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feminist/gay/lesbian therapy

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Alix Brown

on 20 October 2013

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Transcript of feminist/gay/lesbian therapy

Feminist therapy focuses on helping men and women understand the impact of gender roles and power imbalances between the genders and how they have developed over the life span

empowers women to challenge traditional roles and stereotypes

Feminist therapy impacted gay and lesbian therapy (gender therapy) which deals with issues specific to lesbian and gay clients such as coming out issues, coping with homophobia, and gender role socialization and re-socialization

Feminist Therapy and Gay and Lesbian Therapy
Feminist Therapies are unique.....
Instead of being pathology based, they focus more on the social factors that cause issues such as oppression, gender bias, and power imbalance rather than diagnosis. They are considered androgynous and flexible--they can be applied to individuals regardless of age, race, culture, gender, and/or sexual orientation.
Phyllis Chesler, an American writer and psychotherapist believed the therapeutic relationship was patriarchal and women were being misdiagnosed due to gender role. She wrote a book called “Women and Madness” where she gives examples of sexism in therapy

Association for Women in Psychology (AWP) was created in the 1970's to address women's issues in psychiatry

In the 1980's an effort was made to define feminist therapy and address issues specific to women such as depression and eating disorders, body image, sexual abuse, and abusive relationships

The focus was challenging traditional systems of psychotherapy that were gender biased
Future feminist therapist??
Defined Lines .....
Blurred Lines.....?
“a feminist is anyone who recognizes the equality and full humanity of women and men”
--Gloria Steinham

1. The therapist should assess their own attitudes towards sexual orientation

2. Should be knowledgeable about issues related to sexuality and be able to provide a positive non-judgemental relationship and be comfortable discussing issues related to homosexuality

3. Understand the stages of gender identity development of gay and lesbian clients

4. Be familiar with gay and lesbian culture; knowledgeable of the discrimination and oppression they have suffered
Role of the Therapist Working with Gay and Lesbian Clients
led the way for gender-sensitive practice

Increased public awareness of impact of culture and multiple oppressions on people

Awareness of gender role messages

helping the world to understand power relationships in families and between men and women

question traditional therapy theories which placed fault in the individual rather than external circumstances in society

Advocates an egalitarian relationship between therapist and client

establishes policies to reduce discrimination involving gender, race, culture, sexual orientation, and age.

Demands action in cases where male therapists abuse the trust of female clients
Strengths and Contributions
of Feminist Therapy

Too feminist and militant thereby influencing clients

Therapists may advocate a certain view on gender roles rather than supporting the client to develop their own views

Do not take a neutral stance—feminism originated and was developed by middle class white women who overly represented the lesbian tradition

Feminists have excluded other races and cultures in developing their theoretical approach—although there is an effort being made to change this
Some Criticisms.....
"Why do people say 'Grow some balls?' Balls are weak and sensitive. If you wanna be tough, grow a vagina. Those things can take a pounding"
--Sheng Wang
Stage 1: Identity Confusion

Stage 2: Identity Comparison

Stage 3: Identity Tolerance

Stage 4: Identity Acceptance

Stage 5: Identity Pride
Cass Gender Identity Model for Gays and Lesbians
Gender role analysis:
5 steps

Gender role intervention:
The counselor helps the client to understand and deal with impacts related to gender role and associated social expectations.

Assertiveness Training:
Role of therapist is to reduce the sense of helplessness and depression in clients by teaching individuals to stand up for themselves without violating the rights of others.

Power Analysis:
The therapist helps clients understand how the power they possess can be used to bring about desired change.

A client may be referred to a media source from a therapist such as, autobiographies, movies, nonfiction, and self-help books. A therapist may give reading assignments addressing client needs. Assigned readings may also serve as a medium to bridge cultural gaps between the therapist and client.
Techniques of Feminist Therapy
Changes within a clients personal life and changes to current societal constructs/institutions

Five goals for feminist therapy: equality, balance between dependence and interdependence, empowerment, encouraging self-nurturing, and valuing diversity.

Works to eliminate oppression and sexism within society as a whole.

Uses a strength based approach with both women and men.

Assessment with women should be multifaceted and not primarily from a traditional pathological perspective
Goals of Feminist Therapy
Some of us are becoming the men we wanted to marry.  ~Gloria Steinem
Sex and Gender
the biological difference between the two categories of individuals

The culturally and socially constructed beliefs and attitudes about the traits and behaviours of females and males
Gender Role Analysis
1. Have the client identify gender role messages experienced in his/her lifetime.

2. Help client identify positive and negative consequences of gender-related messages.

3. Identify statements client makes to his/her self based on gender role messages.

4. The therapist helps the client decide which messages they want to change.

5. Client and therapist construct a plan to implement the desired change.

Men also deal with social and gender role issues--they have also been exploited by a patriarchal society

They are taught not to express vulnerability, sensitivity, and empathy

Men may feel overwhelmed with society's demands for achievement and performance

Men can benefit from feminist therapy by exploring emotions and intimacy issues

Men can challenge other men to view feminist theory as a legitimate and necessary practice that seeks to end patriarchy
The Role of Men
Freud thought women had “weak superegos” and suffered from penis envy.

Freud attributed stories of childhood sexual abuse told by female patients as their own sexual desires.

Based his theory around gender identity on a child having a mother and father. (Oedipus and Electra complexes)

Freud believed that our sense of being male and female came from identification with our same sex parent but male and females can become masculine or feminine without a same sex parent present.

Comparison with Psychodynamic Theory
Comparison with Multicultural Therapy
Multicultural therapy also recognizes that to be effective, a therapist needs to be aware of a client's culture. The idea of culture can be extended to gender role socialization and gay and lesbian culture
However, feminist therapy has been criticized for its white, middle class origins
How Human Service Workers Can Apply Feminist/Gay and Lesbian Therapy to their work with Clients
Feminist therapy techniques can be used by all human service workers with clients that are women, men, and/or gay and lesbian

Feminist therapy concepts can be combined with other models of therapy

Feminist therapy helps a human service worker understand that society plays an important role in the reasons why women seek therapy

Human service workers who use a feminist or gay/lesbian therapy in their work will:

Use an egalitarian approach
Be aware of the power imbalances between the genders
Focus on client strengths and empowerment
Value diversity
Gender Role Socialization
– society expects different attitudes and behaviours from boys and girls. There is a tendency for the sexes to be treated differently and are generally raised to conform to gender roles

Gender Role Re-socialization
– reprogramming and redefining the gender roles society has imposed on men and women. This process involves modifying traditional gender role identities and reorganizing a client's belief system around their gender roles

True or False?
Feminism is all about thinking women are superior to men
Describe the difference between sex and gender....
What is a technique of feminist therapy that involves the therapist providing media sources to the client for further education?
Name one goal of feminist therapy
Radical feminists state that men cannot be effective feminist therapists
Agree or disagree?
Name one contribution.....

Name one criticism.....

Name one thing that is important when working with gay or lesbian clients
What is the stage called when the individual thinks they may not be gay but may be bisexual or just be attracted to a certain person that is the same sex?
What is one thing that human service workers can use from feminist therapy in the work we do with our clients?
"Wearing a dress shows I can be as feminine as I want. I'm a heterosexual...big deal, but if I was a homosexual, it wouldn't matter, either."-Kurt
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