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Finding Your Voice: A Woman's Guide to Using Self-Talk for Fulfilling Relationships, Work, and Life: Preface

Finding Your Voice began a few years ago, when we seven psychologists walked out on a dull presentation at a winter conference, deciding that sitting in the sun beside the pool and talking was a far better use of our time. We discovered in the course of that talk that we were a group of presidents, each of us having been elected head of a national professional association. We talked about our goals, the significance of our work, the value of our friendships, and what paths might be desirable in the future. Our conversation that afternoon was personal, intense, and meaningful to each of us. We became aware of a process of self-talk—a clarifying of each of our internal conversations—followed by respectful sharing and listening to one another. We wondered how to use this experience, and what kind of project might emerge from it.

Sharing our backgrounds, here's what we found. Our areas of specialization include children; family therapy; health and fitness; relationship issues; domestic violence; depression; women and power; eating disorders; adolescent development; breast cancer; health psychology; sexual assault, harassment, and exploitation; and the psychology of women. Among us, we have authored or coauthored over two dozen books and counseled more than fifty thousand clients. We work or have worked in universities, medical schools, hospitals, public schools, courtrooms, community advocacy groups, and our own independent practices.

Regarding our personal lives, we've been married, some of us have divorced, and some of us have remarried. We've raised eighteen children and have seventeen grandchildren. We've coped with our own serious illnesses and with the illness or death of a family member. We've been poor and we've had money. We have traveled around the world, learning about women's lives in other cultures.

In short, as professionals and as women we have confronted and continue to confront the challenges and choices of women's lives in this century. And so Finding Your Voice began to take root.

One more thing: While developing the ideas for this book—gathering in our homes for weekend meetings or after conferences, in New Yersey, Washington, New York, California, and Mexico; putting all of our talk on tape; and transcribing the tapes—we wanted to have fun. We wished to enjoy one another's company, even as we learned more about ourselves as individuals. It is our hope that you too, alone and with others, will find the pleasure and excitement in the journey of self-discovery that follows.

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