By Sara Joy David, Ph.D.
Published in: Women Look at Psychiatry.
D.E. Smith and S.J. David (Eds), (pp. 165-174).
Vancouver, BC: Press Gang Publishers, 1975.
In reaction to or as a function of the women’s movement, more and more attention has been given to the negative effects of female sex role conditioning on mental health, the discrimination against women inherent in traditional psychological and psychiatric models of human development, and the negative impact of the mental health profession on women seeking treatment. This article goes into these three topics in detail. It suggests specific changes in the attitudes, behaviours and interventions of all mental health professionals that must occur in order to improve the therapy offered to women. It also emphasizes the importance of increasing women’s awareness of the need to seek social as well as personal change. Above all it alerts readers to focus on women’s strengths and resources and to avoid escalating women’s feelings of inadequacy by using pejorative concepts and diagnostic labels to pathologize women. Women and the mental health professionals they consult must cease viewing women’s suffering and pain as signs of abnormality and mental illness.
Women Look at Psychiatry is no longer in print. It is available through many libraries and used book dealers. The author will make the full article available upon request.
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