Women and Mental Health

By Elizabeth Howell; Marjorie Bayes | Go to book overview
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1
Women: From Freud
to the Present

ELIZABETH HOWELL

The theoretical underpinning of any adequate psychotherapeutic treatment of women must be nonsexist. Unfortunately, our psychological theories about women contain far too much sexism. Particularly in recent years there has been widespread criticism of the gender‐ role bias existing in our theories by practitioners, scholars, and theorists. Accordingly, there have been revisions in theory and additions to it. With a few exceptions, most of this work has been done by women.

Of course, the eradication of sexism is not the only goal of those who study the psychology of women. The overriding goal, which subsumes the eradication of sexism, is veridicality. We are striving for theories and constructs that will most accurately describe the female psyche and its genesis. The object of this chapter is to describe the current state of this endeavor, where it has been, and where it is going.

Currently the field is teeming with investigatory activity about the psychology of women. In the midst of this there are broadly two camps: the "analysts" (predominantly Freudian), whose point of view is intrapsychic, and the "feminists," who tend to have a sociocultural orientation. Those entering the field often have already been indoctrinated into one camp or the other; even when this is not the case, they are likely to feel pressure to "choose up sides" in the hotly charged

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