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Theory and Practice of Counseling and Psychotherapy

Theory and Practice of Counseling and Psychotherapy. MacDonald Feminist Therapy. Questions?. What are the differences in terms of gender-role socialization from this couple? What kinds of messages do you learn in terms of being a woman or being a man?

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Theory and Practice of Counseling and Psychotherapy

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  1. Theory and Practice of Counseling and Psychotherapy MacDonald Feminist Therapy

  2. Questions? • What are the differences in terms of gender-role socialization from this couple? • What kinds of messages do you learn in terms of being a woman or being a man? • How these gender-role expectations could impact you as a therapist?

  3. Key Concepts of Feminist Therapy • Problems are viewed in a sociopolitical and cultural context • The client knows what is best for her life and is the expert on her own life • Emphasis is on educating clients about the therapy process • Traditional ways of assessing psychological health are challenged • It is assumed that individual change will best occur through social change • Clients are encouraged to take social action

  4. Four Approaches to Feminist Therapy 1. Liberal Feminism • Focus • Helping individual women overcome the limits and constraints of their socialization patterns • Major goals • Personal empowerment of individual women • Dignity • Self-fulfillment • Equality

  5. Four Approaches to Feminist Therapy 2. Cultural Feminism • Oppression stems from society’s devaluation of women’s strengths • Emphasize the differences between women and men • Believe the solution to oppression lies in feminization of the culture • Society becomes more nurturing, cooperative, and relational • Major goal of therapy is the infusion of society with values based on cooperation

  6. Four Approaches to Feminist Therapy 3. Radical Feminism • Focus • Seek to change society through activism • Therapy is viewed as a political enterprise with the goal of transformation of society • Major goals • Transform gender relationships • Transform societal institutions • Increase women’s sexual and procreative self-determination.

  7. Four Approaches to Feminist Therapy 4. Socialist Feminism • Also have goal of societal change • Emphasis on multiple oppressions • Believe solutions to society’s problems must include consideration of: • Class • Race • Other forms of discrimination • Major goal of therapy is to transform social relationships and institutions

  8. View of Human Nature • Gender-fair • Differences between women and men are due to socialization processes • Flexible-multicultural • Apply equally to both individuals and groups regardless of age, race, culture, gender, class, sexual orientation, and ability. • Interactionist • Consider contextual and environmental factors • Life-span-oriented • Human development is a lifelong process and change can occur at any time

  9. Principles of Feminist Therapy • The personal is political • Personal and social identities are interdependent • The counseling relationship is egalitarian • Women’s experiences are honored • Definitions of distress and “mental illness” are reformulated • There is an integrated analysis of oppression

  10. Goals of Feminist Therapy • Five goals: • 1. Equality, 2. Balancing independence and interdependent, 3. Empowerment, 4. Self-nurturance, and 5.Valuing diversity • Two dimensions: • personal transformation (e.g., recognize personal power) • social changes (e..g, value equality relationship, stress interdependence, define themselves instead of defined by societal demands)

  11. Therapist’s function and Role • Use gender and power analyses to understand clients and their concerns • monitor their own biases • Understand oppression in all forms • Value being emotionally present for their clients, sharing their experiences, and modeling proactive behaviors • Use techniques from other approaches • Hold beliefs in common with humanistic and person-centered approach • Therapeutic relationship is not sufficient

  12. Client’s Experience in Therapy • Clients are active participants • Initially, clients may look to the therapist for advice • Gradually, clients trust more in their own power • After feeling understood, they get in touch with their feelings or “prohibited” emotions • Therapists share their struggles with gender-role oppression and clients realize that they are not alone • Expand support system outside of therapy, engage in social change, and feel empowered.

  13. Relationship Between Therapist and Client • The therapeutic relationship is based on empowerment and egalitarianism • The structure of the client-therapist relationship modelshow to identify and use power responsibly • Counselor self-disclosure to reduce the power differential and • Honor clients’ experiences • Include the client as an active partner in the assessment and treatment process • Help clients to recognize how they define themselves and relate to others are influenced by gender-role expectations.

  14. Intervention Techniques in Feminist Therapy • Gender-role analysis and intervention • To help clients understand the impact of gender-role expectations in their lives • Provides clients with insight into the ways social issues affect their problems • Power analysis and power intervention • Emphasis on the power differences between men and women in society • Clients helped to recognize different kinds of power they possess and howthey and othersexercise power

  15. Intervention Techniques in Feminist Therapy • Bibliotherapy • Reading assignments that address issues such as • Coping skills • Gender inequality • Gender-role stereotypes • Ways sexism is promoted • Power differential • Society's obsession between women and men with thinness • Self-disclosure • To help equalize the therapeutic relationship and provide modeling for the client • Values, beliefs about society, and therapeutic interventions discussed • Allows the client to make an informed choice

  16. Intervention Techniques in Feminist Therapy • Assertiveness training • Women become aware of their interpersonal rights • Transcendsstereotypical sex roles • Changesnegative beliefs • Implement changes in their daily lives • Reframing • Changes the frame of reference for looking at an individual's behavior • Shifting from an intrapersonal to an interpersonal definition of a client’s problem

  17. Intervention Techniques in Feminist Therapy • Relabeling • Changes the label or evaluation applied to the client's behavioral characteristics • Generally, the focus is shifted from a negative to a positive evaluation

  18. From a multicultural perspective • Contributions • Have the most in common with multicultural perspectives • Direct actions for social change • Recognize sexism, racism, and other levels of oppression and privilege • Limitations • Be cautious when working with clients from culturally different background (e.g., not devaluing the collective cultural values)

  19. Summary and Evaluation • Contributions • Gender-sensitive practice and an awareness of the impacts of the contextual factors • Pay attention on gender-role socialization, power issues in relationship, and external environmental factors. • Building community, providing authentic mutual empathic relationships, creating a sense of social awareness, and the emphasis on social change are all strengths of this approach • The principles and techniques of feminist therapy can be incorporated in other therapy models.

  20. Summary and Evaluation • Limitations • Avoid imposing their values on their clients • Focus on contextual or environmental factors and move away from exploring the inner factors can be both a strength and a limitation • Is a theory?---is a debate question • Developed by White, middle-class, heterosexual women---may be biased due to this perspective

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