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Chapter Ten: Feminist Theory and Therapy
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Chapter Ten: Feminist Theory and Therapy

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  1. Chapter Ten: Feminist Theory and Therapy

  2. Historical Context and Key Figures • Many women contribute throughout history • Jean Miller Baker • Karen Horney • Helene Deutch • Clara Thompson • Anna Freud • Margaret Mahler

  3. Feminism: Working Definition • …the belief that human beings are of equal worth and that the pervading patriarchal social structures which perpetuate a hierarch of dominance, based upon gender, must be resisted and transformed toward a more equitable system (Funderburk and Fukuyama)

  4. Theoretical Principles of Feminst Theory and Therapy • Male as normative • Femaleness/Maleness central to identity • Dominant culture damages those who don’t fit • Consciousness is part of healing and change

  5. Theory of Psychopathology • Pathology, or disorders are simply names for the damage done by dominant culture

  6. The Practice of Feminist Therapies • Preparing yourself • Preparing your client • Assessment Issues and Procedures

  7. Specific Therapy Techniques • Assessment includes: • Self-esteem • Gender role comfort • Communication • Issues in intimacy and body

  8. Extended Case Example • Dr. Laura Brown and Ellen (from video demonstration)

  9. Therapy Outcomes Research Standardized measure may not demonstrate power and effect of feminist therapy

  10. Multicultural Perspectives • Much common ground between multicultural advocates and feminists • Feminists have been criticized for omitting women of color and women from other cultures in their theories.

  11. Concluding Comments • Still many needs faced by women and minorities • Feminist therapies will continue to evolve

  12. Student Review Assignments • Critical corner • Reviewing key terms • Review questions

  13. Critical Corner • Feminist therapists readily admit that one outcome they hope for, client by client, is a change in the way society functions. Is this a political agenda, or just a rather ambitious therapeutic goal for society? If it is a political agenda, is therapy really the place to promote it?

  14. Critical Corner (continued) • Feminism is in direct contradiction to some of the teachings regarding women’s roles of many of the world’s largest religions, although feminists can be found within each of these religions as well. Can a feminist therapist work ethically and effectively with clients who believe many feminist tenets are wrong? If so, how?

  15. Critical Corner (continued) • A pillar of feminist theory is that humans must learn to live in ways that share power. Egalitarian relationships, rather than heirarchical, are the goal. Yet the therapist has the benefit of title, being paid, setting boundaries, and being the authority. Are these power differentials paradoxical to feminist therapy? Can they be overcome?

  16. Review Key Terms • The personal is political • Consciousness-raising • Gender-roles • Power • Egalitarian relationships • Feminist

  17. Key Terms (continued) • Biology is destiny • Subjugation • Hierarchy • Exploitation • Diversity

  18. Review Questions • Assuming you’ve read the chapters in order, you’re approaching the end of this text. You should be able to identify aspects of earlier theorists evidenced in the techniques and goals of feminist therapy. See if you can list ways the following theoretical orientations are compatible with feminist work: • Adlerian • Jungian • Person-centered • Reality Therapy • Cognitive-behavioral

  19. Review Questions • How does philosophical feminism inform and shape feminist therapy? • What would you say are the most important of the eight tenets of feminist psychology from Worell & Remer?

  20. Review Questions • What distinguishes the ethics code for feminist therapists from other general ethical guidelines? • Freud supposedly believed that biology is destiny. How would a feminist therapist argue this statement?