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Change:  Introduction to Personal Change | Facilitating Change | Selfhelp Books on Change

 

SELF-GUIDED CHANGE:
An Annotated Guide to Books for Midlife and Older Women
Evaluated in a Transtheoretical Stages of Change Model  

Prepared By:
Jean Ellzey, M.S.
Margaret Hellie Huyck, Ph.D.
 
Lorie Rosenblum, Ph.D., M.S.W.

Funded by the Office of Women's Health, Illinois Department of Public Health

August, 2001  

Books can be ordered through a link at the bottom of this page.

Why This Review and List?

This Guide provides a brief summary of the most established scientific model of individual change, and brief reviews of some of the more popular and potentially useful books written to guide personal change. We also provide suggestions for integrating the perspectives reviewed.

Any woman who feels that her life could be improved is in good company. There are hundreds of books aimed at women who would like to feel less burdened by problematic habits or more enhanced by insight. Many of these books promise that if we read them, we will change for the better. Unfortunately, just reading a book that promises change does not necessarily make it happen.

We believe that self-discovery and self-directed change are important. We know the research evidence: small choices that we make, every day, have a great influence on how healthy we are in mind, body, and spirit. We want to help women help themselves to make the choices that lead to better lives. We want to empower women to be as responsible as they can be for making the best choices, every day.

We have targeted resources for midlife and older women for several reasons. First, this Guide grows out of a grant from the Office of Women's Health of the Illinois Department of Public Health for "Promoting Mental Health in Midlife and Older Women Using a Stages of Change Model." This Guide is one of the products produced under this grant. As part of the grant, we conducted focus groups and workshops on personal change with midlife and older women; we draw upon those experiences in this review. Second, the grant project was a collaboration between researchers at the Institute of Psychology, Illinois Institute of Technology and OWL Illinois (The Older Women's League of Illinois); the common concern is identifying ways of helping midlife and older women gain more control over their own lives. Third, the three authors of this Guide are all midlife women, and OWL activists; we know about the special challenges and opportunities confronting women like us.

Tools for Change: The Transtheoretical or "Stages of Change" Model

We need the tools for change. There are models for understanding how we make choices and how we change to make better choices. One of the most interesting models is one developed by studying hundreds of people who have made significant life changes that have improved their health. The primary researcher has been James Prochaska, Ph.D., working with a number of other researchers over the last two decades. Most of the research has been funded by the National Institutes of Health (our premier federal agency that conducts and funds research).

The researchers who examined these individuals concluded that the process of change is very similar regardless of whether the person was trying to increase physical activity, modify addictive behaviors, get regular mammograms, or think more positive thoughts.

This model was called Transtheoretical because it applies regardless of whether a change is supported by a treatment that comes from a behavioral perspective (e.g., systematically rewarding desired behaviors), a humanistic perspective (assuming that the roots of wellness are within the individual), or a psychodynamic perspective (which assumes that unconscious conflicts underlie "irrational" behavior).

The scientists who developed the model emphasize that change is a process, often a long process. Individuals go through a series of five fairly distinct stages, beginning with the denial that anything needs to change, to contemplating some change, to preparing and taking action, and finally to maintaining the change. The crucial point is that individuals use somewhat different strategies to accomplish their changes, depending on where they are in the process.

This model of how people change is important because it is evidence based: that means that the conclusions have come out of many scientific studies of different individuals. What makes a study scientific has something to do with measurement: How do we know what behaviors have changed, and how much? It also has to do with sampling: Who are the people who were studied? How representative are they of other groups? Mostly, good science has to do with good reporting: Describing accurately just what information (data) was collected, how it was analyzed, and how the scientist reached their conclusions.

In the Stages of Change model, the conclusions are based not solely on personal experiences of the authors, or the small number of people seen in clinical practice by a particular therapist or people with whom they happen to have had a conversation about their experience. Each of the professional publications provides detailed information about what behaviors were measured, who was included in the study, and what differentiated the individuals who were successful in changing their behaviors from those who were not. The research program has been going on for two decades, with many different researchers testing the model for how well it helps them understand the process of change, and how well they can predict who will actually change and who will not.

