My watch list  

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.


Shared concepts in 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. [1]

  • The personal is political
  • Personal and social identities are interdependent
  • Conventional distress and "mental illness" concepts are challenged
  • The role of oppression is central
  • The counseling relationship is egalitarian
  • Women's perspectives are valued

Principal styles of feminist therapies

The principal styles noted here correspond to different types of feminism[2].

  • Liberal
  • Cultural
  • Radical
  • Socialist
  • Postmodern
  • Women of color
  • Lesbian
  • Global-international

Goals of therapy

Five principal goals of therapy exist[3]

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

Therapeutic strategies

The following strategies are typical of feminist therapy[2].

  • 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

  • Sandra Bem
  • Laura Brown [1]
  • Jean Baker Miller [2]
  • Carolyn Enns [3]
  • Ellyn Kaschak


  1. ^ Worell, J. & Remer, P. Feminist perspectives in therapy: Empowering diverse women. Second Ed., John Wiley & Sons, Inc., 2003
  2. ^ a b
  3. ^ Carol Enns, Feminist theories and feminist psychotherapies: Origins, themes, and diversity, Second Ed., Haworth, 2004
This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia article "Feminist_therapy". A list of authors is available in Wikipedia.
Your browser is not current. Microsoft Internet Explorer 6.0 does not support some functions on Chemie.DE