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Suryani uses two case studies from her own practice as a psychologist to support her
views. Since divorce, as Suryani explains, is legal but frowned upon and results in many
confusing family dynamics and problems for the woman and her own biological family, her
approach to counseling families has been overwhelmingly one of working toward resolution.
The dangers of divorce, Suryani notes, include women losing their children to their husbands,
due to the patriarchal slant and traditions of the society, and women having difficulty being
reaccepted into their biological family’s home.
Her first case study, “Nobody Loves Me,” (ibid.: 224) concerns a woman who lives within
her husband’s family compound, as is standard in Bali. This woman is having some
disagreements with her mother-in-law around the making of offerings, a very important part of
Balinese ritual and custom and one which women play important and active roles. It is the
women who generally both make the offerings and place them daily within temples and family
compounds. The mother-in-law is frustrated at her husband’s lack of support for her position,
but is also afraid to express her true feelings about the situation. The mother-in-law herself is
depressed because she feels isolated from her own family and does not have a fulfilling
relationship with her own husband. To complicate things further, the patient’s adult son is
having his own problems.
After spending some time speaking with the patient, her husband, and her son, Suryani
suggests that the patient take medication to “help her have better control of herself, and also
to make the home situation more peaceful… I tried to make her understand,” Suryani
continues, “the importance of good karma. ‘If you want your children to have a good fortune,