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De-constructing the psychological family: Investigation of gender bias in psychological practice with clients
Linköping University, The Tema Institute, Centre for Gender Studies.
2015 (English)Independent thesis Advanced level (degree of Master (One Year)), 10 credits / 15 HE creditsStudent thesisAlternative title
Decostruire la famiglia psicologica : Ricerca di stereotipi di genere nella pratica psicologica con i clienti (Italian)
Abstract [en]

As sometimes happens, research questions arise from spontaneous conversations, daily meetings. This is the case too, where an informal chat between psychologists stimulated my attention on the use of categories of meaning that usually are both familiar and taken for granted in their use: from my experience as a psychologist working in social work, when it comes to "taking up the maternal and paternal role" (or "using maternal and paternal code") professionals of social and clinical works understand nearly immediatly. But what about if these categories of meanings unwittingly bring with them gender stereotypes? Do clinical professionals, in particular, conduct their practice being careful not to convey or reinforce sexist or stereotypical messages?

My research starts from a doubt, and passes through the sieve of papers, both scientific and not scientific, looking for backup references about interconnections between therapeutic practice and gender awareness, zooming attention on "maternal and paternal function" taken up by professionals when working with clients. While I have found considerable amounts of material on the first area, I didn’t find nearly anything on the second. In order to emphasize the importance of having gender awareness in thought and conduct of psychological practice, I documented some connections between Gender and Feminist Studies, Psychology and Politics.

The research is developed within a post-structuralist framework, conducting semi-structured interviews with 4 psychotherapists, half of whom are specialized in the field of gender violence. By using the Feminist Critical Discourse Analysis I investigated the statements obtained by stimuli ranging from a) the ways in which gender is manifested in clinical practice, b) the use of "maternal and paternal function", and c) if their clinical practice contributes to the reduction of gender discrimination. The research seems to show that only one person is gender aware within her clinical practice: the same only one with a scientific and cultural background and on Gender Studies.

What research urges is the need for a deepening of both focus analyzed here: on one hand, understanding the level of gender awereness of Italian professionals and this use in their clinical practice; and, on the other hand, the need to investigate the meaning, use, theoretical foundations and outcome of the use of ''maternal and paternal function" in clinical work with clients.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2015. , 52 p.
National Category
URN: urn:nbn:se:liu:diva-122180ISRN: LIU-TEMA G/GSIC1-A—15/001—SEOAI: diva2:862736
Subject / course
Gender Studies - Intersectionality and Change, One Year
Available from: 2015-10-26 Created: 2015-10-23 Last updated: 2015-10-26Bibliographically approved

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