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

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

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.

— Deb Dettman, Clinical Social Worker in Chicago, IL

Feminist therapy is used more widely than most people know. A big part of feminist therapy is empowerment, helping the client feel they are capable of creating a better life. I also am very much person-centered in my approach and strive to be culturally aware. I was trained in feminist theory while working in the world of domestic violence and sexual assault.

— Kevin Faust, Mental Health Counselor in Chambersburg, PA

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

Feminism and a commitment to social justice guide my work. I consult the DSM-5 and provide a diagnosis when appropriate (usually when you need to submit a superbill for reimbursement), but I find that more frequently the issues clients face are the result of systemic oppression rather than a personal problem.

— Christina Reichert, Licensed Clinical Social Worker in Vancouver, WA

I was there at the beginning of the feminist therapy movement in the 1970's in Berkeley, CA. I remember working with other women to discover what a feminist approach to crisis/rape counseling might involve. My doctoral dissertation was a feminist analysis of women who attempt suicide. This was at a time when there was almost no research on why women made more attempts than men.

— Karin Wandrei, Clinical Social Worker in Rohnert Park, CA

I believe that you are the expert of yourself; I'm here to support you and use my training and skills to assist you in uncovering the answers within. I use an Intersectional approach and recognize there are many factors and layers to your life. It is important to examine all aspects of our identity to fully understand and appreciate ourselves; in our work together, it will be imperative for me to understand all of this about you so that I can best support you on your journey to wellness.

— Shelby Dwyer, Counselor in Boston, Cambridge, and Somerville, MA

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

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

I am rooted in anti-oppression as the lens through which we can make sense of many of our struggles. I believe in depathologizing mental illness by correctly identifying external sources of distress rather than seeing your pain as a personal problem. I have and continue to educate myself on systemic and interpersonal oppression in order to better understand the experiences of marginalized clients and to prevent harming my clients through my ignorance.

— Augustin Kendall, Counselor in Minneapolis, MN

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

As a therapist for women, I hold the power of what we can do, individually and collectively, to the highest esteem. I really do believe that WE RUN THE WORLD. The rest of the world just needs to catch up to what we can do. I also believe that it is the responsibility of today's women to take part in creating a world in which our daughters will not only survive, but thrive.

— Leah Rockwell, Licensed Professional Counselor in Mercersburg, PA

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

Feminist Therapy emerged in the 1960s right along side the women's rights and civil rights movements. It was a radical alternative to earlier approaches of psychotherapy which were very much rooted in patriarchal and Eurocentric values and placed the therapist as expert on the client's experience. Feminist Therapy values collaboration between client and therapist, transparency and authenticity, as well as honors an individual's cultural, political and social experiences in daily life.

— Jessika Fruchter, Marriage & Family Therapist in , 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, 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, Mental Health Counselor in Asheville, NC