Comments on: “My Life in Therapy” http://www.historiann.com/2010/08/10/my-life-in-therapy/ History and sexual politics, 1492 to the present Mon, 22 Sep 2014 10:08:09 +0000 hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=3.9.2 By: Historiann http://www.historiann.com/2010/08/10/my-life-in-therapy/comment-page-1/#comment-685854 Wed, 11 Aug 2010 14:07:37 +0000 http://www.historiann.com/?p=12108#comment-685854 “Spinsters have always been outlaws; the pro-pr0n foofraw only masked the same old hatred for those not sexually useful.”

Very well said. Two friends of mine are authors of books focused on singlewomen (that is, never married women) in early modern Britain and America. They were both frustrated by the dominance of wife-and-motherhood in the historiography on early modern English and colonial Anglo-American free women, and its attendant focus on heterosexuality in organizing women’s lives:

Karin Wulf, Not All Wives: Women of Colonial Philadelphia (2000)

Amy Froide, Never Married: Singlewomen in Early Modern England (2005)

You won’t be surprised that the roots of fear, blaming, and shaming of singlewomen are long and deep.

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By: cgeye http://www.historiann.com/2010/08/10/my-life-in-therapy/comment-page-1/#comment-685514 Wed, 11 Aug 2010 04:46:57 +0000 http://www.historiann.com/?p=12108#comment-685514 “I sometimes wonder if being single and not pursuing any kind of sexual relationship is the new queer. ”

Megadittoes, Dr. H. I’m now the freak because I’ve never been married and don’t have someone to mention as after-work company.

Spinsters have always been outlaws; the pro-pr0n foofraw only masked the same old hatred for those not sexually useful.

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By: Fratguy http://www.historiann.com/2010/08/10/my-life-in-therapy/comment-page-1/#comment-685399 Wed, 11 Aug 2010 02:08:15 +0000 http://www.historiann.com/?p=12108#comment-685399 re The Simpsons
Or as Lenny (or was it Carl?) observed while sitting in Moe’s, “There’s nothing better for depression than a depressant”

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By: Comrade PhysioProf http://www.historiann.com/2010/08/10/my-life-in-therapy/comment-page-1/#comment-685390 Wed, 11 Aug 2010 01:34:32 +0000 http://www.historiann.com/?p=12108#comment-685390 If the other therapists she saw were similar to the one in the vignette you quoted, or the one who made her feel like she needed to please him, then the problem was not with “therapy”; the problem was that she was seeing grossly incompetent therapists. A good therapist can do absolutely amazing things. Sadly, however, I suspect good therapists are relatively rare.

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By: Historiann http://www.historiann.com/2010/08/10/my-life-in-therapy/comment-page-1/#comment-685205 Tue, 10 Aug 2010 21:55:31 +0000 http://www.historiann.com/?p=12108#comment-685205 Most people in the U.S. opt to self-medicate with drugs and/or alcohol. It’s a lot cheaper than psychoanalysis, and probably makes people happier. (Well, for a few hours, anyway.)

As Homer Simpson once said: “Alcohol: the cause of, and solution to, most of life’s problems.”

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By: Feminist Avatar http://www.historiann.com/2010/08/10/my-life-in-therapy/comment-page-1/#comment-685152 Tue, 10 Aug 2010 21:07:48 +0000 http://www.historiann.com/?p=12108#comment-685152 This is the benefit of a National Health Service; get your mental health fixed in 6 hours or your money back- no wait, or tough, back on the waiting-list.

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By: rootlesscosmo http://www.historiann.com/2010/08/10/my-life-in-therapy/comment-page-1/#comment-685131 Tue, 10 Aug 2010 20:35:11 +0000 http://www.historiann.com/?p=12108#comment-685131 I’ve been told that classical Freudian psychoanalysis is still thriving in Buenos Aires.

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By: susurro http://www.historiann.com/2010/08/10/my-life-in-therapy/comment-page-1/#comment-685116 Tue, 10 Aug 2010 19:17:32 +0000 http://www.historiann.com/?p=12108#comment-685116 I suppose society has to have some strategies for inducing fear and panic into women who dare to be single after age 30 or 35 (or so.)

It’s funny, I thought that was what Women’s Magazines were for …

Susanna Kaysen’s book Girl Interrupted (not the feminist-light critique-light film) has an interesting analysis of this exact thing but for much younger women not pursuing marriage.

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By: Historiann http://www.historiann.com/2010/08/10/my-life-in-therapy/comment-page-1/#comment-685082 Tue, 10 Aug 2010 18:19:52 +0000 http://www.historiann.com/?p=12108#comment-685082 Great point about the heterosexism in all of this, in addition to the sexism. I sometimes wonder if being single and not pursuing any kind of sexual relationship is the new queer. My women friends who are single and who aren’t in a hurry to change that have to explain themselves a lot more than my lesbian friends with partners.

Absent coverture and laws preventing women from renting their own apartments or customs forbidding them to take out mortgages on their own, I suppose society has to have some strategies for inducing fear and panic into women who dare to be single after age 30 or 35 (or so.)

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By: susurro http://www.historiann.com/2010/08/10/my-life-in-therapy/comment-page-1/#comment-685079 Tue, 10 Aug 2010 18:10:29 +0000 http://www.historiann.com/?p=12108#comment-685079 It’s important in any therapy to ensure that your philosophy/orientation/worldview align with the type of therapy you are receiving. As you point out @historiann, CBT sounds like it would have been more beneficial to her than neo-Freudian models she was pursuing. The problem isn’t just that she was working with the “wrong” model for her in general but also the assumptions about gender and sexuality embedded in the model she was working in. While I recently blogged about the failing of many therapeutic models to address oppressions in a non-client-pathologizing way, in my mind Freudian models tend to be the most likely to do this especially for female or queer clients. It seems like the assumption is that she is histrionic and neurotic (classic diagnosis for women that amount to … being female and worried about engendered issues in life) and so everything becomes her fault. The fact that, as presented, no one challenged her belief that a heterosexual relationship would solve all her family of origin issues and avoidance-approach issues with work (and therapy) also seems like part of a larger pathologizing of women in certain therapeutic models; she is of the age/stage where she “should be married” “should have kids” and since she does not, she has “failed”. While her fear of judgment is placed on her as another sign that she is pathological, the therapeutic milieu and the theories within which she worked have not only embedded judgment but as described, she had therapists whose confrontations where sexist and therefore judgment as well. The longer this went on the more she seemed to transfer her classic approach-avoidance coping strategies (mentioned when she discusses work and no doubt part of her “difficult relationship w/ her mother”) on to therapy extending out the time and lack of accomplishment in the process.

All this to say, I think you’re right there is a whole lot of gender inequity going on here at just about every stage in the process as reported. Since certain models tend to see women as already pathological the process can be self-reinforcing particularly if the client is combining healthy, tho unnamed, scepticism toward sexism in the process and actual avoidance or resistance.

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