FEMINIST THERAPY

This theory encompasses several philosophical positions, with three primary orientations: liberal, socialist, and radical. In general, feminist therapy argues that women are disadvantaged due to gender, sex, sexuality, and other minority categories (i.e. age, race, religion), and they suffer problems due to social and political forces disempowering women. Feminist Theory seeks to equalize the therapeutic relationship at all levels, and works to correct gender bias and stereotyping that has existed in traditional therapies in regard to blaming victims, beliefs and assumptions about traditional family, lack of representation of women in the general psychological discourse, and a general belief that women are not held in an egalitarian view.

Techniques:

1. Gender analysis and intervention - the counselor explores with the client to assist the client in understanding the impact of gender role expectations in the client's life and how social issues impact personal issues.

2. Power analysis and power intervention - the therapist assists the client in the discovery of the power differences between the sexes in society, understanding the power the client possesses, and understanding how all individuals exercise power.

3. Assertiveness training - provides specific training and insight to raise women's awareness of their interpersonal rights, assist in transcending stereotyped sex roles, and alter negative belief systems to change daily patterns, actions, and interactions.

4. Reframing - the therapist assists the client in altering the client's frame of reference for her own behavior, shifting from intrapersonal to interpersonal focus to define her issues.

5. Bibliotherapy - the counselor encourages reading on gender issues, gender role stereotypes, gender inequality, how sexism is promoted, topical issues (i.e. obsession with thinness, obsession with specific types of beauty markers), power differentials between the sexes, assertiveness, coping skills, and more. Reading empowers the client and allows the client to make informed choices.

6. Relabeling - the client is to alter the evaluation or label given to a behavioral characteristic from a negative to a positive. For example: Jane begins to speak about herself as a strong, healthy woman with a great smile rather than inadequate in another way because she is not society's definition of "thin."

7. Self-disclosure - disclosing to the client assists in equalizing the therapeutic relationship and provides modeling.