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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Meet the specialists

 

I received my training in feminist studies from Cornell University in Ithaca, NY.

— Sam Naimi, Psychotherapist in Encino, CA

I approach my work from a social justice lens, always considering the importance of intersectional oppression in psychological distress.

— Augustin Kendall, Counselor in Minneapolis, MN
 

Feminist Therapy is a meta-theory more than a specific modality. In my own work with it, I find that its purpose is to inform my overall practice with clients in a way that emphasizes empowerment and an egalitarian working relationship, among other things. One of its driving principles is to make marginalized viewpoints central, often addressing the concerns of people of color, LGBTQ+ individuals, people with special needs, immigrants and refugees, and others.

— Christie Cunningham, Licensed Clinical Social Worker in New York, NY

What forms of gender expression feel safest, most comfortable, or fun for you? Which forms feel unsafe or unavailable to you? Gender-based expectations and norms impact people of all genders, and may be holding you back from being yourself and feeling empowered. We will explore the ways that your gender impacts your life, including your values and any limiting beliefs that you may be internalizing from your upbringing, environment, or culture about yourself or others.

— Maryann Bavisotto, Social Worker in Buffalo, NY
 

Everything I see I view through the lens of being a lesbian woman in a changing but still extremely sexist society. It impacts the dynamics of everyone's lives. I see empowering women as my purpose for this practice as well as my soul's mission for being here at this time on the planet. Feminist therapy for me has always been about fighting all the "isms" we face. It won't do to be progressive about women but not recognize race, class, gender identity, disability or immigration status.

— Deborah Dettman, Clinical Social Worker in CHICAGO, IL

Feminism is the understanding that an individual's gendered experience intersect with race/ethnicity, class, power and privileges. I also believe that, unlike western forms of therapy, wellness does not end with symptom-reduction. Wellness includes an individual's ability to engage intentionally with others, become empowered to action, and feel motivated to move from a deeper place of value.

— Dr. Jean-Arellia Tolentino, Clinical Psychologist in oakland, CA
 

Feminist theory teaches us that there are grand narratives in patriarchal culture that we all participate and perpetuate without evening knowing it. Feminist therapy often comes in to play when we get stuck in rigid gender roles and have early internalized messaging about what it means to be a cis-man, cis-woman, trans, or non-binary. Because we have all been colonized in our thinking around sexuality and gender, these unconscious themes will surface over time in relationships.

— Brian Stachowiak, Licensed Marriage & Family Therapist in Los Angeles, CA

Let's be honest, systems of oppression are to blame here. I love supporting my clients in healing from systemic racism, sexism, fat-phobia, ableism, and queerphobia. You may not have control over these systems, but you do have control over how you show up for yourself in this sometimes fucked up world.

— Dina Bdaiwi, Associate Marriage & Family Therapist in Irvine, CA
 

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 newer to feminism, I can help you see angles to your situation that you might not have noticed.

— Ashley Hamm, Licensed Professional Counselor in Houston, TX

Feminist therapy focuses on the daily challenges that women face. Therapy creates a space to have these difficult discussions with someone who understands what you are going through. You can feel heard and understood while working towards solutions.

— Maria Vlach, Licensed Clinical Mental Health Counselor in Minneapolis, MN
 

My approach to feminist therapy involves integrating my own identity with the realities of living in society as a woman. I am passionate about working through the discrimination that women face, as well as exploring the intersectional identities that oftentimes compound the discrimination. I value social justice as a therapist, and actively incorporate it in all of my sessions.

— Samire Qosaj, Therapist in Northbrook, IL

I aim to provide clients with a safe and non-judgmental space to explore our identities, interpersonal relationships, hardships, and experiences in this life. I am hella good at creating space to deep dive into the ways you have been shaped by systems of oppression and cultural experiences. Together, we can unlearn damaging and false narratives and heal the pain they have caused you.

— Jackie Jacobo, Associate Professional Clinical Counselor in San Diego, CA
 

Feminist therapy focuses on the challenges that women face as a result of bias, stereotyping, oppression and discrimination and the detrimental impact these forces have on a woman's sense of self-worth, confidence in how she navigates the world, and overall mental wellbeing. I have spent a great deal of time, professionally and personally, unpacking these concepts and unlearning the harmful and untrue messages we internalize as women in the world. I want to help other women to do the same.

— Sarah Horn, Psychotherapist in Wellesley, MA

Feminist therapy is a strength-based framework that is cognizant of power, bias, prejudice and systemic oppression. The problems the client brings to therapy are viewed in relationship to society at large. Rather than the problem being intrinsic to the person. In feminist therapy, we work diligently to foster an egalitarian relationship. This is the idea that you are the best expert of yourself and your problems. The therapist is bringing all their skills and training but doesn’t assert to be the expert of you. In this context, therapist and client collaborate as equals to help the client heal. Feminist therapists may use a variety of tools to help validate and normalize the client’s experiences. This includes analyzing how the social construction of gender has influenced the problems they are bringing to therapy – if at all. We may look at how power, unequal power, or the abuse of power impacts your well-being and capacity to thrive. Feminist therapy is particularly useful when considering experiences of inequality, race-based or gendered traumas, such as domestic and sexual violence.

— Natalia Amari, Licensed Clinical Social Worker in Austin, TX
 

I identify strongly as a feminist therapist, and I believe that gender roles influence socialization; ultimately, our lives. I have an undergraduate degree in Women Studies and believe that gender identity development may impact a variety of issues that female-identified clients experience, like interpersonal relationships, career, aging, sexuality.

— Shelley Samuels, Licensed Professional Clinical Counselor in Oakland, CA

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
 

Identifying as female in our culture comes with so many landmines. Navigating relationships, work/life balance, parenting, misogyny, and so on. If you've clicked on this specialty, you know. I like to work from an feminist perspective to see how gender underlies other stressors. Feminism is intersectional, and if you identify as female (or on the feminine side of the spectrum) this space is for you.

— Jennie Hagen, Licensed Professional Counselor in Vancouver, WA