Therapeutic itineraries of 'depressed' women in Greece: Power relationships and agency in therapeutic pluralism
This paper explores the treatment quests followed by women diagnosed with depression at the local centre for mental health. The data resulting from this investigation were collected during ethnographic research conducted in 1998 and 2001 from an urban context in north-western Greece. 'Depression' was analysed as a medicalized form of female suffering in a Greek context, and three aspects of therapeutic pluralism were examined. The criteria through which patients prioritise certain practitioners over others, the role exerted by relatives in treatment research and manners of reconciliation of contradictory and heteroclite types of therapy were all investigated. In encounters with male practitioners (psychiatrists, priests and mediums) and close relatives attempting to help find a remedy in order to avoid stigmatization of mental disorder, female patients appear to oscillate between gender and healing powers. The field of therapeutic itineraries interacts with gender power relations to produce various technologies of discipline and practices of resistance as female patients are subjected to the bipolar power of male healers and their male relatives. These gender dynamics are interfaced in the broader competition for therapeutic authority between institutional psychiatry, the Orthodox Church and other alternative healers. Copyright © Taylor & Francis.