An excellent guide to personal change is the book on the Stages of Change model written for lay readers by three of the researchers: James Prochaska, John Norcross, and Carlo DiClemente. We strongly recommend this book to anyone interested in personal change -- for yourself, or to help others change. We will use it as the standard by which we assess the other self-help books.

James Prochaska, Ph.D., John Norcross, Ph.D., Carlo DiClemente, Ph.D. (1994) Changing for Good: A Revolutionary Six-Stage Program for Overcoming Bad Habits and Moving Your Life Positively Forward. Avon Self-Help Books. (paperback, $12.50)

This book describes the process of developing the model (e.g. the sciencific evidence base), the processes which individuals who were successful in making changes used to help them along, and the stages that they identified. We have summarized the strategies and stages below.

Processes Promoting Change. Prochaska and his colleagues (1994) described nine processes that people engage in when they attempt to modify their behaviors. These include both covert (less conscious) and overt (conscious) activities and experiences. The processes were identified by asking people how they changed, what helped and what made change more difficult. Below we list the strategies, and illustrate them with statements made by midlife and older women who participated in focus groups and "Changing for Good" Workshops conducted as part of our project.

1. Consciousness Raising: Increase in knowledge about the self or the problem. Effort by the individual to seek new information and to gain understanding and feedback about the problem behavior. May include becoming aware of self-defeating defenses that get in our way of making change, and/or developing an awareness of positive possibilities.

2. Emotional arousal: Experiencing and expressing feeling about the problem behavior and potential solution. Often sudden emotional experience related to the problem. As one woman reported, "When I realized my mother and my brother died of a condition I have, it was a real wake-up call to do something different."

3. Social Liberation: Any new alternatives that the external environment can give which will help to begin or continue the change. Many of the women identified the focus groups and workshops as providing support for exploring personal change in an accepting, supportive environment.

4. Helping Relationships: Trusting, accepting and utilizing the support of caring others during attempts to change. These are crucial to most self-changers. The most helpful relationships vary with the stage of change the potential "changer" is in. Walking with a friend, exploring desired changes with other women, and making a pact to work on a particular change with someone else were all mentioned as helpful actions.

5. Self-reevaluation: Emotional and cognitive reappraisal of values by the individual with respect to the problem behavior. . "I think I would feel more in control of my life and better about myself if I could clean up the clutter on my desk" is a good example of a seeing the link between a "trivial" problem and an underlying important sense of self.

6. Commitment: Choice and commitment to change, including belief in the ability to change Some women reported, "I'm too old to change" and they probably will not change.

7. Countering: Substitution of alternatives (e.g, more healthy responses) for the problem behavior. The woman who reported that she had begun to substitute a piece of fruit for a brownie when she was feeling tired and depleted was using countering.

8. Environmental control: Restructuring the external environment or control of situations and other causes that trigger the problem behavior. Some women learned to avoid friends who indulged in negative, hopeless thinking and seek out those who were more optimistic.

9. Reinforcement Management: Rewarding oneself or being rewarded by others for making changes.

For each stage, the researchers identified the kinds of behaviors of others that are helpful and those which are well-intentioned but ineffective. For example, nagging someone to change before they are interested in considering change actually increases resistance! The more helpful approach for someone who is considering change is to emphathize with the difficulty of changing, and to applaud the fact that they are even thinking about such a challenging action.

Stages of Change. Prochaska and his colleagues identified separate stages individuals go through as they change. Their 1994 book lists six stages; since then they usually condense the last two stages into a general Maintenance stage. Some models use four stages, condensing the Contemplation and Preparation stages.

