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February 1979

The Psychotherapeutic Impact of Women's Consciousness-Raisingnn Groups

Author Affiliations

From the Departments of Behavioral Sciences (Human Development) (Drs Lieberman and Bond) and Psychiatry (Dr Lieberman), and the Committee on Human Development (Ms Solow and Ms Reibstein), University of Chicago, and the Department of Psychiatry, Northwestern University, Chicago (Dr Bond).

Arch Gen Psychiatry. 1979;36(2):161-168. doi:10.1001/archpsyc.1979.01780020051004

• The psychotherapeutic impact of women's consciousnessraising (CR) groups was assessed for 32 women entering groups formed in suburban, middle-class communities. Changes occurring over a six-month period were examined through pre-CR group and follow-up questionnaires and intensive interviews. Women increased in self-esteem and identification with the Women's Movement, but symptom distress was not alleviated, nor were marital relationships affected. While women expressed more positive self attitudes with greater feelings of autonomy and assertiveness, few participants manifested life-style or behavioral changes. The CR groups in this study thus served a limited psychotherapeutic function. In addition, CR and professional psychotherapy were seen as complementary and not as antagonistic help-giving systems.