The Most Influential Psychologist: The contributions of feminist therapy
Feminist therapists have assisted other therapists in answering questions pertaining to basic assumptions of the profession in regards to woman. Feminist therapists hold the belief that "the person is political." Along with this belief, feminist therapy has contributed greatly to the counseling and the psychotherapy professions.
"The person is political," is rooted in the fundamental goal of feminist practice, which is social transformation: to change the status quo and to improve the well-being and status of all women. Because clients' individual problems have societal and political roots, feminist therapy aims for individual change and for social change. Thus, feminists view their therapy practice as existing to assist individual clients in their struggles; and also view their therapy as a strategy for advancing a transformation in society because direct action for social change is imperative within the therapeutic setting (Corey, 2001). Therefore, the goal of feminist therapy is to advance a differing vision of societal organizations to free gender-role expectations.
Comprehension of the contributions of feminist therapy requires that one must first understand how feminist therapy originated. Feminist therapy originated during the 1960s during the woman's movement. During this period, women united in vocalizing their dissatisfaction over the restrictiveness of traditional female roles. Traditional therapeutic approaches can be and are helpful; however, feminist therapy is distinct in its addressing the role of gender in psychological distress because gender is a reality that shapes our behavior and our world is organized through gender influence. Thus, feminist therapy recognizes that environmental pressures affect a woman's identity; women live in a world dominated by males and masculine patterns of thought and behavior, and a patriarchal society (Guindon, 2007). Consequently, the feminist therapy, and the contributions of the therapy, grew out of this recognition.
Feminist therapy, recognizing environmental pressures and the affect on a woman's identity, grew out of this acknowledgment; therefore, the contributions of feminist therapy grew to include: paving the way for gender-sensitive practice; the commitment to applying gender-fair principles in therapy endeavors; the sensitivity to the gendered uses of power in therapeutic relationships; helping families reorganize structures so that neither the woman nor that man remains stuck in destructive patterns; having made important contributions in questioning traditional counseling theories; removing "blinders" so that everyone can see certain realities more clearly; demanding action in cases of sexual misconduct (Corey, 2001). Because feminist therapists are committed to actively breaking down the hierarchy of power within therapeutic relationships via various interventions, numerous suggestions and strategies have become unique within feminist therapy. As a result feminist therapy has contributed to the belief that counseling theory ought to be gender-free, flexible, interactioninst, and life-span oriented.
Feminist therapists have assisted other therapists in answering questions pertaining to basic assumptions of the profession in regards to woman. Feminist therapists hold the belief that "the person is political" because women, come into counseling with a sense of powerlessness, a fear of trust in themselves, and a lack of identity. Feminist therapy has, thus, contributed greatly to the counseling and the psychotherapy professions by providing traditional therapies that encourage independence and self-sufficiency in women.
Corey, Gerald (2001). Theory and Practice of Counseling and Psychotherapy. The
United States: Brooks/Cole Thomson Learning.
Guindon, Mary, (2007). Feminist Therapy: What's it all about? Selfhelp Magazine.
Pioneer Development Resources, Inc. Retrieved on July 21, 2007, from, http://www.selfhelpmagazine.com/articles/women/femther.html