1. Precontemplation C Resisting Change

a. Rarely take responsibility for negative consequences of their actions

b. Change sponsored by social/ environmental pressures, consciousness raising, becoming aware of defenses

c. Support: NOT pushing into action, nagging, giving up, enabling (making excuses for person, and helping person avoid consequences of actions)

d. Support: YES to listening about problem, accurate feedback on defenses, self-help groups, making allies with those also interested in change

2. Contemplation C Change on the Horizon

a. Want to change C but ambivalent; prefer familiar to better

b. Defenses: search for absolute certainty; waiting for magic moment; wishful thinking; premature action (leading to failure)

c. Change sponsored by emotional arousal C including focus on negative aspects of undesirable behavior; getting informed about consequences of behavior; defining personal goals; identifying sequences leading to undesirable behaviors; balancing negative views of present self and positive images of future self

d. Support: YES for empathy (about difficulty of change and desire to change) and warmth (like you no matter how you do)

e. NOT Helpful: Push to premature action; false confidence (about change); attaching conditions to support (change or else)

3. Preparation C Getting Ready

a. Continue reevaluation of self and problem; look increasingly toward future self; focus on finding most suitable action

b. Useful techniques: Turn away from old behavior; Make Change a priority

c. Positive consequences of change must outweigh negative to proceed

d. Support: Provide help and give specific tips on what is helpful; support Pros of change

4. Action C Time to Move  

a. Focus on control, countering and reward C substituting healthy responses for problem behaviors, changing the environmental situations, rewarding change; contracting

b. Gradually shape behavior toward desired direction C reinforce each step

c. Helping Relationships Crucial: ask for support, put it in writing, elicit praise

5. Maintenance C Staying There

a. Requires: sustained long-term effort & revised lifestyle

b. Internal challenges related to lapses: overconfidence, daily temptation, self-blame

c. Helping relationships crucial C especially in crisis that can lead to relapse

Selecting and Evaluating Self-Help Books

Our review team examined books which have been useful to women enrolled in classes or small-groups designed to help women deal with change; books which are on the current best-seller lists of personal change books; and books which seemed appropriate in our visits to bookstores and websites. This is not, thus, a strictly scientific or systematic sampling of books.

At least two of us read each of the books, evaluated it, and compared our assessments. Our composite evaluation is reflected in the summary below.

We constructed an evaluation form on which we noted 1) the basis of the author's expertise; 2) whether the book was directed at midlife and older women, all women, or all adults; 3) whether the book used a stages of change model explicitly or implicitly; 3) what stages of change seems most "targeted" by the book; 4) main theme; 5) good points; and 6) problems with the book as a guide to self help for midlife and older women.

Self-Help Books for Early-Stage Changers

Most of the books we reviewed are aimed at people who are thinking at least vaguely about personal change (or else they would not be reading the book), but may be quite early in the process.

Our evaluation includes an assessment of target audience, and what stages and processes are considered in the book. (Prices are approximate; many are available in used book stores or on line from used-book dealers. All should be available, though some are easier to find.)

Books are listed in alphabetical order by the author's last name. Each of these books is worth recommending to our readers. We hope our comments will help you select the ones that might be most appealing and helpful to you!

Caroline Bird (1995). Lives of Our Own: Secrets of Salty Old Women. Houghton-Mifflin. Hardcover $22.95

Bird offers women in the Second Half of their lives a Second Chance to break the "self-defeating silence about independent older women," and to choose different roles and life styles after age 50. By giving exciting illustrations of ordinary and unordinary women, she encourages women to stop being invisible, maybe depressed, as older women, to look reality in the face, to risk change, and to invent satisfying new lives for themselves after spending years in the traditional roles of wives and mothers. One appealing part of the book is the appendix, "An Encyclopedia of Salty Secrets," strategies for coping with the little hassles of everyday life. Informative, and fun!

Bird is the author of ten books, including the classic Born Female.

For: Women over 50

Stages: Precontemplation, Contemplation and Preparation

Processes: Good Consciousness Raising, Emotional Arousal (EA), and S-R.

