On Woman’s Embodied Self

Body studies is a growing area of interest to scholars in sociology, women’s studies, and other disciplines in the humanities. But although many psychological theories are relevant to this field, psychology has not yet contributed to it in a substantive way. Joan C. Chrisler and Ingrid Johnston-Robledo hope to bridge the gap with their new book, Woman’s Embodied Self: Feminist Perspectives on Identity and Image. This book discusses women’s complex relations with their bodies and how attitudes toward the body affect women’s sense of self.


The authors write:

Our goal is to define problems in embodiment, examine them through the lenses of various psychological theories (e.g., objectification theory, stigma theory, terror management theory, stereotype embodiment theory), review the research to date on these problems, and suggest ways to help women and girls to achieve a healthy embodiment.

The authors argue that the body is a text on which women’s social location is written. Many different factors limit, constrain, or undermine women’s healthy embodiment. These include sexism, stigma, gender stereotypes, consumerism, medicalization, and the pressure to have a sanitized, sexualized, youthful, thin, healthy, and attractive body. By challenging and resisting negative sociocultural messages that promote body dissatisfaction and unhealthy beauty practices, mental health professionals and lay readers alike can help women and girls achieve a positive embodied self.

 

 

August Releases From APA Books!

APA Handbook of Giftedness and Talent

Edited by Steven I. Pfeiffer

The APA Handbook of Giftedness and Talent incorporates the most recent thinking and cutting-edge research from numerous fields related to gifted education, including developmental and social psychology, neuroscience, cognitive science, and education. It consists of six sections: history and global perspectives; theories and conceptions of giftedness and talent development; gifted identification and assessment; gifted education; psychological considerations in understanding the gifted (e.g., family, friendships, emotional considerations); and special issues facing the gifted (e.g., policy and legal issues, perfectionism, bullying).

 

A Telepsychology Casebook

Using Technology Ethically and Effectively in Your Professional Practice

Edited by Linda F. Campbell, PhD, Fred Millán, and Jana N. Martin

This casebook provides practical recommendations on a range of issues associated with electronic-based mental health care. From technologies as simple as the telephone to more advanced webcams and mobile device applications, psychologists are increasingly using technology in their work—a practice known as telepsychology. The book’s recommendations draw from the Guidelines for the Practice of Telepsychology, which were created jointly by the American Psychological Association, the Association of State and Provincial Psychology Boards, and the American Insurance Trust. Each chapter presents a guideline, explains how it relates to professional ethics and standards of care, and applies it to case examples.

 

Mindful Sport Performance Enhancement

Mental Training for Athletes and Coaches

By Keith A. Kaufman, Carol R. Glass, and Timothy R. Pineau

This book serves as a comprehensive resource on the history, theory, and practice of mindfulness in sport. The authors present mindful sport performance enhancement (MSPE), an empirically-supported, six-session program that can be adapted for specific athletic populations.  Each MSPE session includes educational, experiential, and discussion components, as well as instructions for home practice.

Includes handy scripts for mindfulness teachers, athletes, and coaches, and handouts summarizing each session that can be downloaded from APA’s website.

 

Woman’s Embodied Self

Feminist Perspectives on Identity and Image By Joan C. Chrisler, PhD, and Ingrid Johnston-Robledo

This compelling book examines how women relate to their bodies and how attitudes toward the body affect women’s sense of self. In particular, it documents the disturbing, never-ending barrage of standards used to judge women’s bodies. These standards prompt women to pursue life-long body improvement projects, which lead to self-objectification or a negative embodied self. Chrisler and Johnston-Robledo analyze these phenomena using various psychological theories, including objectification theory, stigma theory, terror management theory, and stereotype embodiment theory. Importantly, they also suggest ways to help women and girls achieve a positive embodied self, which includes challenging and resisting pressures to alter and discipline their bodies in unhealthy ways.

 

125 Years of the American Psychological Association

Edited by Wade E. Pickren and Alexandra Rutherford

This 125th anniversary volume describes the history of the American Psychological Association. From its origins in the late nineteenth century, through the two World Wars and the turbulence of the 1960s, to the economic uncertainties of the 1970s and 1980s, the APA’s development has mirrored the growth of psychology as a discipline in the United States.

