Feminist Therapy

Feminist therapy is a therapeutic approach grounded in feminist theory and philosophy. Central to this approach is the idea that women may experience mental health issues as a result of psychological oppression. In feminist therapy, the therapist and client are equals – the therapist's knowledge of psychology and the client's knowledge of herself come together to embrace the client's strengths. Feminist therapists seek to recognize and understand the client's socioeconomic and political situation, and are typically personally invested in ending oppression, empowering women and girls, and working toward social change. Think this approach might be right for you? Reach out to one of TherapyDen’s feminist therapy specialists today.

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In my work, I focus on reworking gendered power dynamics with individuals and couples and addressing social inequities that keep partners form being collaborative with one another.

— Alana Ogilvie, Licensed Marriage & Family Therapist in Portland, OR

Feminist theory/therapy (in a nutshell) looks at systems of oppression and how it impacts our mental health and ability to function in society. This could be oppression based on traditional gender roles but also includes race and cultural discrimination, healthism, anti-fat bias, economic oppression, ageism, ableism, heteronormativity, and cis-normativity.

— Stephanie Boulton, Counselor in Boulder, CO

As a feminist therapist, I understand how gender roles and societal expectations can influence our individuality and relationships with others. It can be hard to discern what is your own values and what ideas are prescribed from the outside world. I recognize that these issues affect all of us, regardless of our gender: male, female, non-binary, because we are all subject to loosing our authenticity when we have to perform expectations from others.

— Colleen Hennessy, Licensed Professional Counselor in , CA

Our society was founded by and built for Straight, White, Christian, Men. Our society is slowly evolving to be more inclusive of women, POC, people with disabilities, the LGBTQ+ community, and other marginalized populations. Empowering women involves deconstructing the toxic patriarchal culture that oppresses those that threaten the beneficiaries. Sessions are structured to identify personal strengths and build assertiveness by confronting social norms and gender roles.

— Courtney Banschbach, Licensed Clinical Social Worker

I believe that the counseling relationship should be equitable, not hierarchical. Intersectional feminism helps inform how one's marginalized and privileged identities have impacted one's mental health in the different systems we navigate.

— Eliza McBride, Licensed Professional Counselor Associate in Beaverton, OR

"Feminism is a movement to end sexism, sexist exploitation, and oppression"--(bell hooks). Feminist therapy is used as a lens to investigate and explore how society is built for white, cis-het (cisgender/heterosexual), assigned male at birth (AMAB) people and the subsequent ramifications and consequences for others who fall out of those parameters. Intersectionality, within feminism, looks at the way differing inequalities create intersecting discrimination and inequity.

— Leta Lawhead, Associate Clinical Social Worker in Bellingham, WA

I utilized feminist theory in my therapy approaches

— Aydrelle Collins, Counselor in Dallas, TX

Nova Mental Health Services creates a unique treatment plan for our clients but use these three treatments often. Feminists' therapy is loosely used as a way to explain how society and it being built for cis, white AMAB (assigned male at birth) people, effects us in our daily lives. We use it to question our perspectives and explore new ways of navigating life that is not as based in outdated and often harmful thinking. We do this in a way that all genders can be responsive to.

— Tayler Clark, Clinical Social Worker in Shorewood, WI

I approach counseling from a Relational-Cultural perspective which is a feminist lens that focuses on developing a positive relationship between you and me to help support the client making positive changes in their life. This growth-fostering relationship can be used as a model to improve all other relationships in the client's life. I will be striving to create a positive connection with you and I will be encouraging you to assess your past relationships and how they may impact you now.

— Carly Stevens, Licensed Mental Health Counselor in Seattle, WA

Ask another Feminist therapist for their outline of what it is, and the answer better be different! This is a theoretical framework that allows choice, freedom, and empowerment. Principles of my feminist therapy include curiosity, respect, consent, worthiness, advocacy, and disrupting power dynamics. Emphasis on harm reduction and safety navigating the world. This framework brings sociocultural context into the room, and the ways we are impacted by our society’s pressures.

— Ginelle Krummey, Licensed Clinical Mental Health Counselor in Marshall, NC

Power dynamics within the therapeutic relationship as well as society at large matter. We cannot ignore the systemic and environmental contexts in which we all live. I respect and honor your expertise on yourself and your world. I am here as a guide to help you heal, not as an expert to "fix." Collaborative and empowering are my most authentic ways to work with others.

— Desiree Howell, Psychologist in St. Petersburg, FL

A feminist approach to therapy enables an egalitarian relationship between therapist and client, where the client is the expert in the room and we collaborate on treatment. My research in graduate school was on a feminist approach to working with survivors of childhood sexual abuse. As a therapist, I sought out a feminist supervisor and strive to learn as much from her as I can.

— Mark Myran, Associate Marriage & Family Therapist in Los Alamitos, CA

I promote an egalitarian relationship with my clients, acknowledging they are the experts of their lives. I work with all clients, regardless of gender or sexual identity, on identifying areas of their life they experience oppression, and how it impacts their overall wellbeing. One of my greatest joys as a counselor is witnessing individuals become empowered to make choices and take actions that promote wellbeing, regardless of whether those choices are congruent with societal norms.

— Mary Mills, Counselor in Seattle, WA

Feminist therapy approaches can be applied when working with any marginalized identity. I enjoy focussing on how systems impact your wellbeing and helping to empower you to step into your power. Harmful systems can create external and internal stories that are overwhelming, difficult, and feel impossible for one person to change...AND you can learn to take what control you do have and use it to make change in your life and encourage others to do the same.

— Kim Lycan, Licensed Clinical Mental Health Counselor in Richland, WA

My therapy is feminist in nature because I am always looking through the lens of feminism and anti-oppression when working with clients. For my clients who strongly identify as feminist, having a feminist therapist means you're not starting from scratch in explaining your worldview. For people who are less focused on feminism, I can help you see angles to your situation that you might not have noticed.

— Ashley Hamm, Licensed Professional Counselor in Houston, TX

We are all connected to one another other, and we strive to live a liberated life within hidden systems of inequity. Whether you consider yourself to be privileged or marginalized, the reality is we are all a part of oppressive structures we were born into, and this effects our ability to thrive. What can we do about this? Feminist therapy recognizes systems of power, and the harm they cause, centering transparency, empowerment, and the importance of the interpersonal as paths to freedom.

— Jackie Kosak, Art Therapist in Seattle, WA

My approach is built on a foundation of feminist, anti-oppression values. I believe therapy is ineffective if the greater social context a person lives in is not examined critically; most of the time, doing so is empowering for all genders.

— Laurel Roberts-Meese, Licensed Marriage & Family Therapist in SAN FRANCISCO, CA

Having a feminist approach to therapy means I believe you to be the expert of your experience. It means I am affirming of marginalized identities, and am interested in building a relationship with you that has a balanced power dynamic. Having a feminist orientation to psychotherapy also means that I have done my own work around my intersectional identities as a white, cis-gendered, able-bodied, queer femme person.

— Mackenzie Studebaker, Associate Marriage & Family Therapist