Sarah Ban Breathnach (1998). Something More: Excavating Your Authentic Self. Warner Books. $20.00

Breathnach uses the metaphor of archeology to describe a personal search for a sense of authentic self. Her thesis is that one's authentic self is to be found by returning to a pre-adolescent childhood, before social expectations mute one's potential. It is, thus, rooted in a humanistic psychology tradition, with the assumption that the usual accomplishments of adult life are not enough; self actualization is the only source of peace and fulfillment. She offers many inspirational vignettes, and directions for using a self discovery journal. Draws on other inspirational works, personal experience, and anecdotes.

For: Relatively advantaged women

Stages: Precontemplation, contemplation, some preparation; no explicit stage model

Processes: Consciousness raising; emotional arousal; self-reevaluation

Kathleen Brehoney, Ph.D. (1966) Awakening at Midlife: Realizing Your Potential for Growth and Change. New York: Riverhead Books, $14.00

Brehoney has given an excellent description, well-illustrated and insightful, of the midlife transition, and an introduction to the details of Jungian theory. Jungian theory assumes the importance of unconscious processes, and the power of universal "archetypal" meanings that are built into human evolution. She provides a useful analysis of the important aspects of relationship, dreams, self-expression, spiritual growth, "living in the body," and understanding/healing others. The stories are inspirational about the potential for growth, but very explicit about the pain/agony of making change. Good chapter on being the "accompanying person" for someone undergoing midlife reassessment. A theoretical book that requires close reading. Cites empirical research, but not very critically. Good list of resources.

Brehoney has a Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology, a clinical practice of 13 years, specializing in periods of transitional development, with Jungian theory.

For: Very focused on midlife women; probably not as appealing for older or younger women, or those who are interested in more modest changes. Women attracted to Jungian theory.

Stages: Precontemplation, Contemplation, and Preparation; main stage focus is the assumption that midlife reassessment is normal and probably inevitable.

Processes: Overlap with Prochaska processes.

William Bridges, Ph.D. (1980) Transitions: Making Sense of Life's Changes. Addison-Wesley Publishing, $15.00

Using mythology, psychology and literary excerpts, Bridges depicts people in the midst of change, going through the process of transition, with all the pain, confusion, disenchantment, etc. that can occur before any "new beginnings." It could be reassuring to the reader that there are better times ahead, though one must confront one's own reality first, before even seeing beyond the "neutral zone," his term for the middle period between "endings" and "new beginnings."

As men and women consider their lives and look to make change, this classic has its own three stages in the Transition Process: Endings, Neutral Zone, and New Beginnings. He distinguishes between making a change, and being in the transition process dealing with change. For him, in Contemplation, one must identify the endings, in order to make room for new beginnings after a change. Part of the Preparation stage needs to be allowing the confusion and feelings in the neutral zone to be explored and felt before the reader is free to move forward to action.

Bridges is a human development writer, lecturer and consultant. Teaches transitions seminars.

For: Adult men and women

Stages: Contemplation, Preparation.

Processes: Consciousness raising, self-reevaluation

Paula Payne Hardin, Ph.D. (1992). What Are Your Doing With the Rest of Your Life? Choices in Midlife. $12.95.

Longevity now allows women to use the power and skills of middle and older years in being a force for good in whatever lifestyle they choose. Hardin lays out "The Seven Steps of Choice and Change," which include 1) growing discomfort with what is, 2) realization of a need to choose, 3) checking out options, 4) counting the cost, 5) awareness of resistances, 6) practice, and 7) enjoying long term rewards. In describing "maturing generativity" she lists activities that can help a midlife or older woman consider some of the endings in her life and make a transition to possible new beginnings. Includes religious references. Readable and encourages exploration.

Dr. Hardin has applicable personal experience, as well as research and clinical experience as founder and director of a midlife consulting center.

