Clinical Aspects of Sexual Harassment and Gender Discrimination. Psychological Consequences and Treatment Interventions

Article excerpt

Clinical Aspects of Sexual Harassment and Gender Discrimination. Psychological Consequences and Treatment Interventions Sharyn Ann Lenhard. New York: Brunner-Routledge; 2004. 233 p. US$34.95.

Reviewer rating: Good

Gender discrimination and sexual harassment in academia and the workplace can result in serious psychological damage leading to illness and disability. Dr Sharyn Ann Lenhard is a noted forensic expert in women's mental health. Her book is designed for clinicians, managers, attorneys, and others interested in this field. Background information on the phenomena of discrimination and harassment is used as a springboard for discussion of psychological sequelae are in this small, reasonably priced hardcover.

The book is not intended to be exhaustive or to summarize all the current research, although the citations of previous work are extensive. It starts with definitions of gender and sex, discrimination, and sexual harassment, noting that gender discrimination is usually perceived as a women's mental health issue. Sexual harassment and gender discrimination appear together and are deliberately joined throughout the text. Authorities note that women who tend to transcend traditional female roles are more likely to be aware of harassment and discrimination. Women who report sexual harassment in their workplace also tend to believe their organization discriminates against women.

The book is organized into 8 chapters discussing gender trends in the workplace, the dynamics of victim-perpetrator interactions, and the physical, emotional, and psychiatric disorders that may result from sexual harassment and gender discrimination. A chapter is devoted to understanding the legal process in the US. This is geared to a clinician who has never been involved in legal action. Separation of the therapist role from that of the expert witness is stressed. The last 3 chapters focus on a 9-step treatment approach, subdividing intervention into 3 stages of alliance building and crisis intervention; processing affect and cognitions with formulations of an effective plan of action; and the final stages of mourning, recovery, and reinvestment. The book has many case vignettes, which Dr Lenhart perfectly places to pace the reading of the text. Just when the reader is feeling overwhelmed with a concept, a vignette appears and makes it real. The author acknowledges that these are composites of cases; some vignettes are strikingly similar. Unfortunately, some of the cases are disturbing. Many describe accomplished women in academic or medical establishments who have suffered unthinkable situations. …


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