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Mental Disorders

by Mary Pipher, Ph.D.
Ballantine Books, 1995
Review by John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on Mar 11th 1996

Reviving Ophelia Described by many as a must-read, especially if you have an adolescent or teenage daughter, I highly recommend it. Dr. Pipher accurately and painstakingly recounts the recollections of young women she has seen in her clinical psychology practice. The stories most often revolve around high-risk behavior, while touching upon common themes and topics throughout. These range from the usual parental issues of mom and dad, but also on issues such as divorce, drug use, body-image (need to be thin), sex, and violence.

 The author does an excellent job of detailing how a multitude of important but often-overlooked factors lead to these behaviors and problems in young women. These include family dynamics, the environment in which the child is raised, the societal impact of our current culture. Naturally she offers some suggestions on how to improve the raising of our daughters to avoid some of these pains and heartaches in the future. These include the need for parental oversight and enforcement of proper limits with their children, while still allowing the young woman the feeling of being in control of their lives and the direction they take. The author points out that everything parents do is a lesson in their child's upbringing, especially with adolescent and young women.

 Many women who grew up to be adults will read this book and think, "Hey, I wasn't the only one who felt that way or experienced it like that!" It's an eye-opening and sometimes-touching recounting of personal stories which are bound to make the author's case. Eloquent and well-written.