CBT And Feminine Psychology
CBT And Feminine Psychology
The figures for anxiety and depression in the U.K. population show that women outnumber men two to one in the incidence of stress-related problems during their lifetime. One in four women will develop both/either of these conditions.
We know that both men and women work five times as much as they did in the 1970’s and that British workers also work the longest hours per week (47 hours on average) in Europe.
Women now have alcohol/drug problems, heart attack/strokes, and emotional disorders, that were virtually unheard of fifty years ago. The divorce rate is up to 40% with seventy per cent of all divorces initiated by women.
Those are some of the rather depressing statistics. But why are women struggling to cope? Juggling home, family, and professional life has become an organisational tightrope but what is the heart of the matter? What is at the source of the general malaise?
The answer is simple. In the 1980’s a concept called ‘core doubt’ emerged as a term associated with professional women. These women were high achievers, both academically and professionally. They were the skilled multi-taskers who were able to keep all the proverbial balls in the air and had the whole package: husband, children and career. The problem for these women was that they still felt a lack of fit between the roles they were playing and their ‘true selves’.
Something was still missing. That undefinable something led Dr. Jean Baker Miller to write a book called ‘Toward a New Psychology of Women’.
To simplify the themes in the book she stated that women used male role models to achieve their success. They achieved this despite the fact that the females they esteemed, and had modelled themselves on were in short supply.
This led to being able to ‘think like a man’ and possess those qualities which were desirable in a male orientated society i.e. competitiveness, aggression, strength, logical, rational, analytical, left brain thinking, goal orientated and performance related. These dominant male personality traits invalidated their empathic, nurturing, cooperative, people orientated, creative, intuitive feminine side.
They viewed their female counterparts out of their professional sphere as helpless, weak, powerless, self-sacrificing, dependants,, masochistic, and most of all inferior. A battle ensued between their vulnerable, subordinate interdependent victim role, and the dominant identity they had purchased at great cost to themselves.
An internal conflict arose between what makes society valued and those unfulfilled longing qualities they had come to despise in themselves. Dr Miller proposed a psychology of women forged out of both of these opposites. This posed the question of what this new psychology would be like? What would move women beyond these stereotypes to a new way of being that would reflect them more authentically.
Feminine Psychology and CBT
Following in the footsteps of those great feminist psychologists that have gone before (Horney, Chodorow, Klein, Lacan) the first part of the treatment is to devise a stress map of the internal and external areas of the clients life that are triggering the presenting problems.
CBT Diagnostic tests are used to measure anxiety/depression, self esteem, personality type (Type A/B) dysfunctional attitudes and deeper core beliefs.
Clients have a clear cut picture of the direction CBT will take. Clients often tape sessions as a part of reflection done as homework. Books, papers, behavioural experiments, coping techniques and a vast array of both cognitive and behavioural interventions (daily activity schedule, imagery, relaxation techniques, daily thought records etc.) are given to augment the work that is done in the sessions. Sessions are time-limited, structured and collaborative and the course of treatment is usually between twelve and twenty sessions depending on the nature of the present problems..
The goals of CBT therapy are: –
- Advanced empathy/creativity.
- Reattribution of meaning.
- Self concept change.
- The ability to play/relax/recuperate.
- Increased self-awareness.
- Increased self-esteem.
- Increased wholeness/self fulfillment.
- Unique synthetic problem-solving skills.
- Stress-reduction (anxiety/depression).
Virtual Cognitive Behavioural Therapy
Convenient, private and secure
Online Therapy is available to anyone, anywhere in the world at home or in the office using a tablet, mobile phone or laptop / computer and a good internet connection.
This service would appeal to client's for a variety of reasons.
- Clients location would make it difficult / impossible to access Cognitive-Behavioural Therapy.
- Clients time-pressure, work deadlines, and work-based travel make it difficult to commit for the normal counselling time-scale.
- Clients family commitments make it easier to have treatment on-line at home.
- Clients prefer an initial face to face assessment, and then combine both treatment modalities.