A NEW APPROACH TO WOMEN AND THERAPY by Miriam Greenspan

A NEW APPROACH TO WOMEN AND THERAPY

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KIRKUS REVIEW

Boston therapist Greenspan proposes blending the best of the traditional and (particularly) the humanist approaches to therapy, with the political outlook of a woman's consciousness-raising group, to produce a new kind of feminist therapy. In three sections, she argues successfully that women need a new approach, less successfully for her own specific proposals. Part I: The medical/psychological establishment, 85-90 percent male, uses largely male-sanctioned social traits to determine normalcy, though women comprise two-thirds of the patients. The Male Expert distances himself from the Female Patient in the tradition of Father Freud, searches for pathology in childhood and other past experiences, and fosters the impression that all personal problems can be handled at the individual level, or that ""fixing this woman's head will fix her life."" Part II: The humanist therapies, while ridding women of the distant therapist and the emphasis on pathology, also foster the impression that individuals can shape their entire reality--a power that ultimately becomes a ""burden."" Part III: The new feminist therapy should provide for: cooperation between therapist and patient on an almost-equal basis; demystification of the therapy process; and helping women ""minimize the ways in which we internalize and collude with. . . our oppression."" To feel good about themselves, Greenspan asserts, women must have a feeling of power--which women, sensitive to men's abuse of power, shy away from. Greenspan also expands on the concept of Woman as Body: physical visibility contributes to women's feelings of self-consciousness, vulnerability, rage. By comparison with either Phyllis Chester's thundering Women and Madness (1972) or Jean Baker Miller's simple, direct Toward a New Psychology of Women (1976), this is unoriginal and unremarkable (see also, of late, Carol Gilligan's In A Different Voice). But the dramatized condition, combined with remedies-in-kind for it, will have appeal.

Pub Date: March 14th, 1983
Publisher: McGraw-Hill