Therapy With a Human Face by Hannah Zeavin

01 Apr, 2022

Therapy With a Human Face by Hannah Zeavin

Hannah Zeavin published an article, "Therapy With a Human Face", in Dissent Magazine, focusing on the importance of understanding the feminization of therapy on how it became both devalued and out of reach. She believes the American mental health crisis is everywhere and everyone needs treatment.

To start with, she introduced the concept of Eliza, which is a video game that took the name from Joseph Weizenbaum’s experiment with Natural Language Processing. In 1966 the computer scientist developed the first proto-therapy chatbot while trying to demonstrate the absurd superficiality of communicating with machines. Eliza offers a critique of the state of contemporary mental healthcare. As rates of symptomatic anxiety and depression have soared, face-to-face, non-corporate therapy has become more difficult to access. The game also includes a second, quieter exploration of the status of therapeutic labor. Who can perform it? For what fee? Is it any good? Is it at least better than what one can do alone? At the center of these questions lies a history of the feminization of therapy—the fight to include women in its practice and its subsequent devaluation.

Then, she moves on to the discussion of Freud's controversial psychoanalysis. After his death, the scientists were struggling between two dilemmas: how to survive during the Second World War and how to practice analysis at all.

Quoted from the article :

"Despite the contemporary truism that psychoanalysis always blames the mother, Sigmund Freud was much more focused on the pathogenic role of the father in the mind of the child, while showing little interest in real children at all. For Anna, and others like Winnicott, analysis meant attending to the real mother—and real children—and the mental life of reproductive labor. This theoretical process began before the Second World War and was intensified by it while many fathers were away."

Thus, it led to the first recognizable feminization of the psy-fields took place between 1900 and 1930, when an expansion of social work brought more women into the profession.

To read the full article, please visit here!