How do clinical psychologists talk about gender in relation to their work with older men and women?

Prof Doc Thesis

Karczewska, Marta 2010. How do clinical psychologists talk about gender in relation to their work with older men and women? Prof Doc Thesis University of East London School of Psychology
AuthorsKarczewska, Marta
TypeProf Doc Thesis

In spite of the increasing emphasis upon gender in the psychological
literature, research continues to highlight concerns that issues relating to
conceptualisations of gender in later life may be overlooked. This gap in
literature seems important to fill in the view of societal changes, which affect
older people's sense of gender and may need to be accounted for in clinical
practice. The aim of the research is to develop an account of the way Clinical
Psychologists deploy the concept of gender in their NHS-based clinical work
with older men and women. The transcripts of semi-structured interviews and
focus groups conducted with fifteen Clinical Psychologists are analysed
using Foucauldian Discourse Analysis. The constructions of 'normative',
'performative' and 'embodied' discourses of gender in later life are identified.
There is a degree of overlap between the function of these constructions:
'normative' and 'embodied' constructions regulate individuals' behaviour, by
emphasising duties towards society or by reminding individuals' that they are
under a constant surveillance. The 'performative' and 'embodied'
constructions share the emphasis on circular notions of inter-action allowed
within them: be it in relation to 'acting' certain type of gender (performative
discourses) or 'appearing' in a certain way (embodied discourses). Finally, a
Foucauldian observation that the category of 'sex' is not a simple matter of
individual conduct, but rather a means of identifying groups seems to
illustrate well the overlap between 'normative' and 'performative'
constructions of gender in later life. Employing these constructions has
implications for the process and outcome of therapy, particularly because
these constructions seem to be deployed narrowly, which could result in
limiting therapeutic outcomes for a variety of clients. Recommendations are
made for developing gender in later life as a more flexible concept within
professional, organisational, policy and research contexts. The research is
also evaluated critically and reflectively.

Publication dates
PrintMay 2010
Publication process dates
Deposited10 Jun 2014
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