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Gender-Sensitive Theories

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Kristen Gouge

on 18 April 2013

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Transcript of Gender-Sensitive Theories

Theories Kristen, Stephanie, and David Feminist Theory Male-Sensitive School of Thought How Does it Work? Criticisms Where does it come from? Most psychotherapy is androcentric.
1960's dialogue ignites feminist therapy movement.
1970's Association for Women's Psychology formed.
Carol Gilligan "In a Different Voice", contested androcentric and reframed in feminist terms.
No single person responsible for creation.

Feminism- The philosophical root of feminist therapy, is a commitment to equal social, economic, and political rights for men and women.

Feminist- A person who believe in and or advocates the principle that women should have political, economic, and social rights equal to those of men.

Feminist Therapy- based on the twin convictions that women share many of the characteristics of oppressed people and that women have been denied equal rights and equal voice. Person's identity is profoundly influenced by gender roles and gender based discrimination.
Key to healthy individual-recognize negative effects, restore power balance
Power struggles are 4th most difficult issue in couples therapy.
Gender influences cognitive structures and behavior patterns.
Gender role expectations deeply imbedded in adult personality.
DSM-IV describes coping behaviors as female mental disorders. (dependent personality, self defeating personality, passive aggressive personality.) Psychological stress is environmentally induced and culturally determined.
Pathology is result of inability to grow and unbalanced relationships.
Distress-Men externalize, woman internalize (alcoholism vs depression).
Messages through media, social messages are internalized oppression.
Gender role expectations generate false sense of self, failure to achieve results in depression, anxiety, low self esteem, social withdrawal.
More distress for women due to changing roles.
Role overload, role strain, and role conflict.

Gender Sensitive Therapy-way of thinking and rethinking in new ways. Feminist therapy incorporates a worldview that no one should be constrained to stereotypical roles on the basis of their gender.
Feminist therapy creates a setting within which the client can work towards their own empowerment. The client also learns how to relate to others in ways that are responsible, healthy, and caring.
Feminist therapists do not make judgements about clients based on how closely their gender presentation or gender identity matches the body they were born into.
Feminist therapy is often characterized by a greater recognition of clients' strengths and less focused on treating towards a diagnosis.
Feminist therapists also strive towards recognition of the clients world. Issues such as race, class, cultural background, sexual orientation, age, ability/disability, religious belief or spiritual practice, etc. and how their experience in the world contributes to their life.
Feminist therapy is also beneficial for the needs of LGBT clients.
Client-therapist relationship in feminist therapy is characterized by two E's: empowerment and egalitarianism. Most criticisms of Feminist perspectives have stemmed from Feminists themselves. (Referred to as an "internal critique")
Some say that the feminist movement has already achieved its goals.
The job market favors women slightly over men as companies are afraid to hire a man over a woman for fear of being sued.
Highly dominated woman's fields such as teachers, daycare workers, and nurses often favor women over men but yet there are no cries of gender discrimination in these fields. 1. The client is basically strong and moving toward solutions, not hopelessly weak or pathological.
2. The diversity of human experience and the need for healthy individual expression, which may or many not fit mainstream ideas about what is "normal".
3. The influence of social injustice and oppression on mental health, with an understanding of symptoms as survival mechanisms.
4. The importance of each person's right to make choices and experience her own power.
5. The ways in which women are deprived of validation.
- Jeanne Courtney, MFT
Therapeutic Process
The therapeutic process in feminist therapy is a slow sequence of awareness (consciousness raising - one's suffering arises not from individual deficits but from cultural invalidation and exclusion because of one's status as a nondominant group in the culture), decisions (choosing - choosing power and choosing how to use it),
and action (social liberation - increasing alternatives for social behaviors). Based on accurate understanding of male personality development.
Sparked by the feminist movement.
Men negatively affected by gender role expectations.
Role Strain
Stereotypes of true masculinity, must be achieved or they "fail".
Fear of being unmasculine results in hidden feelings, facade of toughness, resistance, and sometimes violence.
Privilege of position-blessing and curse. Negative byproducts of male socialization: Domestic violence, homophobia, objectification of women, neglecting health needs, detached fathering.
Die 6 years sooner than women, kill themselves 3x more frequently than women.
Men find it difficult to seek help, admits weakness.
Reluctant to seek psychological help, stands in contrast to prevalence and severity of problems that afflict men.

