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The question of gender, political and psychotherapeutic issues.

Le genre



The body and the sex are a political affair, as long as we say something about it in the public space and that social and normative processes try to impose it. The Anglo-Saxon studies on gender (gender studies), founded in particular by Judith Butler and Gloria Anzaldúa, introduce the passage, on the question of sex and sexuality, from a purely biological logic to that of an eminently social construction , environmental and cultural. This approach transcends a dual reasoning often formulated in terms of "truth", and opens the reflection towards a plurality of experiences, some majority of other minority, but all recognized as legitimate to exist.

This paradigm is still frayed today a thin wake, so the tumultuous hubbub of its detractors constantly pollute the dialogue. The arbitrary assignment of gender imposed by hetero-normed social structures results in the exclusion of millions of people throughout the world, and various endangerment to persecution and death. This central reality makes it difficult to take a position on the delicate genre from the sphere of health, because rumors and ideologies of all kinds influence different strata of thought. But precisely because of the stakes it represents for individuals, it is fundamental to do so.

From the obsession with "knowledge" about sex to the exacerbation of "power"

Foucault's work already pointed to the extent to which "doing society" is built on a redundant obsession with the mastery of knowledge about sex. This "knowledge" decides, for example, arbitrarily, that the sexuality of an individual represents its most intimate part, and by renewing ever more exclusive norms. Laurie Laufer also underlines today how the implacable logic of the dominant discourse of our time, on the pretext of so-called "scientific" arguments, seeks to reduce the questions related to gender to a marginal place. The loop is complete: not only can the very definition of the genre not be deployed, but the epistemological disrespect of studies feeds this process of discrimination to an even more insidious and systemic measure. This element also easily explains the proximity between "gender studies" and "cultural studies", the question of culture being subject to the same epistemological treatment.

The throes of these dynamics of power and domination are part of the psyche from early childhood, and have many consequences on the construction of identity. Butler says in "The story of self": Defining an identity in terms that are culturally available amounts to posing a definition that precludes in advance the possibility that new concepts of identity emerge.

These same norms have unfortunately been able to extend to care spaces. Medical, political and ethical standards have led, for a very long time, and even today, to a massive psychiatrisation which imposes as deviant or pathological the experiences of gender and sexuality that do not fit directly into the beam of the hetero -normativité. This stigmatization in itself gives rise to considerable psychic malaise, and the awareness of these mechanisms of exclusion and their psychological consequences on individual and collective identities is the first basis for a secure psychotherapeutic welcome of everyone.

Our positioning

Beyond methodological precautions in the reception of people, psychotherapy is an eminently political act, since it claims from the outset in a protection and respect of all singularities.

It seems important to us, as psychotherapists, to position ourselves clearly on these issues and to make our approach explicit. We believe that the development of each one must be able to proceed in a free way, free from statutes that would make sense only in a pre-established order, often representing a straitjacket for the individual.

Vigilantes on the standards of "normality", which remains in our eyes a hollow concept, we ensure the dynamic transparency of the position of the therapist, its constant analysis of the mechanisms filigree its positioning, and its enrichment through multidisciplinary dialogue but also with non-academic knowledge.

Our positioning with regard to gender issues is thus combined with our inter-cultural epistemology: self-narrative and respect for vulnerability can not suffer from any nosographic determinism.

Nadia Essaadi

Parwa Mounoussamy

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For further...

  •  Anzaldúa, G. Borderlands/La Frontera: The New Mestiza. San Francisco : Aunt lute books, 1987
  • Butler, J. Le Pouvoir des mots. Politique du performatif, traduction de Charlotte Nordmannavec la collaboration de Jérôme Vidal, Éditions Amsterdam, Paris, 2004
  • Butler, J. Trouble dans le genre. Pour un féminisme de la subversion, préface d’Eric Fassin, traduction de Cynthia Kraus, La Découverte, Paris, 2005 (ISBN978-2-7071-5018-9)
  • Butler, J. Le Récit de soi, traduit de l’anglais par Bruno Ambroise et Valérie Aucouturier, Paris, Puf, 2007.(ISBN978-2-13-055551-3) ; version française du livre Giving an account of oneself
  • Foucault, M. Dits et Écrits, vol. 1 : 1954-1969, Paris, Gallimard, coll. « Bibliothèque des Sciences humaines », 1994
  • Foucault, M. Histoire de la sexualité, vol. 1 : La volonté de savoir, Paris, Gallimard, 1976
  • Laufer, L. Quand dire, c’est exclure. Cliniques méditerranéennes, ERES 2016, Les figures actuelles de la ségrégation, pp.21-36.

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