Gender and mental illness
Sammanfattning: AbstractThe following work is driven foremost by the confounding fact that so few men are seekinghelp concerning mental illness, even though men, by far, are the dominating gender instatistics regarding suicide. Upon reflection a line of questions arose mainly regardingwhether gender based differences could play a role in the way men and women expressmental illness and especially whether, and to what extent, gender affects treatment thereof.Since interviewing people with mental illness would demand quite a lot of ethicalconsideration, and with regards to the extent of work a study of this sort would require, otheroptions had to be considered. Therefore, in order to investigate the subject further fourseparate interviews were conducted with therapists whose methods are based on a variety ofpsychological theories and methods. The interviews were based on semi-structuredinterview-guides containing questions about gender differentials in patients, gender basedapproaches to, as well as gender based expressions of, mental illness. The empirical materialwas later divided into relevant themes to create a basis for analysis. The analysis was formedby theories and research concerning gender constructivism, hegemonic masculinity andgender in therapy. The findings showed that gender and gender roles do play a part in how thetherapist conceive the patient and her problems. The informants expressed experiences oftraditional gender roles affecting the patient's ability to engage in therapy in an ideal way - theideal being comparable to characteristics associated with traditional femininity. Among theinformant was a consensus that the male gender role is undergoing reform, and thus becomingmore inclusive to gender identities unconform with traditional masculinity. Furthermore twomain experiences of gender differences was identified, both comparable to normative genderdiscourse regarding male and female characteristics. Finally a third theme lead to discussionconcerning therapist-patient dynamics in light of respectively gender-based or feministnarrative therapy.
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