Feminist Therapy


Feminist Therapy

Feminist Therapy is based on the idea that no one gender should make decisions based off of stereotypical roles. Being that as individuals we all have our own course of life therapy implements the idea that we should not have to abide by gender expectations. Instead of following the standards many women choose to attend Feminist Therapy and benefit from a strengthening approach. Treatment builds a setting for the client and supports them in working toward self empowerment. The counselor is a support system and helps the individual find an identity and purpose. Traditional approach is the counselor assisting patients in finding some of their greatest strengths instead of “diagnosing” them. When the client makes a goal to take a more active role within their own lives it shapes the treatment and reduces the difference of power in current environments.

Goals of Feminist Therapy

During therapy the counselor will work with the client and focus on eliminating the vulnerability that may stem from gender roles. Therapists will acknowledge ethnicity, class or sexual orientation. The purpose of Feminist Therapy is helping the individual eliminate their thoughts and feelings on gender standard and encourage them to explore or create their own identity. When an effective relationship’s been created between the counselor and patient there is also a greater understanding which builds trust and allows for progressive change.

When is Feminist Therapy Used?

Feminist Therapy is used when either gender has an issue in dealing with cultural context. Although the patient may know what is best within their own lives - they may be in need of a support system that can break down the sociopolitical stance. Treatment is used when individuals benefit from a strengthened identity or support system. It challenges a traditional way of looking at psychology and the assumed position of genders or social changes. Patients are recommended when they need encouragement in taking social action.

How Feminist Therapy Works

Feminist Therapy works by creating a partnership between the counselor and the client. It isn’t a traditional session because it focuses on providing the individual with superior knowledge. Being that culture is continuously changing there are some areas that need to be developed further pertaining to subjects such as body image and eating disorders. The concepts may relate to sexual abuse or incest. There are various philosophies that are taught during the session that have to do with culture shifts. The education works by creating an approach that is gender fair and providing the patient with a full understanding of the current social approach. The counselor teaches the individual components that relate to the development of the personality and society’s expectations.

Topics cover how the gender role defines women and how it develops their morality or function. Having this understanding builds strength in the client and helps them understand subjects that lead to identity healing. With each session the client gains a deeper understanding of the gender schema theory and behaviors that are deemed either feminine or masculine. Depending on how many sessions it takes the patient will soon trust the process and build a constructive identity. Self awareness is created as well as an education on the development of gender role expectations.

When the client begins to grow familiar with themselves they will then be able to adopt their own role and consider current relationships with others. Skills will be taught to promote change and take the gender bias away from the client. Methods work towards creating new institutions and getting rid of any discriminatory ideas and beliefs. Eventually the behavior will begin to develop and the individual will choose freely rather than abide by behavior that has been imposed upon them by culture and predetermined gender roles. The education provided during Feminist Therapy is based on the idea that at the core of our self we are impacted by society and developmental experiences which in turn changes our personality. We grow and change throughout our lives as a result of our internal and environmental influences. By understanding change and accepting the individual self, clients learn how to function and create a purpose that is empowering.

Criticism of Feminist Therapy

Experts argue that the Feminist Therapy points toward the concept of maleness in an offensive manner; that this belief alone is a dysfunctional perception of gender roles. It is common that these clients interacted with unloving men. This in turn may have resulted in disdain and generalization. Experts point out that Feminist Therapy rejects the truth that there are scientific differences amongst men and women.


Feminist therapy code of ethics. (n.d.). Retrieved from http://www.chrysaliscounseling.org/Feminist_Therapy.html

Feminist therapy concepts. (n.d.). Retrieved from http://femtherapy.wordpress.com/sources/

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