Confidante or stranger, partner in crime or scapegoat, soldier or rival, defender or accuser, button-pusher or avoider, teacher or protégé, peacekeeper or provoker — the rapport between sisters evokes a rich and diverse tapestry of emotions and experiences.
Weaved through a common history of joys, sorrows, triumphs, secrets, laughter, Kodak moments, and family feuds, the sanguine bond known as sisterhood displays a multitude of incarnations. Those who cherish and prize this unique relationship might characterize it as a “very intimate meshing of heart, soul and the mystical cords of memory.”
Notwithstanding a wide personal spectrum running from life-affirming, empowering, and enlightening to complex, conflictual and riddled with unresolved issues, the sister relationship has ironically received little attention in the print media. An instructive and engaging new book penned by Key Biscayne resident and gifted therapist Robin Raina Benjamin and Cornell University instructor Dr. Jan Roberson is poised to become the one-stop resource on the colorful and multi-layered emotional landscape known as sisterhood.
Quoting Nobel Prize and Pulitzer Prize winner Toni Morrison, Benjamin observes that “a sister can be seen as someone who is both ourselves and very much not ourselves — a special kind of double.”
Falling under the rubric of self-help and personal discovery, the authors’ much-anticipated page-turner will illustrate both the positive and negative aspects of this intimate bond.
“Furthermore, it will take the next step that most books skip and that is how to improve the relationship that the sisters currently experience,” explained Benjamin, a soft-spoken and devoted psychoanalyst and psychotherapist with over 19 years of experience in the field.
Calling all sisters, the co-authors invite females on the island to contribute anecdotes about their sister relationships — celebratory or disheartening — their wishes and things they did that improved their relationships.
“All ages are welcome to respond and to be featured anonymously or credited in this work in progress,” said Benjamin, who has a thriving practice on Key Biscayne, where she provides consultations to clients of ages ranging from 10 years through adulthood.
Born and raised in New York, she graduated with a Master of Social Work from New York University and is a Certified and Licensed Psychoanalyst through the Center for Modern Psychoanalytic Studies in New York City.
“My rigorous and lengthy training prepared me to work with every type of heartache both within oneself and in relationship to others,” noted Benjamin, who utilizes a therapeutic approach that is modern and humanist.
When Benjamin first moved to Key Biscayne, she continued commuting to New York to see patients every other week. Codirector of the New Center for Advanced Psychotherapy Studies, she still maintains her practice in the Big Apple, treating her clients mostly by phone and supervising the therapists onsite every six weeks.
It was in August of this year that Benjamin crossed paths with her writing partner, Dr. Roberson. Benjamin had been planning to spend a week at a retreat in Desert Palm Springs.
“I had to postpone the trip for a week, which turned out to be fortuitous,” she said. “This miraculous site, once a sacred land of the American Indians, has these wonderful hot spring mineral pools that people float around in,” Benjamin said.
Coincidentally, Dr. Roberson expressed her “desire to embark on a creative project and interest in writing a research article on the relationship between sisters,” said Benjamin, who listened and offered her feedback. “The bond between two sisters is a very precious, valuable and important one. As with all interpersonal relationships, family relationships in particular can be thorny, perplexing, or intricate.”
The idea of writing a book about the sister relationship had been, for many years, brewing in the mind of Dr. Roberson, who is the author of Emails and Artichokes: 20 Ways To Impress The Boss With Your Knowledge and Professionalism and has four sisters.
For Benjamin, who could not “imagine being in this world without” her sisters, the topic held a special place in her heart. Before long, Roberson’s article blossomed into a book, with the latter inviting Benjamin to coauthor it.
Among the epic themes to be addressed in the upcoming book are the strength and uniqueness of the sister bond, the relationship “bumps” and roadblocks encountered along the way, approaches to mend or improve the relationship, and the life-changing rewards of healing and growing the relationship.
Benjamin and Roberson, who are in the process of researching and writing, are interested in “all the ways that women have experienced the relationship with their sisters and what they may hope for. The book is geared towards helping sisters heal or release past issues, modify current patterns of interactions that are problematic, and fortify the existing sister bond through an increased trust and communication. Ultimately, the authors hope to inspire female siblings to “bring more love into their lives and into the world.”
Individuals interested in contributing thoughts or stories about their sister relationship can call Benjamin or send email to her to request a questionnaire or to discuss what they would like to write.
Benjamin, whose office is located at 240 Crandon Blvd., Suite 288, may be contacted at 305-586-6755 or firstname.lastname@example.org. For more information about Benjamin visit www.keybiscaynemiamipsychotherapist.com or www.robinrainabenjamin.com