For: Midlife and older women

Stages: Precontemplation, Contemplation, Preparation; acknowledges Maintenance

Strategies: Consciousness raising, Emotional arousal, Self reevaluation; Commitment; Helping Relationships; Reward

Susan Jeffers, Ph.D. (1987) Feel the Fear and Do It Anyway. New York: Fawcett Columbine, paperback $14.00

Fear keeps us from experiencing life the way we want to. Fear never goes away as long as we grow, but the only way to deal with the fear is to do what is feared and overcome helplessness. Jeffers is clear and succinct with examples and exercises that allow the reader to identify familiar patterns, like resistance to change, or a mindset of being a victim, or being a "chatterbox" with negative thoughts and energy. The book is useful for contemplating, planning, and making meaningful change. She provides exercises to help them move from "pain to power" in the way they self-talk and express themselves. Jeffers' writing helps women move ahead and change, even without the use of helping relationships and other processes. One of the most popular books with women who seek out courses and groups to support personal change.

Jeffers has a PhD in Psychology; personal experience with cancer, divorce, return to school, parenting. She is a teacher as well as facilitator of "Fearbusting" workshops.

For: Women of all ages.

Stages: Recognizes change as process. Useful for Precontemplation, Contemplation, Preparation and Action.

Strategies: Consciousness raising (particularly the power of fear); emotional arousal; self reevaluation

Spencer Johnson, M.D. (1998). Who Moved My Cheese? New York: Putnam/s Sons, $19.95

In a delightful, fast-reading book Johnson introduces the reader to four different ways of dealing with unexpected change. The four little characters: two little mice, named Sniff and Scurry, and two little people named Hem and Haw, use their old familiar patterns to deal with stress and change, when their regular cheese source disappears. The two little mice don't do much contemplation or planning for successful change of the cheese supply, but are able to explore their options and find it anyway. Hem is definitely "stuck" and can't risk any kind of change even though he is very hungry. The little character Haw is very reluctant to become proactive, but finally imagines what it might be like to hunt and find cheese, even a variety of cheese. So, he takes courage and breaks his old "holding" pattern, takes a gigantic leap, searches for cheese, and is successful. Easy read.

Dr. Johnson is an internationally best-selling author whose books are often featured in the media and are available in twenty-six languages.

For: Men and women who want some fun, and also want to see how they deal with unexpected change in their own lives.

Stages: Precontemplation, Contemplation, Preparation

Processes: Good on consciousness raising ("Am I resisting awareness of what is changing around me?"), self evaluation ("What could I risk by remaining ignorant?"). Could move a person one step from risk-avoiding passivity toward proactivity.

Charlotte Davis Kasl, Ph.D. (1992) Many Roads, One Journey: Moving Beyond the 12 Steps. HarperCollins. $13.60

Kasl supports people who want to follow or create new models for healing--from addictions, abuse, distress of many kinds--perhaps using the 12-step-program to start with, but going beyond that to developing their own empowerment/discovery model. Positive and hopeful. She goes beyond individual change and finding one's own road on the healing journey, suggesting that addictions and dependency are reinforced through social inequities that are pervasive in our culture and need to be changed. She brings a wide range of perspectives, a richness, to the book. It is practical, and life-affirming, giving a wholistic approach that is expansive, exciting, creative, and empowering.

For: Men and women on the road from dependency to healthy, balanced empowerment

Stages: Precontemplation, Contemplation, Preparation, Action, Maintanance

Processes: All those described by Prochaska are used here.

Phillip McGraw, Ph.D. (1999). Life?s Strategies: Doing What Works, Doing What Matters. Hyperion, $12.95

Masterfully done, McGraw describes Ten Laws of Life, such as "You cannot change what you do not acknowledge," or "Life is managed; it is not cured." He includes one well-written chapter on each law and then presents The Seven-Step Strategy, a very specific plan for acquiring one's goals. For a person interested in taking steps toward personal change, and then taking action and maintaining that action, McGraw's book gives exercises and excellent resources.

