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October 2021

Metaphors in the talk of ''depressed'' women in psychotherapy

Journal/Book: Can Psychol Psychol Can. 1999; 40: 151 Slater St, Ste 205, Ottawa, Ontario K1P 5H3, Canada. Canadian Psychol Assoc. 102-111.

Abstract: Variations in how we describe, explain, and treat ''depression'' and in who is labeled ''depressed'' attest to the significance of the social-historical contexts in which our understandings and practices are based. A prevalent, modern-day (Western) conception of ''depression'' is as a gendered (primarily female), devalued condition characterized by a discourse of the deficient self. In an effort to learn more about the particular forms of this discourse, the metaphors used by 10 ''depressed'' women to talk to their psychotherapists about their ''selves'' in relation to their perceived difficulties were studied. Two broad cultural imperatives were constructed from these metaphors: (1) Don't be too mothering and (2) Don't be too child-like. At the core of these two imperatives were messages about the importance of autonomy, for both oneself and others. This valuing of autonomy can be clearly located at the heart of 20(th)-century Western ideals.

Note: Article McMullen LM, Univ Saskatchewan, Dept Psychol, 9 Campus Dr, Saskatoon, SK S7N 5A5, CANADA

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