Female Authority: Empowering Women through Psychotherapy

Female Authority: Empowering Women through Psychotherapy

by Polly Young-Eisendrath, Florence L. Wiedemann
     
 

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For women in Western society, there is no straightforward path of development to autonomous adulthood. The double-bind of female authority--that a women cannot be both a healthy adult and an ideal woman--is the context in which a woman must construct her self in this culture. Whether she sees herself as "too needy" or "too controlling," "too insecure" or "too

Overview

For women in Western society, there is no straightforward path of development to autonomous adulthood. The double-bind of female authority--that a women cannot be both a healthy adult and an ideal woman--is the context in which a woman must construct her self in this culture. Whether she sees herself as "too needy" or "too controlling," "too insecure" or "too self-reliant," she is gathering evidence to support a theory of personal inadequacy. The traditional perspectives of psychodynamics and psychopathology reinforce women's sense of inferiority. How then does a woman claim her own authority--the validity of her own truth, beauty, goodness, originating in her own experience?

Young-Eisendrath and Wiedemann break with the tradition of "deficit thinking," the examination of what is absent, wrong, or deficient. Recognizing this as a fundamental barrier to the empowerment of women, they work instead from an understanding of what is already strong and satisfying in the lives of women and girls in a patriarchal society. This volume unravels the paradox of female authority through the examination of its sociocultural, symbolic, and personal dimensions. Chapters 1 through 4 present a re-visioning of the female self, using the psychologies of C. G. Jung and Jane Loevinger as major theoretical frameworks. The authors argue for a modification of Jung's concept of "animus"--the repressed masculine in the girl or woman--and in chapters 5 through 8 present a detailed model of psychotherapy based on five stages of animus development. Using a wealth of clinical material from their own practices--including two extended case presentations in chapters 9 through 11--the authors skillfully illustrate their own efforts to help women assume greater personal authority. The book's concluding chapter presents New Texts and Contexts for Female Development.

Unique in its combination of feminist theory, social psychology, and Jungian psychology, Female Authority offers a fresh approach to the analysis of gender concerns in identity. The book will be of great value to practitioners and theoreticians in the human services. The discussion of women's self-esteem and personal authority, and the probing of conflicts inherent in female identity in our society, place this book among the major recent contributions to the development of a psychology of women.

Editorial Reviews

Psychotherapy in Private Practice

"Highly recommended to all therapists, male and female, who are looking for a new window through which to see the plight of women in today's society."--Psychotherapy in Private Practice

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780898624601
Publisher:
Guilford Publications, Inc.
Publication date:
11/09/1990
Edition description:
Reprint
Pages:
242
Product dimensions:
6.00(w) x 9.00(h) x 0.58(d)

Meet the Author

Polly Young-Eisendrath, PhD, has published and lectured extensively. A Jungian analyst, licensed psychologist, and a clinical social worker, she teaches in the Human Development Department at Bryn Mawr College and is in independent practice with Clinical Associates West, Bala Cynwyd, Pennsylvania.

Florence L. Wiedemann, PhD, is President of the Analytical Psychological Association of Dallas, Vice President of the Inter-Regional Society of Jungian Analysts, and a member of the International Association of Jungian Analysts and the American Psychological Association, and is in private practice in Dallas, Texas. A Diplomate Jungian Analyst from the Inter-Regional Society of Jungian Analysts, she writes and lectures internationally on topics related to the psychology of women.

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