Dr. McGraw is a professional psychologist, working in the field of human functioning and strategic life planning, who appears regularly on The Oprah Winfrey Show.

Also by Dr. McGraw, is the Relationship Rescue Workbook, $13.95. This book shows you how to create what you want and need in your relationships, with a series of thought-provoking exercises. Great book to help readers turn their relationships around.

For: Adults who are seriously interested in personal change

Stages: Pre-contemplation; Contemplation; Preparation; Action

Processes: Consciousness raising (becoming aware of defenses); Self-reevaluation; Commitment; Environmental control; Helping relationships.

Stephanie Marston, M.S. (2001). If Not Now, When? Reclaiming Ourselves at Midlife.

Warner Books, $18.95

Midlife is a wakeup call. The anecdotes are relevant to middle-class women who are ready to do some re-evaluation as they enter another transitional stage. The time is right, she thinks, for cleaning out some old patterns that don't work, for feeling more freedom, and discovering new aspects of one's identity. Both struggles and triumphs are well-documented so the reader can find out more about herself, her relationships, and her midlife questing. Minimal use of empirical research; draws more on clinical experiences, anecdotal evidence, and personal experience. Assumptions are rooted in Jungian psychology, including the desirability and inevitability of midlife reassessment. Feminist point of view without excluding men; aimed at women trying to accommodate self-development within relationships.

Marston is a licensed marriage, family and child counselor, who specializes in women and midlife.

For: Midlife and older women

Stages: Pre-contemplation: gives "permission" to change; Contemplation

Processes: Consciousness raising, emotional arousal, self-reevaluation

Cheryl Richardson (2000). Life Makeovers. Broadway Books, $21.95

Richardson proposes gradual, committed, personal change: "Improve your life one week at a time." Within each chapter is a "Take Action Challenge," encouraging such things as solitude for reflection, looking honestly at your current reality, self-care for busy midlifers who are looking for more balance and harmony, and identifying your chosen contribution to others and to life. The author suggests many resources for a woman to improve the quality of her own life and possibly the lives of those around her as well.

Richardson is a Certified Master Coach

For: Younger and midlife women

Stages: Precontemplation and Contemplation

Processes: Consciousness raising and reevaluation

Barbara Sher (1994). I Could Do Anything if I Only Knew What It Was. Dell Paperback. $11.95.

A good book for those who don't know what they want to be when they grow up. Sher explores fourteen very different mindsets and conflicts familiar to women exploring second jobs or careers. She believes every woman can discover richly rewarding, meaningful work. The book has useful exercises and practical advice based on her personal experience, starting with being very poor and jobless. Useful as a life-changing sourcebook.

AND

Barbara Sher (1998). It?s Only Too Late If You Don?t Start Now: How to Create Your Second Life at Any Age. Dell Paperback, $12.95

Builds on the earlier book, which was directed more at career explorations for women, to focus more broadly on the process of change at midlife. Draws on clinical experience and anecdotes of women and men to illustrate potentials for change after age 40. The first section targets "Your First Life"; the second section addresses "Reclaiming Your Original Self: Your Second Life." Many exercises, using strategies useful in promoting change.

Sher is a therapist and well-known career counselor.

For: Midlife and older adults

Stages: Precontemplation; Contemplation; Preparation

Processes: Consciousness raising, self reevaluation

 

EXPANDING ON THE "STAGES OF CHANGE" MODEL

While the Prochaska model is extremely useful for behavior change, it is perhaps limited in dealing with the kind of change we term "transformation." This kind of spiritual or psychological change often has less to do with behavior than with attitudes and perceptions. It may be preceded by a period of suffering or a sense of emptiness, and involves unconscious process. This is the kind of experience described by a number of our authors who more or less overtly derive their ideas from Jungian theory. Their directives seem to belong to the Contemplation and Preparation stages, and to lead to a much more internalized Action phase.

