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Beyond stereotypes: Towards an understanding of gender in the lives of Iranian women

14 December 1998


The American Psychological Association CAP A) recommends that to improve the quality of care to diverse groups psychologists should seek to understand the cultural values of their clients and the sociopolitical contexts of their lives. Due to the lack of psychological literature to guide the clinician's understanding of the meaning of these issues for Iranian women, an interdisciplinary examination of gender is undertaken. In this thesis, gender is defined from the perspective of the psychology of women and Middle Eastern studies. The interdisciplinary nature of gender issues is demonstrated. The relevance of examining gender in the psychotherapy context is explained. Major themes from contemporary feminist scholars on Iranian women's issues are highlighted to reveal parallels that bridge to Western feminist thought. The controversies in the study of Iranian women are illuminated. This thesis presents the argument for the use of a Western feminist framework, Hays' ADRESSING model, to guide the therapist in effectively drawing out and exploring the meaning of gender for Iranian women seeking psychotherapy. Finally, conclusions are drawn with recommendations for further study.


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