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Dena L. Anthony, Ph.D.
San Francisco, Palo Alto, Albany
(510) 525-6156
Online interview by Jaleh for Yahoo! Contributor Network. Feb 3, 2011

An Interview with Clinical Psychologist Dena Anthony, PhD

Do you find it challenging as a woman to maintain your self-esteem in the corporate world? Are you unsure about what you can do to continue working in the corporate world and have a healthy sense of yourself? To help understand what type of challenges corporate women typically face that can impact their self-esteem and what you can do to maintain that self-esteem while being a corporate woman, I have interviewed Clinical Psychologist Dena Anthony, PhD.

Tell me a little bit about yourself.
"I came to do what I love rather late. I am a psychologist now, having been a Mathematics professor at universities and a technical training group founder and director in Silicon Valley. My research was on women in corporations. So I know the professional world from several perspectives. Most of my therapy patients are professional women and men seeking fulfillment in their lives, relationships and work. I do emotion-focused, attachment-based healing work with both couples and individuals. And I do psychotherapy in prisons, including with condemned inmates. I also enjoy three children and five grandchildren."

What type of challenges does a corporate woman face, which can impact her self esteem?
"One of the biggest challenges a corporate woman can face stems from the basic difference between men's and women's brains and hormones. A woman may sometimes have a broader perspective on how to get a task accomplished or a project completed. She may be more likely to take into account the well being of the group's participants, and work to see that they are taken care of so that they can work productively. She may use relational means to reach the company's goals rather than always competing for the top position in her group. Her male colleagues and bosses may misinterpret this as being soft, not focused on the final goal or not understanding the competition within their company. When a woman's natural productivity is not recognized, but is used to demean her, her self-esteem can suffer terribly. When this happens repeatedly, it can result in serious damage to her mental and physical health."

How can a woman maintain her self-esteem in the corporate world?
"It is important that a woman who is suffering assaults to her self-esteem care for herself in feminine kinds of ways. She must pay attention to who she is, what her innate values are and what is going on around her and inside of her. She must determine how to nurture herself and get her job done in a way that is congruent with her values. This may involve spending time with other women in similar circumstances in women's organizations and in women's therapy groups. Many exemplary men also see and can support a woman's struggles. Maintaining self-esteem can involve seeking professional help from a psychologist who understands the nature of corporations, how they can impact women negatively and what women's unique contributions might be."

What type of professional help is available for a corporate woman who is having a challenging time maintaining her self-esteem?
"Some human resources divisions or diversity organizations within a company offer assistance in the form of talks, groups and general support. There are also professional women's organizations for specific professions that can be very supportive and even helpful in seeking change and redressing wrongs if that is needed. When her self-esteem is under the gun, the wise woman will find a psychologist to supply the support and understanding that she needs in order to maintain her own worth, her own truth, and her mental and physical health."

What last advice would you like to leave for a corporate woman?
"Pay attention to who your boss is. A boss who appreciates you and encourages you to grow personally and in your profession can be worth more than many other considerations, even such things as greater avenues of advancement.

Maintain perspective. You and your own personal growth as a whole person and a competent professional are more important than reaching that external "Type A" goal that may provide a false hope of bolstering your self-esteem. Self-esteem is an inside job that also needs support from the right people outside, like bosses, colleagues and friends who appreciate you."

Thank you Dr. Anthony for doing the interview on how to maintain self esteem while being a corporate woman. For more information on Dr. Anthony or her work you can check out her website on www.waysofknowing.com.