The Heart of Female Same-Sex Attraction
The fruit of years of training, research and counseling experience, Janelle Hallman has drawn together a comprehensive resource for those who are interested in understanding and counseling women in conflict with same sex attraction. In this ground-breaking work, Hallman sets forth the unique dimensions of struggle that women experience through the presentation of research, interviews and clinical experience. This is an indispensable guide for understanding and a manual for counseling adult women seeking to "mature in giving and receiving love in all of [their] relationships, and no longer be restricted by destructive relational patterns."
From the Author
Why did you decide to write The Heart of Female Same-Sex Attraction?
Janelle Hallman: Because I found myself deeply involved in the lives of many Christian friends who had same-sex attraction, during the late eighties and early nineties I devoured just about every book out there on homosexuality and gender. However, almost everything I could find was for and about men. I could see that much of the material didn't apply to women. Neither was there a clinical book that was understandable for the average counselor who hadn't been trained in psychoanalytic literature. We (my friends and I) wanted to gain a deeper psychological and theological understanding related to people?s diverse experience of sexual attractions and sexual and gender identities. I knew that when I started my counseling practice in the mid-nineties, which was primarily focused on women with same-sex attraction, I would basically have to "learn as I went," or in other words, invite my clients to teach me.
There simply was no published framework from which to practice. Even back then I thought that it might be a possibility that I would be the one to write a book. I knew I loved research and certainly teaching and was therefore able to condense complicated material and organize it in a way that people could understand. But I set this thought aside so that I could focus on simply learning how to counsel women with same-sex attraction.
After contacting all of the other female therapists and a few male therapists specializing in this field, it was determined that no one else wanted to undertake the ultimate task of developing a manuscript, but many said they would support my efforts. So in 2004, I began the process by interviewing over fifty sexual minority women, 10 or so mothers of lesbian daughters, and several somewhat seasoned professionals who also regularly worked with faith-based sexual minority individuals. I then started mapping out an outline for the book.
The Heart of Female Same-Sex Attraction is especially important not only because nothing else exists for clinicians or for pastoral counselors in helping Christian women with same-sex attraction, but also because these women struggle with trust. Many have been wounded and retraumatized by insensitive or ill-informed counselors and pastors. I have a great passion to protect these women by educating their helpers. Hopefully, the misunderstandings and presumptions on the part of helpers and caretakers will begin to be eliminated due to this publication.
"Janelle Hallman is uniquely qualified to write this book; she is gifted with empathy and high attunement to her same-sex attracted clients. Our profession has long been silent about how to proceed with clients who do not accept lesbianism as who they really are. This new work is therefore must-reading for therapists who truly respect client autonomy and diversity."
"Profound and practical. The Heart of Female Same-Sex Attraction is an essential tool for any Christian therapist who wants to serve women with same-sex attraction truthfully. The book bears the mark of one who has entered into the heart of the matter through years of thoughtful, loving service. Janelle has gentle authority to guide us as we help women to exercise the dignity of their choice."
"Much has been written about male homosexuality, very little about female homosexuality. Janelle Hallman has been a pioneer in this underexplored field. Her wisdom and keen insight flow from an obvious and deep love for the women she has had the honor of serving over many years. The Heart of Female Same-Sex Attraction will help all who read it to understand and love the precious women who experience same-sex attraction. I highly recommend it."
"It is rare to find such a valuable resource as Janelle's The Heart of Female Same-Sex Attraction. Prayerfully written and yet professionally thorough, Janelle demonstrates a special ability to address these complex matters in an accessible manner. Powerful narratives are deftly woven through comprehensive research and years of practical experience for maximum connection and impact. Therapists, pastoral counselors, mentors, mothers, and, most significantly, women wrestling with sexual identity and emotionally dependent patterns will find a gold mine in this book. It sets a new standard in this area of therapy and ministry."
"I love books which combine the insights of professional training with the hard-earned lessons of personal experience. You are holding such a book. Over the years, Janelle Hallman has earned widespread respect among her colleagues for her effective ministry to women seeking Christ's freedom in the midst of their lesbian struggles. This book will be a helpful resource for all who seek deeper effectiveness in this area of ministry."
"What an incredibly valuable resource for professionals and nonprofessionals--and so engaging! Both the woman who is in conflict or confusion about her sexuality and the professional working with her will find an accepting spirit that dismantles shame and will discover hope that empowers healing. Janelle writes with comprehensive understanding, realistic expectations, professional competence, respectful compassion and unconditional love--all based on biblical principles. The Heart of Female Same-Sex Attraction is certain to help women move from conflictual entrapment to true freedom."
The book does fill a void in the literature as a resource for females who experience unwanted same-sex attraction.
If you want to walk alongside a woman who struggles with same-sex attraction, you will find Janelle's book a great tool to help you.
If you are a professional therapist or counselor, this book was written for you, but it can also be a useful resource for laymen or youth workers who are wading into the difficult world of understanding women with SSA.
Part One: The Building Blocks: Understanding Their Stories
1. The Women and Their Right to Choose
2. The Therapist and Professional Competency
3. Missing a "Home": Attachment and Self
4. Lost in Confusion: Gender Nonconformity and Socialization
5. Looking for Home: Depending on You for Me
Part Two: The Work of Restoration: Leading Them Home
6. Securing the Foundation: Acceptance and Attunement
7. Rebuilding on a Corrective Relationship: Trust and Empathy
8. Four Basic Blueprints: Understanding the Various Profiles
9. Discovering Her Own Home: Opening Doors to Healthy Intimacy
10. Leaving the Home of Another: Dealing with Same-Sex Attractions
11. Forgotten Rooms: Transference and Countertransference
12. Finding the Feminine Within
13. Venturing Out: The World of Men and Closure
Appendix A: Group Therapy
Appendix B: Male Therapists