Older women, as compared with mid-life women, may find it difficult or unnecessary to execute the kind of lifestyle behavior changes that the Stages of Change model promotes. However, they may indeed want to work on enriching their inner lives. This was a common theme in our focus groups and workshops.

Both older and mid-life women, however, may suffer from some of the addictive behaviors that stand in the way of essential change. The Stages of Change model has proven extremely effective in modifying these behaviors. Indeed, a review of the research cited by Prochaska et al. reveals that the successful self-changers they studied had specific behavior problems (such as smoking, weight gain, insufficient exercise).

The Stages of Change model may ultimately be applicable to "transformation." There is, as yet, no strong research base to support this hypothesis, but our limited experience with midlife and older women suggests that it may be a useful perspective to understand these kinds of changes. Many of the midlife and older women we worked with in the "Changing for Good" workshops did not come with a specific personal change in mind, though they were open to exploring the general issues of change and many had a feeling that they could improve their lives. The focus groups and the workshops were valuable opportunities for consciousness raising and self-reevaluation; for some, they provided the social support needed to think seriously about personal change.


ABOUT THE AUTHORS

Jean Ellzey, M.S.

After being a homemaker for 24 years, I decided I needed more mental stimulation and a chance to contribute something outside the home. I didn't know what! After receiving my M.S. in Counseling Psychology in the mid-'70's I was hired to direct the Returning Woman's Program at a community college. I started counseling and teaching women who were primarily homemakers. As the years have gone by, I've continued teaching the same type of course, Human Potential, New Directions for Women, or Women in Transition. The clientele for that course is totally different now; they are no longer homemakers, but women "working outside the home for pay." Some problems they bring are similar; many are different. But the effects of change and transition in their lives are the same in 2001 as in 1976.

I continue to teach "Women in Transition" part-time at College of DuPage, I facilitate support groups for women, and I do one-to-one consultations, or "Tutorials in Transition." I enjoy giving presentations on the one absolute in life: CHANGE.

Contact me at (708/386-9621) or JeanGLZ@aol.com

Margaret Hellie Huyck, Ph.D.

I began my study of middle and later life at the University of Chicago Committee of Human Development about 40 years ago; adult development was the exciting uncharted territory! I am currently a Professor in the Institute of Psychology at Illinois Institute of Psychology. I have published two books about adult development and aging, and share what I know about family relations, personal development, and related issues with many different groups. My primary research focuses on adult parent-child relations, midlife marriage relationships, and gender identity styles. I also do program evaluation research, currently with programs designed to help families who provide care for older persons. For over a decade I have been an activist with OWL, the organization that serves as "the voice of midlife and older women." My favorite activities involve newsletter (and now website) editing for OWL Illinois, though I have also served as President of OWL-Illinois. I live in the Hyde Park neighborhood of Chicago with my husband (Tom); our daughters, Liz and Karin, are nicely launched into adulthood so I can enjoy this phase of life to the maximum.

Contact information: email MHHuyck@aol.com, Phone: 773-667-3649; Fax: 773-667-1419
Institute of Psychology, Illinois Institute of Technology, Chicago, IL 60616

Lorie Rosenblum, Ph.D., MSW.

I am still working on my transformations. I became a Social Worker at midlife, after my career as an English professor had reached a dead end. I find my second career as challenging and rewarding as the first, and I see remarkable continuities between the two. Instead of reading stories, I listen to them, and build on narrative theory to practice narrative therapy. I've taught and written about the power of "illness stories," and lectured on various topics, including a slide presentation, "Women Artists Looking at Women's Bodies." I value collaborative writing, and am always on the look-out for a co-author. I am also a founding member of the Hyde Park OWL chapter, and I enjoy turning "meetings" into "groups."

Contact information: email dolrosen @aol.com. Phone: 773-643-4347, home; 708-660-2825, work.


 Project Funded by the Illinois Department of Public Health
Office of Women's Health  

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Last Updated September 3, 2001