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Katz, C.L. (1988). Afterword. Contemp. Psychoanal., 24:693-697.

(1988). Contemporary Psychoanalysis, 24:693-697


Constance L. Katz, Ph.D.

A COMPUTER SEARCH THROUGH THE LITERATURE on gender differences reveals the existence of thousands of articles written on the subject during the last several years. Even for the more restricted topic of gender issues and psychotherapy, we find several reviews of a burgeoning literature (Mogul, 1982): (Kulish, 1984). This explosion of clinical interest must surely be part of the general consciousness-raising of the women's liberation movement. We clearly have become interested in identifying gender differences, not necessarily with a view towards obliterating then, but with a view towards identifying biases of theory or therapeutic activity that are associated with attitudes or behaviors that may be gender-linked.

The vastness of the field, and the interest in relating gender issues to psychotherapy and psychoanalysis are reflected in the diversity of the three papers presented here: One paper explores the reactions of patients to the therapist's pregnancy (McGarty), one explores cognitive and stylistic differences between male and female students of psychoanalysis (Mann), the third explores the role of shame in preventing the emergence of "gender-related experience" (O'Leary). All three authors argue for the recognition of the powerful effect of the gender of the therapist. McGarty describes the intense reactions of her patients to her pregnancy as well as the intense countertransference of the therapist herself; Mann implies that a patient with a male therapist may have a very different kind of experience than one whose therapist is female.

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