This special 125th anniversary edition describes the challenges and triumphs that have marked the association’s early years in the twenty-first century.

 

 

Writing Your Psychology Research Paper

By Scott A. Baldwin

This encouraging primer for undergraduates explains how to write a clear, compelling, well-organized research paper. From picking a promising topic, to finding and digesting the pertinent literature, to developing a thesis, to outlining and presenting ideas, to editing for clarity and concision—each step is broken down and illustrated with examples. A bonus chapter discusses how to combat procrastination. Students learn that the best writing is done in chunks over long periods of time, and that writing is a skill that improves with practice.

 

 

 

Designing and Proposing Your Research Project

By Jennifer Brown Urban and Bradley Matheus van Eeden-Moorefield

Designing your own study and writing your research proposal takes time, often more so than conducting the study. This practical, accessible guide walks you through the entire process. You will learn to identify and narrow your research topic, develop your research question, design your study, and choose appropriate sampling and measurement strategies. The figures, tables, and exhibits offer a wealth of relatable examples and tools to apply concepts, including activities and worksheets to practice alone or in groups with other students.

 

 

 

Graduate Study in Psychology, 2018 Edition

Graduate Study in Psychology is the best source of information related to graduate programs in psychology and provides information related to approximately 600 graduate programs in psychology in the U.S. and Canada.

Graduate Study in Psychology, 2018 Edition contains information about the number of applications received by a program; the number of individuals accepted in each program; dates for applications and admission; types of information required for an application (GRE scores, letters of recommendation, documentation concerning volunteer or clinical experience, etc.); in-state and out-of-state tuition costs; availability of internships and scholarships; employment information of graduates; orientation and emphasis of departments and programs; plus other relevant information.

Women’s Day: Be Bold for Change

International Women’s Day is March 8, and the theme of this year’s holiday is “Be Bold for Change.” The campaign challenges us to help forge a more inclusive, gender-equal world. In particular, it calls on people everywhere to help women and girls achieve their ambitions, challenge conscious and unconscious bias, promote gender-balanced leadership, value women and men’s contributions equally, and create flexible inclusive cultures. womens-day-2110797_1920

Although feminism and the psychology of women began with an emphasis on White, middle-class women, they have become much broader in recent years. Increasingly, scholarly work in this area focuses on the intersection of women’s multiple social identities, including race, ethnicity, sexual orientation, nationality, socioeconomic status, religion, ability, and age.

APA Books’ Psychology of Women series is designed to support and disseminate feminist scholarship that can improve the lives of women and other disempowered groups. The series explicitly seeks to promote a more diverse feminism.

A recent volume in the series, Womanist and Mujerista Psychologies: Voices of Fire, Acts of Courage, edited by Thema Bryant-Davis and Lillian Comas-Díaz, introduces the psychologies of womanists and mujeristas—African American women and Latinas, respectively, who have a broad and inclusive approach to feminism and liberation. Although the two psychologies differ (most notably in their racial and ethnic roots and histories of activism), they share an emphasis on spirituality and connection, creativity, self-definition, resiliency, and the liberation of all oppressed peoples. The book explores the thoughts, feelings, behavior, learning, and development of African American and Latina women and girls, the risks and traumas they frequently experience, as well as the unique cultural strengths that can help promote fulfillment and empowerment.

 

Open Pages: Womanist and Mujerista Psychology

APA Books Open Pages is an ongoing series in which we share interesting tidbits from current & upcoming books. Find the full list by browsing the Open Pages tag. Here, we check out the introduction of Womanist and Mujerista Psychologies: Voices of Fire, Acts of Courage to find out what, briefly, these lesser-known terms mean:

“The term womanist was coined by Walker (1983): ‘a Black feminist or feminist of color committed to the survival and wholeness of entire people, male and female. Not a separatist, except periodically for health’ (p. xi). In other words, in addition to centralizing survival and wholeness of women and men, a womanist does not create a hierarchy between the rights against racism and sexism but sees both of these fights as necessary and central. Womanism is a sociopolitical framework that centralizes race, gender, class, and sexuality as central markers of women’s lived experiences (Brown-Douglas, 1993). It moves beyond the compartmentalizing of Black women’s experience as is often seen in feminism and multiculturalism and moves toward an integrated perspective and analysis.” (pp. 5-6).

