Sex or Gender - Part IWritten by Sam Vaknin
Alan Pease, author of a book titled "Why Men Don't Listen and Women Can't Read Maps", believes that women are spatially-challenged compared to men. The British firm, Admiral Insurance, conducted a study of half a million claims. They found that "women were almost twice as likely as men to have a collision in a car park, 23 percent more likely to hit a stationary car, and 15 percent more likely to reverse into another vehicle" (Reuters).
Yet gender "differences" are often outcomes of bad scholarship. Consider Admiral insurance's data. As Britain's Automobile Association (AA) correctly pointed out - women drivers tend to make more short journeys around towns and shopping centers and these involve frequent parking. Hence their ubiquity in certain kinds of claims. Regarding women's alleged spatial deficiency, in Britain, girls have been outperforming boys in scholastic aptitude tests - including geometry and maths - since 1988.
On other wing of divide, Anthony Clare, a British psychiatrist and author of "On Men" wrote:
"At beginning of 21st century it is difficult to avoid conclusion that men are in serious trouble. Throughout world, developed and developing, antisocial behavior is essentially male. Violence, sexual abuse of children, illicit drug use, alcohol misuse, gambling, all are overwhelmingly male activities. The courts and prisons bulge with men. When it comes to aggression, delinquent behavior, risk taking and social mayhem, men win gold."
Men also mature later, die earlier, are more susceptible to infections and most types of cancer, are more likely to be dyslexic, to suffer from a host of mental health disorders, such as Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), and to commit suicide.
In her book, "Stiffed: The Betrayal of American Man", Susan Faludi describes a crisis of masculinity following breakdown of manhood models and work and family structures in last five decades. In film "Boys don't Cry", a teenage girl binds her breasts and acts male in a caricatural relish of stereotypes of virility. Being a man is merely a state of mind, movie implies.
But what does it really mean to be a "male" or a "female"? Are gender identity and sexual preferences genetically determined? Can they be reduced to one's sex? Or are they amalgams of biological, social, and psychological factors in constant interaction? Are they immutable lifelong features or dynamically evolving frames of self-reference?
Certain traits attributed to one's sex are surely better accounted for by cultural factors, process of socialization, gender roles, and what George Devereux called "ethnopsychiatry" in "Basic Problems of Ethnopsychiatry" (University of Chicago Press, 1980). He suggested to divide unconscious into id (the part that was always instinctual and unconscious) and "ethnic unconscious" (repressed material that was once conscious). The latter is mostly molded by prevailing cultural mores and includes all our defense mechanisms and most of superego.
So, how can we tell whether our sexual role is mostly in our blood or in our brains?
The scrutiny of borderline cases of human sexuality - notably transgendered or intersexed - can yield clues as to distribution and relative weights of biological, social, and psychological determinants of gender identity formation.
The results of a study conducted by Uwe Hartmann, Hinnerk Becker, and Claudia Rueffer-Hesse in 1997 and titled "Self and Gender: Narcissistic Pathology and Personality Factors in Gender Dysphoric Patients", published in "International Journal of Transgenderism", "indicate significant psychopathological aspects and narcissistic dysregulation in a substantial proportion of patients." Are these "psychopathological aspects" merely reactions to underlying physiological realities and changes? Could social ostracism and labeling have induced them in "patients"?
The authors conclude:
"The cumulative evidence of our study ... is consistent with view that gender dysphoria is a disorder of sense of self as has been proposed by Beitel (1985) or Pfäfflin (1993). The central problem in our patients is about identity and self in general and transsexual wish seems to be an attempt at reassuring and stabilizing self-coherence which in turn can lead to a further destabilization if self is already too fragile. In this view body is instrumentalized to create a sense of identity and splitting symbolized in hiatus between rejected body-self and other parts of self is more between good and bad objects than between masculine and feminine."
How is Coaching Different from Therapy?Written by Susan Dunn, MA Clinical Psychology, The EQ Coach
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TITLE: The Difference Between Therapy and Coaching AUTHOR: Susan Dunn, MA, Clinical Psychology WORD COUNT: 1173 WRAP: 60 URL: http://www.susandunn.cc Mailto:email@example.com Photo available: http://www.susandunn.cc/images/susaninstripe1.JPG
“The Difference Between Therapy and Coaching,” by Susan Dunn, MA, Clinical Psychology
“Oh,” said Bob, after listening to me explain what I do, “So coaching’s like therapy for healthy people?”
No, because for one thing there are healthy people in therapy, and for another, coaches aren’t doing therapy. In fact this strikes many of us coaches as funny, because we intentionally chose not to be therapists, and so are many therapists. Over 1/3rd of members of International Coaching Federation are therapists! In fact, I fit hybrid of many coaches—I have a master’s degree in clinical psychology, but had a career in marketing and PR. Why didn’t I make therapy my profession? I was waiting for coaching to come along.
The field of psychology is at least 100 years old—Freud opened up his consulting room in 1886, and American Psychological Association (APA) was founded in 1892. It is by all accounts experiencing major growing pains right now, and whether it’s labor pains, or death throes remains to be seen. Therapy was originally based on medical model of disease-there was something wrong with patient that expert must find and then fix. As in “cure.”
Over years, there have been many changes in field of psychology, with new names (Winnicott, Jung, Adler) and new theories (Rational Emotive, Cognitive, Behavioral), but all assuming pathology.
Martin Seligman’s Positive Psychology is a force in a new direction we’re watching carefully, and fact that he’s started a Coaching School shows at least some affinity to coaching philosophy.
FILLING A NEED
Coaching evolved to fill a need that wasn’t being met. Haven’t you looked at least once at a professional athlete and said, “If only…” or “Well, sure, when you have that kind of help.” We may not all be 6’5” with superb reflexes, but each of us has a unique set of strengths and just as much raw potential to develop if placed in right hands.
We all know what a professional coach does for an athlete. It’s a combination of teaching specific techniques and skills and a lot of work on “mental attitude,” or whatever it’s being called these days. (I think of it as Emotional Intelligence.) Sports coaches have long been into mind-body connection.
But 10 years ago, who was around to do this for you when you wanted to build a business, or find a new career, or get unstuck, or create a retirement worth living for, or be a more effective father?
Not that you couldn’t do it alone, but it would probably go quicker and better with fresh insight, perspective, and perhaps some specific expertise. Coaches are “change agents,” but also are specialized. You may want someone who can help you with life balance, who understands your field (engineering), who has actually been a single Mother, who has served on a Board, who has built a successful business, who has been a manager or a professor, who has lost 50 pounds, who has helped someone else lose 50 lbs., or who is himself multicultural.
SO IT’S LIKE FRIENDSHIP?
No. Friends and loved ones have their own issues, agendas, perspectives, and points of view. They also “project”—that is, if they are timid, and you want to do something they consider daring, they’’ try and discourage you, and tell you it’s “for your own good.” I’m not talking about bungee jumping; I’m talking about starting your own business at age 50, or moving halfway around world, or walking away from a 6-figure job because it’s making you sick.