s experiences of themselves and their relationships, she set as her task “to begin a description of women’s strengths, and to account for the reasons they went unrecognized” (Miller, 1976, forward). Through this, she believed, a new framework for understanding both women and men could emerge. As Miller introduced and explored such concepts as “authenticity through connection,” “power with, rather than power over,” and “waging good conflict,” she conceptualized how women’s ways of operating in relationship might hold potential for more cooperative, affiliative ways of living for us all.
The book has been called a feminist classic that “did nothing less than alter the course of gender psychology” (Psychology Today). It has been translated into 20 languages and has sold thousands of copies. It served as the foundation for Relational Cultural Theory, which emphasizes the centrality of relationships and connection in mental health.
– Submitted by Myriam Barenbaum, LCSW-R (3.30.21)