Feminist therapy

Feminist therapy

Feminist therapy is a set of related therapies arising from the disparity between the origin of most psychological theories and the majority of people seeking counseling being female. It focuses on societal, cultural, and political causes and solutions to issues faced in the counseling process. It openly encourages the client to participate in the world in a more social and political way.

The Basic Tenets of Feminist Therapy

Feminist therapy has emerged from the recognition that much of human suffering is a result of the unequal distribution of power in society, particularly based upon gender, race and ethnicity, class, dis/ability, sexual orientation, and so forth. These power differentials have been a factor in direct injuries such as sexual assault as well as indirect ones such as limited options. A feminist approach implies a commitment to social change. The practice of feminist therapy is thus politicized in both its theoretical understanding of the causes of injury as well as in its enactment. A collaborative and respectful working relationship is therefore at the foundation of feminist therapy. [Worell, J. & Remer, P. "Feminist perspectives in therapy: Empowering diverse women". Second Ed., John Wiley & Sons, Inc., 2003.]

The basic tents of feminist therapy have been summarized by Lenore Walker as follows [cite book | last = Sundberg | first = Norman | title = Clinical Psychology: Evolving Theory, Practice, and Research | publisher = Prentice Hall | location = Englewood Cliffs | year = 2001 | isbn = 0130871192 ] :
* Egalitarian relations between the therapist and client,
* Empowerment and independence for women,
* Enhancement of women's strengths rather than attention to their weaknesses,
* Lack of emphasis on pathology and blaming of victims,
* Education for different sex-role patterns, and
* Acceptance and validation of feelings.

Goals of therapy

Five principal goals of therapy exist. [Carol Enns, "Feminist theories and feminist psychotherapies: Origins, themes, and diversity", Second Ed., Haworth, 2004.]

* Equality
* Balancing independence and interdependence
* Empowerment
* Self-nurturance
* Valuing diversity

Therapeutic strategies

The following strategies are typical of feminist therapy:Fact|date=January 2008

* Empowerment
* Self-disclosure
* Gender-role analysis
* Gender-role intervention
* Power analysis and power intervention
* Bibliotherapy
* Assertiveness training
* Reframing and relabeling
* Group work
* Social action

Contributors to feminist therapy

* Judith Worrell
* Pam Remer [ [http://www.uky.edu/Education/EDP/edpfac.html] official website. ]
* Sandra Bem
* Laura Brown [ [http://www.drlaurabrown.com/ Laura Brown] official website.]
* Jean Baker Miller [ [http://www.wellesley.edu/JBMTI/index.html Jean Baker Miller] on Wellesley College.]
* Carolyn Enns [ [http://people.cornellcollege.edu/cenns/ Carolyn Enns] on Cornell College.]
* Ellyn KaschakFact|date=January 2008
* Bonnie Burstow [ [http://www.amazon.com/dp/0803947887 Amazon.com: Radical Feminist Therapy: Working in the Context of Violence: Bonnie Burstow: Books ] ]

References


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