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.

Meet the specialists

Our society makes it difficult for us to find our voice, speak our truth, and hold our ground. We often get hit with so many messages about how we "should be" that it's tough to actually see ourselves as we are. It can be incredibly empowering and healing to discover who we are on a core level and work to really nurture ourselves. Engaging with our inner wisdom can alleviate self-doubt and increase trust in ourselves. I consider it an honor to hold space for you; your intersections and complexities are welcome.

— Jessica Weikers, Marriage & Family Therapist in San Francisco, CA

Historically and today, the mental health industry has enacted violence on people with targeted identities. Feminist and anti-oppressive frameworks help us be conscious of how “mental health” is constructed in society and how expectations around wellness impact people and our subordinated and privileged identities. You are expert in your own life and your story and perspectives matter. Our stories are important–especially those that are unheard and unacknowledged in dominant narratives.

— Marissa Lee, Licensed Clinical Social Worker in Los Angeles, CA

26 years of working in feminist concerns

— Brenda Byrne, Counselor in Rockford, IL

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 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

As a radical feminist, I believe my work must: > deeply honor each person's inner wisdom over pathologizing doctrine; > recognize the deep soul wounding that chronic and acute oppression, systems of injustice, and planetary pain cause; and > orient deep personal healing in service to becoming an empowered agent of change, rather than adjusting to being a cog in the machine.

— Grace Silvia, Licensed Clinical Social Worker in Portland, OR

Cultural context matters. Feminist therapy explores the impact of how we form and maintain relationships, as well as impacting our sense of self and well-being. Cultural context means that all parts of your cultural identity, such as race, ethnicity, gender identity/expression, age, sexual/romantic orientation, religious orientation, and ability status are important in exploring your whole experience during the therapy process.

— Canh Tran, Associate Clinical Social Worker in Seattle, WA

I am committed to the culture change necessary to heal and uplift women, non-binary folks, and everyone who experiences gendered violence. My approach includes processing internalized oppression due to systemic violence, healing interpersonal violence, and building a critical awareness of everyday sexism. Together we work toward self-power, community power, and honest expression of our experiences.

— Caitlin Keitel, Therapist in Portland, OR

I took many graduate and undergraduate classes related to women's studies, feminist theory, LGBTQ issues, and marginalization experienced by women. I identify as a feminist and an activist and have worked with women in several treatment settings.

— Chelsea Kazmier, Licensed Clinical Social Worker in Satellite Beach, FL

Feminist interventions consider cultural context that impacts how we form and maintain relationships, as well as impacting our sense of self and well-being. I will look beyond your “presenting problem” and symptoms to your relationships with loved ones and family and the greater context of your world and how that impacts your functioning and well-being. This tends to be a de-pathologizing approach that focuses on the whole person rather than focusing on a list of symptoms.

— Marshall Bewley, Psychologist in Denton, TX

My core values are centered in feminist, anti-oppression ideals (the type of feminism that includes and honors women of color and trans folks). It means every day, I work with folks like you to unlearn socialization of gender, sexuality, and so many other qualities to find out who you really are, or at least who you want to be today. In therapy, we will talk about and examine how this impacts your relationships, sense of worth, and other ways of being in the world.

— Anna McDonald, Licensed Marriage & Family Therapist in San Francisco, CA

How do we learn to stand in our power, and know that we don't have to fit the mold of being a "nice girl" or being quiet or pretty or thin to get our sense of esteem. We can take up space, disagree, be bold and messy and experience freedom and a sense of connection. We are so heavily influenced by subtle (and not so subtle) messages about what it means to be "good" female. Let's change this story and get out of the box; speak our truth and live boldly (we can do this with kindness and love.

— Patricia Young, Licensed Clinical Social Worker in San Diego, CA

Feminist therapy extends beyond gender to incorporate examination of inequity of power, emphasizing context and historicity, and the inseparability of personal and political realities. Feminist therapy recognizes the subjectivity of created knowledge, interrogates domination and marginalization, disputes pathologizing of deviance and difference, challenges binaries, purity, certainty, and dichotomies.

— Jessamyn Wesley, Licensed Professional Counselor in portland, OR

I have been utilizing the method the approach of Feminist centered therapy by knowing and validating women learn who they are relationally and culturally empowering women to take what they resonate with from society and leave behind with what they don't. I passionately believe that all women are equal no matter with what we identify ourselves as or who we want to be. Again, there is a place of belonging for everyone.

