Feminist Therapy: Part 3

Feminist Therapy: Part 3

What can I expect?

Watch the video here!

Part III: What to expect from feminist therapy

There are hundreds of models of therapy based on different theories of how people change. A feminist therapy approach can be integrated into any method of therapy, for example- Feminist Cognitive Behavioural Therapy. In feminist therapy, we recognize that the inherent power dynamic common in traditional therapies is oppressive. The traditional therapy structure is based on the assumption that therapists are the “well and good” supporting the “unwell and deficient”. 

It’s so simple. And so harmful.

Therapists are human beings with various lived experiences, trauma, and mental health struggles.

We are all operating within the same harmful systems of oppression, and we are all resisting. In fact, one of our jobs as intersectional feminist therapists is to do our own personal activist work, which looks different for each person. We explore structures of oppression we’re resisting in our own lives while also recognizing where we have privilege (and therefore learning to do). Feminist therapy is built on the relationship clients and counsellors build together and is an ongoing process focusing on resisting harmful systems. It’s intended to be liberatory for clients, counsellors and supervisors, not simply to reduce symptoms but to be transformative.

What you might see in feminist therapy:

  • Reality checks to remind you of the sneaky systems at play that you can’t control
  • A strength focused curiosity at how ingenious you are at resisting harm
  • Humour and a genuine appreciation and love of you as a human being
  • A therapist who is honest about their ability to support you and lets you know when they need a break, or when they have biases that could impact the work
  • White, hetero, cisgender, able-bodied, straight-sized feminists will be aware of how they have been indoctrinated and weaponized by harmful systems

What you will definitely NOT see in feminist therapy:

  • The belief that women are better than men
  • Blaming men for all the problems women face (let’s place the responsibility on the system while holding people responsible and educating them)
  • Support only for women or people assigned female at birth (men, trans, and non-binary folks can identify as intersectional feminists too)

We hope that even if intersectional feminist therapy isn’t for you, this information helps you understand a little bit more about what it means to bring intersectional feminist therapy to life. As always, we are interested in your feedback. Let us know what you think about this series by emailing jennifer@peak-resilience.com.

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