Women's Issues
Wednesday, November 18, 2009

By: Lynn Margolies, Ph.D.

Some struggles that women experience are common to many women, and can therefore be attributed or understood in this larger context of what it means, biologically and socially to be female. A psychologist informed about these issues is in a better position to understand women’s experiences and know how to help them. Psychotherapy can help women achieve their personal goals and improve themselves. A psychologist can teach assertiveness, decrease fears that may impede success and happiness, and work with women on developing better and more sustained self-esteem.

In our society, women are often in the role of protecting and caring for others emotionally. Women may fear success and competition (which can manifest in self-sabotage) and have difficulties with anger and aggression. Women often experience stress related to the burdens associated with caretaking, compounded by stress resulting from their caring being devalued, unnoticed, or unacknowledged. Many women rely on external validation from others in order to feel good about themselves. Women are often accustomed to tuning in to other’s reactions to determine how they should feel and how they should act. Therapy can help women develop a positive sense of themselves and direction from within, rather than relying on other’s opinions of them, as well as develop the strength to follow the path they choose.

Women may suffer from depression, anxiety, self-destructive or self-sabotaging behavior, pressure to overachieve, perfectionism, sexual problems, body image problems, sexual identity issues, and destructive relationships to food. Women are too often the survivors of sexual/physical abuse (past or present), rape, emotional abuse, and re-victimization. They may struggle with feeling a lack of empowerment, choosing the wrong partners, staying in destructive, empty, or depleting relationships, being overly accommodating, and feeling afraid to leave unhealthy relationships.

Psychotherapy can help women manage the feelings associated with these struggles; recognize, understand and change self-defeating patterns, heal past pain, discover and foster inner strength, and learn new ways of behaving in relationships that allow them to get what they want and feel good about themselves.

Author : Lynn Margolies
Dr. Margolies is a Ph.D. clinical psychologist in private practice in Newton, MA. She was trained at a Harvard University teaching hospital and former faculty of Harvard University Medical School. She treats a broad range of problems. Currently she has a special interest in men's issues as well as adolescents and families. She also enjoys consulting to the media- T.V., radio, and newspapers.

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