— Alicia L Goodman, Licensed Professional Counselor in Phoenix, AZ

My interest in psychotherapy began when I was introduced to feminist therapy while working as a sexual assault crisis counselor. I completed a comprehensive training on feminist therapy with the Ottawa Rape Crisis Centre. I incorporate feminist principles of recognizing the systemic origins of personal struggles, how oppression effects mental health, and fostering strength for resistance.

— Naomi Reesor, Psychotherapist in Vaughan,

My therapy is always sensitive to issues of power, privilege, and oppression along many dimensions, not just gender. I approach feminism from an intersectional perspective, and am mindful of my own privileged identities as well. I take a collaborative, curious approach with all clients and recognize clients' expertise on their own lives.

— Sheila Addison, Counselor in Oakland, CA

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, enthusiastic consent, worthiness, advocacy, and disrupting power dynamics. Emphasis on harm reduction and safety navigating the world.

— Ginelle Krummey, Counselor in Asheville, NC

Intersectional Feminism, a term originally coined by Kimberlé Crenshaw, offers a framework to consider the ways in which our identities, such as class, race, sexual orientation, age, religion, creed, disability and gender, impacts our life experience through discrimination or privilege.

— Jess Jarris, Counselor in Seattle, WA

Feminist therapy is an approach to psychotherapy that focuses on gender and the particular challenges and stressors that women face as a result of bias, stereotyping, oppression, discrimination, and other factors that threaten their mental health. The focus of treatment is on empowerment, identity, and understanding of social factors that contribute to distress.

— Hannah Smith, Counselor in ,

Feminist therapy explores the impact of how we form and maintain relationships, as well as impacting our sense of self and well-being. Cultural context means that all parts of your cultural identity, such as race, ethnicity, gender identity/expression, age, sexual/romantic orientation, religious orientation, and ability status are important in exploring your whole experience during the therapy process.

— Canh Tran, Associate Clinical Social Worker in Seattle, WA

I utilize a feminist therapeutic approach, meaning that I understand symptoms and experiences from a societal and cultural perspective. Rather than seeing symptoms a result of an inherent fault within an individual, I see it as a response to the environment. Oppression, discrimination, and other societal pressures impact how a person experiences their environment, and therefore this is important in viewing how to treat the symptoms they experience.

— Candace Whitman, Counselor in Chicago, IL

Psychotherapy is an oppressive, ableist, and patriarchical social construction…and one of many resources people use to help cope with modern life. The fact that access to these commodified resources is determined by access to money and health care? Pretty messed up. There are many ways to address mental health or life concerns and this is only one of them. I’m down for interrogating the problems with psychotherapy even as we utilize it to improve your life.

— Marissa Lee, Licensed Clinical Social Worker in Los Angeles, CA

I was trained the tradition of the Stone Center at Wellesley in what was then called Feminist Therapy, but is now called "Relational Cultural Therapy". This is a strengths based approach that honors not only the specific needs of women but also takes into account the ethnic and cultural backgrounds that shape our worldview. Healing happens in relationships with others, and therapy is a way to practice this.

— Jessica Foley, Licensed Professional Clinical Counselor in Waltham, MA

Feminist therapy believes that the number one reason therapy works is from the strength of the therapist-client relationship, which is built and grows from working collaboratively, having trust, and empowering you, the client. This theory also emphasizes that the "personal is political," which acknowledges that what happens in the world, both on small and large scales, can and does affect you. A person's culture, gender roles, and societal systems impact their life.

— Ginger Klee, Licensed Marriage & Family Therapist in Los Alamitos, CA

As a feminist therapist, I strive for therapy relationships that are as egalitarian as possible while still acknowledging power differences inherent in therapy. We will pay attention to your unique identity while working to understand how oppression you have experienced has affected your thoughts, feelings and ideas about yourself. Feminist therapy is for everyone -- people of any gender, race, sexual orientation, age, or religion.

— Cindy Blank-Edelman, Mental Health Counselor in Cambridge, MA

Women are dis-empowered in this culture on a regular basis. I support young women and adults in recognizing where they are losing their voice and how to re-ignite their strength.

— Sheri Truax, Licensed Clinical Social Worker in Chesapeake, VA