“As a construct, mujerismo (from the Spanish word mujer, meaning woman) emerged when Latina feminist theologians baptized themselves as mujeristas (Isasi-Diaz, 1994). Mujerismo is Latina womanism (Comas-Diaz, 2008; Meija et al., 2013; Ojeda, 2014). Indeed, the conceptual and political translation of womanist into Spanish is mujerista…like womanists, mujeristas embrace an interdisciplinary perspective. They endorse inclusion as an essential ingredient for the movement’s continual development. In this way, diverse voices are not only welcomed but also sought after.” (pp. 7-8).

 

Bryant-Davis, T., & Comas-Diaz, L. (2016). Womanist and Mujerista Psychologies: Voices of Fire, Acts of Courage. Washington, DC: American Psychological Association.

Shari Miles-Cohen & Caroline Signore: On Women With Disabilities

This is the latest in a series of interviews with APA Books authors. In this interview, Tyler Aune, Editorial Supervisor at APA Books, spoke with Shari Miles-Cohen PhD, Senior Director of the Women’s Programs Office at the American Psychological Association, and Caroline Signore, MD, MPH, a board-certified obstetrician-gynecologist and a fellow of the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG).  Their book, Eliminating Inequities for Women with Disabilities: An Agenda for Health and Wellness was recently released by APA Books.   

Note: The opinions expressed in this interview are those of the authors and should not be taken to represent the official views or policies of the American Psychological Association.

 

 

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Shari E. Miles-Cohen, PhD, is Senior Director, Women’s Programs Office (WPO) at the American Psychological Association (APA).  Dr. Miles-Cohen has received funding from the National Science Foundation and the US Department of Health and Human Services, Office of Women Health to explore the educational needs and health care needs of women with disabilities. Prior to joining APA, she served in leadership positions with university-based and independent non-profit organizations working to improve the lives of women and girls, including the African American Women’s Institute, the Society for the Psychological Study of Social Issues, and the Women’s Research and Education Institute. Dr. Miles-Cohen holds a Bachelor of Arts from the University of Colorado at Boulder, and a Master of Science and a Doctor of Philosophy in Personality Psychology from Howard University.

 

Caroline Signore

Caroline Signore, MD, MPH, is a board-certified obstetrician-gynecologist, and a Fellow of the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG).  Her interest in the reproductive health care needs of women with disabilities arose in 1996, when, shortly after completing her residency training, she sustained a traumatic cervical spinal cord injury. Since then, she has delivered a number of presentations on reproductive health and wellness in women with disabilities, served as a guest reviewer for a handbook on health for women with disabilities in developing countries, and authored chapters for women’s health textbooks. From 2004 to 2009, Dr. Signore served as an Advisory Board member to an American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists committee to produce resources to assist ACOG members with providing quality reproductive health care to women with disabilities.

What’s great about your book is that you don’t just describe the problem: You also lay out a very detailed agenda for reform, with specific information about what needs to change, and where. And I was really struck by how hopeful the language in that chapter is.  Did you feel hopeful all the way through this project?

Shari: I think we’re both hopeful people by nature, so that helps.  But I also think, if I can name the problem, I can solve the problem.  We may need a lot of people, we may need a lot of money, but there is a solution out there for almost everything.  And for me, the solution is trying to meld the behavioral and physical health structures to better serve women with disabilities.

Caroline: Well, sometimes I didn’t think this book would ever get finished!  But that aside, I agree with Shari, we are hopeful people, and I also believe that if you name the problem you can start to fix it.  We realistically know nothing’s going to change overnight, but there are incremental steps, and this book will serve a guide for people who may be drawn into the field, or who are already here, doing the work that needs to be done.

Shari: I feel like I learned a lot, coming to these issues from a psychologist’s background.  I have a better understanding now of physicians and what they need, and how they think, and what challenges they may have with integrated care.  Because you lose a little bit of autonomy when you start to share, and that can be challenging for people from different disciplines.  And so that was really helpful, because it’s much easier to communicate that path forward when you have a better sense of what the other people who will be part of the team are thinking.

