|Author(s)||Joanna Pawelczyk, Elena Faccio, Małgorzata Talarczyk|
|Title||Working with gender in psychotherapy: A discursive analysis of psychotherapy sessions with women suffering from bulimia|
|Tag(s)||EMCA, gender, Psychotherapy|
|Journal||Text & Talk|
Sociocultural factors are recognized as among the causes of eating disorders (EDs) in general and bulimia in particular. The social constructions of gender constitute a key factor among these causes and bulimia can then be construed as a response to a failure to meet the social (dominant and normative) expectations of what it means to be a woman, as females remain the majority of people suffering from EDs. This article – informed by a critical feminist perspective – uses the micro-analytic frameworks of conversation analysis and membership categorization analysis to qualitatively examine relevant extracts of three psychotherapy sessions with women suffering from bulimia. The audio-recorded sessions represent systemic and social constructionist therapies and were originally conducted in Polish and Italian. The analysis focuses on how gender and gendered propositions are invoked by the therapist and/or the patient and further worked with in the subsequent turns. The contents of gendered propositions will be identified as well as whether, and if so how, they are interactionally deconstructed in the local context of the interaction. The analysis demonstrates how the female patients rely on categorization work around gender in addressing their own issues. The findings call for therapists’ greater awareness and reflexivity as to their interactional handling of gender in view of patients’ individual experiences.