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Title: How do clinical psychologists talk about gender in relation to their work with older men and women?
Author: Karczewska, Marta
ISNI:       0000 0004 2701 5835
Awarding Body: University of East London
Current Institution: University of East London
Date of Award: 2010
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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.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (D.Clin.Psych.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available