Caroline: I have to say I came into the project not understanding what integrated care is, and Shari has been a patient teacher.  But the more I understood it, the more I thought: This makes so much sense! Why are we so siloed?  Integrated care is especially important for underserved populations, who could really use extra care and guidance.  Particularly in areas like biopsychosocial models of care that aren’t taught in medical school, that physicians may feel poorly equipped to handle on their own.  I’m hopeful that this book can educate physicians about how to provide better care to women with disabilities.

 

Shirley Chisolm, the first black female member of the U.S. congress, said that she faced more obstacles in her life because of her gender than her race. At the risk of oversimplifying a very complex issue, do you think women with disabilities face more discrimination because of their gender, or because of their disability?

Caroline: Without question, in the health care setting, especially in the reproductive health care setting, women with disabilities feel a-gendered. They feel that their caregivers don’t think of them as women.  And that’s very troubling, for them and for me.  Not only are there physical barriers to actually getting to a doctor’s office.  But to not get information, or careful, complete care [in reproductive and sexual health] because of an assumption on the part of the caregiver that’s wrong, is really galling.

Shari: It’s hard for me to separate the gender and the disability, or the gender and the race. A woman with a disability is intact, a gestalt; she is one person.  It’s all in there together, and you can’t really separate them out.  You have to work hard to separate them.  In some ways, physicians and psychologists and others are working against human nature when they a-gender a person coming into the office.

 

So it takes effort to discriminate. I never thought about it that way before.

 Shari: I think it does, yeah.  You have to work at it, right?  I think you have to work hard to see people in that way.

 

Research shows that women with disabilities who live in poverty and particularly in rural areas are at especially high risk for poor outcomes. And these are outcomes that may be difficult to change, given that many of the accommodations you describe in this book will be made to medical facilities that are far away from where they live.  What can we do for these people? 

Caroline: Telehealth is really promising.  Today you can FaceTime with most anybody, almost everybody has a smartphone now.  And even in rural areas, if you can’t physically go to the physician’s office—heck, I’d rather FaceTime with my doctor than actually have to go to his office, it’s just so much easier.  I have high hopes for the incorporation of telemedicine into care in general, and especially care for people who have

difficulty traveling—not just women with disabilities, all people with disabilities, geriatric populations; there’s a lot of care we can give without actually putting two people physically in front of each other.

Shari: Along with technology, infrastructure also has to change.  The smartphone and the monitor are important, but so are the wires and conduits running to rural communities.  So is educating doctors (and psychologists) that it’s a good thing to do, and educating patients that they can still get good care via telehealth.  But all of that’s doable, it just takes education.  We need to educate policymakers here [in Washington], and in the States, using the State Psychological Associations and State Medical Associations to get them engaged in the conversation.

 

Making people aware of the urgent challenges that this population faces, as you’ve done in this book, is obviously enormously beneficial. What are the next steps? 

Shari: We’re seeing women with disabilities across the country who are really engaged in making change.  The book can help give them have a better sense of what the entire map looks like, and how they can be most strategically engaged.  Because one of the things that Caroline and I talk a lot about is, how do you change the ways that physicians and psychologists are educated?  It’s all about teaching hours.  Well, how do you get a school to dedicate teaching hours to the issues women with disabilities face?  One way is that you change the standards: What’s gonna be on the board exam, right?  So how do you get that done?  There are all these steps.  In addition to public education efforts which bring  attention to the issue, raising visibility, there are other complementary activities, such as professional development, research, and policy efforts, which we discuss at some length in the book’s recommendations section, that together can help to bring about change.

Caroline: This is not a completely ignored issue.  But it is underrecognized.  And understudied.  It isn’t just a matter of psychological care or medical care.  It is also a matter of civil rights, and politics, and policy, and that makes it a little more complex.  We must have patience, as each person tries to get the word out.  My hope is that our work will be viewed as a standard textbook for disabilities studies.  I would love to see it in medical schools, nursing schools, psychology classes, graduate education.  The more people know about it, the more we can get done.