Clinical Psychology and Adolescent Girls in a Postfeminist Era  book cover
1st Edition

Clinical Psychology and Adolescent Girls in a Postfeminist Era

ISBN 9781138104693
Published February 12, 2018 by Routledge
136 Pages 1 B/W Illustrations

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Book Description

Adolescent girls’ wellbeing is under threat. They face pressure to achieve academically while simultaneously negotiating a life dominated by social media, an unrelenting focus on appearance, cyberbullying, sexual harassment and ready access to pornography characterised by male violence to women.

The sociocultural environment presents significant risks for girls’ mental health, yet clinical psychology remains largely focused on the individual. Cultural factors are also overshadowed by postfeminist forces and a renewed emphasis on biological determinants of psychological sex differences. Clinical Psychology and Adolescent Girls in a Postfeminist Era goes back to first principles and revisits the question of the place of nature and nurture in children’s development, in the light of what we now know about neural plasticity, dynamic systems and gender socialisation. Feminism and its sometimes uncomfortable relationship with psychology is discussed, as are the meaning and implications of ‘postfeminism’, and whether girls have ‘special strengths’. Practice principles and specific ideas for practice with today’s girls are all included. Finally, there is a complementary chapter on working with adolescent boys.

Feminist writings about psychotherapy (with women) had their heyday some time ago, and some see boys as the ones who now need special attention. This book contends that the changing pressures of today’s western world call for a renewed interest in specialised practice with girls, taking account of up-to-date theories about child development, and exploring the idea of expanding clinical practice beyond the individual.

Table of Contents


Chapter 1. ‘There Is Something Deeply Worrying About Girls’ Wellbeing’

Chapter 2. Nature and Nurture in Child and Adolescent Development

Chapter 3. Becoming A Girl: Gender Socialisation

Chapter 4. Getting Political: Feminism, Postfeminism And Clinical Psychology

Chapter 5. Is There an Upside for Girls?

Chapter 6. Dynamic Systems and Feminism: Practice Principles

Chapter 7. Principles into Practice

Chapter 8. What About the Boys?


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Rosalyn H. Shute, BSc (Hons), PhD, is an Adjunct Professor at Flinders University, Australia. A former university Professor and paediatric psychologist, she has published extensively on adolescents’ experiences of peer aggression and harassment. Her recent books for Routledge (with Phillip Slee) include Child Development: Theories and Critical Perspectives (second edition, 2015), and Mental Health and Wellbeing through Schools: The way forward (co-edited, 2016).


Rosalyn Shute’s easy to read book covers the spectrum of feminism from ancient days to the present, stimulating the reader to reflect on their own individual, professional and societal experiences. A must read for undergraduate students to experienced psychologists who wish to enrich their professional practice.

Anne Gannoni, Advanced Practitioner- Clinical Psychologist, Women’s and Children’s Hospital, South Australia.