Feminist Therapy is a technique that allows women to recognize and pull down those barriers and stereotypes that can be an obstacle to their personal growth and development. This therapy was developed on the tail of the first 60s movements and helps women achieve strength to be able to cope and gain enhanced communication, self esteem, assertiveness and better relationships.
The main objective of feminist therapy is to encourage a relationship of mutual support and care. When a woman goes to a feminist therapist, the latter will help her develop the tools she has, and use them to gain her own individual potential.
This type of therapy can also be valuable for men, as there are five principles the feminist therapy theory is based on. It also believes that whatever is personal is also political, as personal experiences are always embedded in political realities, situations and contexts.
Feminist Therapy was developed in the 60s once the womens feminist movement was underway. No one in particular invented this movement as it was a natural consequence of the times, to sustain and aid those women who found themselves involved.
What feminists were trying to do at the time was to keep the elements of other psychological theories that were valid, while trying to eradicate all sexist issues of the theories. Later they attempted to explain a few of the common difficulties and experiences that were associated with the difficulties of a womans social role. They stressed the problem that the womans social role was in fact curbing their own personal development and growth.
What feminist therapy is aiming at, is to help women assert themselves, find their self-esteem and communicate better in relating with others. This movement also aims at giving women the power to see what gender issues can lead to and their consequences. The therapy does not aim to help women adjust, rather to change.
It is fundamental to be aware that minority status and sex roles, as well as social relationships can cause serious psychological problems and difficulties. What we should be aiming at is equality. This is what a feminist therapists role is, that of providing guidance and information, but at the same time allowing a woman to realize that the real potential lies in her own desire to come out and reclaim her individual power of action. A feminist therapist will help all individuals delve into the problems and find what it is that is causing unhappiness and dysfunction, and from there help the person to develop new strategies and pass these hurdles.
Feminist therapy can benefit men as it does women, as it can help them realize how gender role and social constraints can be lethal to relationships, as well as the typically male behavior of competition and strength demand. Most men are convinced that they should not show they are vulnerable or sensitive, meaning that both men and women are influenced by a patriarchal society as well as issues concerning gender stereotypes.