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June 18, 1980 - Image 4

Resource type:
Michigan Daily, 1980-06-18

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Page 4-Wednesday, June 18, 1980-The Michigan Daily

EEC move will
not hurt Mideast
T 'HE EUROPEAN Common Market
declaration that the Palestine Liberation
Organization should be included in peace talks may
not contribute to calm in the Middle East, but
neither will it hamper the Camp David accords.
The United States still holds its long-standing
policy that the PLO should not be allowed to par-
ticipate in peace negotiations until the organization
renounces its commitment to destroy Israel.
Worthwhile progress cannot be made until the
PLO backs off from its position on Israel's right to
exist and is ready to compromise. This condition is
necessary, and one that the Common Market
should not have ignored in its declaration.
Nevertheless, the goals of the European
statement are quite compatible with the goals of
the U.S. negotiations. Both recognize that peace
can only be attained if both the Israelis and the
Palestinians recognize each other as separate
political entities with legitimate needs and in-
The Europeans have an important need to air
their concerns. They want to be free to decide their
own opinions on policy which aren't necessarily the
same as those of their U.S. allies.
It is unfortunate that the Europeans did not come
up with a more substantive contribution to solving
the problems in the Middle East. The U.S. has been
well-entrusted with the role of chief negotiator in
the Arab-Israeli conflict and could have used wor-
thwhile contributions toward resolving the ten-
The European statement does not undercut Car-
ter's efforts to secure peace in the Middle East. It is
simply a rather weak statement that will neither
help nor hinder Arab-Israeli negotiations.

ON l tt 1.1 DIMR ,oti) t I rf' ,'2 pu r
-r o c JV~ o ~ ~ Ais
woma's ecrtet eem

It suddenly seems serious
enough to seek professional help:
The depression doesn't go away,
the anxiety interferes with or-
dinary life, the conflicts are
destructive, life itself is grim and
joyless. If you're a man, chances
are that a qualified and experien-
ced psychiatrist or
psychotherapist can help.
nut if you're a woman-and
two-thirds of all people seeking
psychiatric help or counseling
are women-it may be a good
idea to find out what a therapist's
views on the Equal Rights Amen-
dment are first.
American -Psychiatric
Association recently withdrew of-
ficial support from the national
ERA strategy which calls for a
boycott of nonratifying ststes. It-
thereby became the only major
mental health association
refusing to support the ERA
In a referendum initiated by
the membership-which is 89 per
cent male-54 per cent of the
psychiatrists voted to abandon
the pro-ERA policy endorsed by
the American Psychological
Associaiton, the National
Association of Social Workers,
the Mental Health Association,
and the American Academy of
The APA, though deeply split
over the issue of the ERA, had
adopted an official policy sup-
porting the boycott in 1977. But
then its membership twice voted
by referendum against the sup-
port strategy. It refused to shift
the 1979 annual meeting from.
Chicago or its 1981 meeting from
New Orleans. Both cities are in
states that have not yet ratified
the Amendment.
IN THE THIRD and latest anti-
ERA vote, most psychiatrists in-
dicated that they were opposing
the boycott, not necessarily the
Amendment. However, only 43
per cent actually favored the
Though this is a political issue,
it is clinically important. A
-psychiatrist with doubts about an
amendment that simple states:

By Jean Bolen
"Equality of rights under the law
shall not be denied or abridged by
the United States or any State on
account of sex," may well lack
the sensitivity to help women
caught in conflicts by their effor-
ts to breaks out of sex role
stIn the last decade,
psychiatrists and psychiatry
were influenced by feminism, but
not very much. Freudeian
theoretical formulations which
emphasize the masochistic
nature of women, and the univer-
sality of penis envy, came under
attsck and revision in some quar-
ters. Yet by and large these
theories are still dominant. While
women psychiatrists and
women'a issues became more
visible on the scientific programs
of annual meetings, efforts to
change the prevailing ideas about
women held by many
psychiatrists ran into resistance
and sometimes hostility.
ERA suggests that there is less
than a 50-50 likelihood a
psychiatrist can offer genuine
support and understanding when
sex discrimination and role
stereotyping are real problems.
Women often turn to therapy
with exactly the kind of problems
that the ERA is designed to ease.
Many are struggling to acquire
an education or begin a new
career without encouragement
from parents who expected them
to marry, have kids and stay
home like proper wives. Many
have husbands who resent
changes in the household.
On the job, women find they
must cope with unequal treat-
ment, uninvited and unwelcome
sexual overtures or even
harassment. They are treated
more like children than as equals
by some men in authority.
depression, impotent rage or
lowered self-esteem. It is crucial
that the psychiatrist a woman
chooses to help her respect what
she is trying to do and understand -
why she may experience conflict.

The therapy relation-
ship-much like teaching, paren-
ting or a romantic love relation-
ship-involves what has been
called the Pygmalion effect. It
has to do with the power one im-
portant human being has over
another in molding behaviour
and self-esteem.
Assumptions about the other
person are critical, whether they
are based on reality, misinfor-
mation or projections, in which
one sees" what one assumes is
there. If the psychiatrist is a
biased observer, a woman's ef-
forts to gain a sense of competen-
ce might be seen in a negative
light-as aggressive, phallic,or
castrating. This will increase the
guilt and depression. she may
already feel about the conflicts in
herself or in her relationships,
which her personal aspirations
have caused. Much less destruc-
tive, yet still limiting, is a
psychiatrist who has positive
feelings for women, yet assumes
that they are weak. and
Refusal to support the ERA
may confirm the existence of a
double standard in therapy im-
plied by a controversial 1970
study of the attitudes of
clinicians. It found that healthy,
mature womerrwere expected by
therapists to be more submissive,
less independent, more
suggestible, more conceited and
less objective than healthy,
mature men.
The APA's vote against support
for the ERA boycott suggests that
perhaps the doors of half this
country's psychiatrists should
have a sign stating: "Warning,
This psychiatrist's views on the
ERA may be dangerous to your
mental health."
Dr. Jean Bolen is an associate
professor of Psychiatry at the
University of California. She
- wrote this article for Pacific
News Service.

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