Alexithymia-difficulty in identifying and expressing emotions, result of socialization.

Gender Identity Paragdigm- two distinict and opposite identities of masculine and feminine.

Gender Role Strain Paradigm- gender roles are socially constructed and problematic.

Gender role norms are inconsistent and contradictory. Healthy psychological adjustment depends on a secure gender identity. Male sensitive therapy helps men to understand the strong connection between beliefs about gender and problem behaviors.
Treating men in therapy can be arduous.
Empathy and resonance seen as unmasculine.
Male therapist struggle with gender issues.
Treatment teaches men to recognize emotional needs and recognize that beliefs are not freely chosen but can be changed.
Treatment needs to be more flexible than conventional.
Use approach that is compatible with their relationship style.
Group therapy common and powerful (accustomed to bonding and cooperating in teams).
Increasing awareness has opened up new discussion about treating men.
Society for the Psychological Study of Men and Masculinity.
American Men's Studies Association.
Emerging male sensitive therapists acknowledge their historical debt to feminism.
www.mantherapy.org (Cactus, OSP, Carson J Spenser Foundation) Cultural Competencies in Gender What's next No one person is responsible for Feminist Therapy.
It has been a collaborative endeavor involving hundreds, if not thousands, of clinicians, advocates, and theorists.
However, the start of feminist theory began with the feminist movement.
Some early feminist theorists which have contributed to the thoughts and theories behind the feminist movement are Susan B. Anthony, Sojourner Truth, Nancy Cott, and Jean Baker Miller. Who Made a Difference Gender socialization
Internalized oppression
Role Strain
Role conflict
Mother blaming
Feminization of poverty
Glass ceiling
Bibliotherapy Terminology
Sex vs. Gender
Cisgender vs. Transgender
Sexual Orientation vs. Gender Identity vs. Sexual Identity
Man/Woman vs. Male/Female
- Hopkins vs. Pricewater
- Willie Houston
- Brandon Teena
Transitioning to a different gender
Gender norms and our youth
Gendergrams Gender Questionnaire
1. When and how did you first decide you were male/female?
2. What do you think caused you to be male/female?
3. How do you know what your real gender is?
4. At what point in the relationship will you disclose your REAL gender?
5. Have you ever considered being transgendered just to fit in?
6. Couldn't you be transgendered if you just try a little harder?
7. Why are males/females obsessed with conforming
Be open to expanding your cultural competence!!!
Easy Bake Ovens
Be prepared to counsel people of different genders/gender identities
Understand gender role complexities
Realize that gender roles are changing
Understand that gender sensitive therapy - like mindfulness and other idealogies - supplement therapy.
- Pronoun choice
- treating them as their preferred gender
- Understand the difficulties of transitioning
- Support, admiration, appreciation, nurturance
A growing area of interest
As therapists are integrating cultural competencies, gender-sensitive therapies will continue to grow.
Education and advocation Let's All Be Equal Gender Rules the World It Makes Me Sick Men Suffer Too The Bad and the Ugly The Doctor is in What is Gender in our Culture? Gender Norms Hurt us All Future Directions for Counseling Transgendered Clients For Counselors Future Directions in Male-sensitive and Feminist Theories Bibliography http://www.psychpage.com/family/library/gender.html
"Systems of Psychotherapy: A Transtheoretical Analysis", Seventh Edition, Prochaska, Norcross.
Missouri State University Safe Zone Ally Manual
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