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

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
 

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

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
 

I am well-trained in feminist psychotherapeutic practice with members of the queer community, racial/ethnic minority populations, and with women/womxn.

— Sam Naimi, Associate Clinical Social Worker in West Hollywood, CA

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
 

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

— Augustin Kendall, Counselor in Minneapolis, MN
 

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 Intern in Beaverton, OR

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
 

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

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 Camp Hill, PA
 

The Feminist perspective in counseling focuses on the importance of empowerment, and awareness of systems of oppression that impact people of all genders. What you can expect here is to be treated with respect and to have the whole person that you are, all your identities and lived experience validated and welcomed in counseling. You can expect that we can talk about the differences between our identities and lived experiences in a safe and productive way.

— Melissa Hartley, Licensed Professional Counselor Intern in Portland, OR

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
 

My path as a human has been formed by feminist theorists and writers. I particularly relished discovering the "Backlash" feminism of Faludi, as well as writings by Black feminists from Audre Lord to Sonya Renee Taylor. Joanna Bird is another therapist and writer who has influenced my work as a feminist counselor: addressing issues of power both in the therapy relationship and the wider world, and working from a position of mutuality.

— Kirsti Reeve, Licensed Professional Counselor in Royal Oak, MI

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
 

My path as a human has been formed by feminist theorists and writers. I particularly relished discovering the "Backlash" feminism of Faludi, as well as writings by Black feminists from Audre Lord to Sonya Renee Taylor. Joanna Bird is another therapist and writer who has influenced my work as a feminist counselor: addressing issues of power both in the therapy relationship and the wider world, and working from a position of mutuality.

— Kirsti Reeve, Licensed Professional Counselor in Royal Oak, MI

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