Women and Mental Health

By Elizabeth Howell; Marjorie Bayes | Go to book overview

47
The Consciousness-Raising
Group as a Model for
Therapy with Women

ANNETTE M. BRODSKY

By now almost everyone is familiar with a sense of growing unrest among women with many of their traditional sex-role stereotypes. There is no evidence that women are more like each other psychologically than men are like each other. In fact, the bulk of evidence on gender-role differences points out that the differences between individuals of each sex are greater than differences between men and women (Mischel 1966). Yet, for a woman in particular, her sex determines to a large degree her future roles in life, dictating limitations on the options for her development, regardless of intellect, activity level, or physical and emotional capacity (Epstein 1970; Amundsen 1971). This role confinement has been psychologically frustrating to many women and is a major basis for identification as feminists of many of the therapists on the Feminist Therapist Roster of the Association for Women in Psychology (Brodsky 1972). Epidemiological studies (Gurin, Veroff, and Feld 1960; Chesler 1971) reveal that women complain more of nervousness, impending breakdown, and attempts at suicide (and they are beginning to achieve this goal more often). They are more frequently seen in therapy, and more likely to be hospitalized for their mental disorders. As Chesler (1971) points out, women are

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