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Susie Orbach video: Forces of Attack and Sources for Change in Women’s Mental Health

Susie Orbach, leading psychoanalyst and women’s therapy pioneer, discusses the huge structural forces attacking contemporary women and their bodies – and reflects on how therapists might help to fight back.

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It may be a “bloody hard thing to deal with in individual therapy, frankly”. But if we really want to help the struggling women in our consulting rooms, we need to understand the way in which their bodies are under attack – from structural forces, from commercial forces, and in a world where individualism is stripping away our collective power to fight back.  

This is the powerful message Susie Orbach delivers in the free video below – a recording of the lively conversation that opened PESI UK’s landmark 2021 Women, Trauma and Mental Health conference.

As urgent as it is wide-ranging, this three-way dialogue finds the highly influential psychoanalyst, feminist, author, social critic and co-founder of the Women’s Therapy Centre in conversation with clinical psychologist Eboni Webb and director of PESI UK, Tracy Jarvis.

The three clinicians share their own and their clients’ experiences of being a woman today, and reflect on the role of the therapist within a wider social and political context.

What hurts and needs does Susie feel many contemporary women’s symptoms are expressing?

In what way are women’s bodies being destabilised?

What aspect of the advice Susie gave in her classic book Fat is a Feminist Issue would she like to update?

And what do we all require in order to “dare to change”?

Susie also discusses her current focus on supporting expectant mothers, and her concerns about the impact of social media on women and girls’ mental health.  

“If you look at the fashion industry, the food industry, the beauty industry, not only do they pollute and ravage the world but they pollute and ravage girls from a very early age,” Susie says. “And they are the territory we are offered for pleasure…”

Watch this free video to join Susie, Eboni and Tracy as they assess the challenges facing women, and therapy with women, today. You’ll also get to share in Susie’s frank words of advice for anyone who wants to fight gender inequality… but may be feeling disillusioned by the backlash and daunted by the sheer scale of the task.


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The PESI UK Blog: our lively editorial platform, serving you with enriching and engaging reads from world-leading therapists, psychologists and other key voices several times a week.

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