Guide The Foundation and Future of Feminist Therapy

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Contents:
  1. Popular Feminist Psychology Books
  2. The Foundation and Future of Feminist Therapy / Edition 1
  3. Feminist Therapy Approaches
  4. Reward Yourself

Two basic assumptions of psychological thinking at that time were challenged: a women's distress is personal and b distress can only be alleviated by an expert Greenspan, Perhaps most important, CR groups challenged the social mores of the times. The etiology of this violence rested with the perpetrator and the societal structures that supported violence against women and was not due to an individual woman's masochism. This was a radical departure from how these issues had been treated by society, generally, and by those in the professions of counseling and psychology, specifically. An unknown error has occurred.

Popular Feminist Psychology Books

Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while. Read preview. History of Feminist Therapy Feminist therapy is an outgrowth of feminism and, as such, is intertwined with gender, race, and other sociopolitical factors. Read preview Overview.

Kincade, Elizabeth A. I re-framed intra-racism as self-hate, helping me integrate the contradictions caused by oppression. Frustrated by internalized colonization, I migrated to the conti- nent, searching for the Golden Fleece in the form of a doctorate in psychology. Coping with culture shock, lacking English proficiency, and deficient in racial socialization, I became an easy target for racism and sexism. Once more, my identity adapted to a new environment. Interested in the relationship between gender and race, I explored the confluence of the Civil Rights move- ment and feminism.

Today I continue to be at home within feminism, albeit critically articulating its limitations with respect to women of color.

The Foundation and Future of Feminist Therapy / Edition 1

Within a community context I began to work with folk healers. Col- laborating with them was a humbling experience that changed my as- sumptions about psychology. Although familiar with folk heal- ing through cultural osmosis, I did not respect this model. These espiritistas and curanderas were Latinas who empowered themselves and others with indigenous knowledge. With its emphasis on female-centered spiritual development, folk healing affirms the his- torical role of women as healers.

As I personally come from a long line of women healers, my folk colleagues helped me recover my ancestral memory. Listening to them, I learned that so much of what clients say is about spirituality—the meaning of life, pain, and death—areas in which I was not clinically trained. Growing up in a culture full of magical realism that emphasized the permeable boundaries of reality familiarized me with ways of knowl- edge other than the intellectual.

The folk healers provided me with a dif- ferent paradigm, one that embraces holism in a culturally and gender specific manner. Since psychology of liberation teaches us to integrate indigenous perspectives into clinical, I developed a model of working within alternative healing and mainstream psychotherapy. Working with communities of color in the continental United States gave me a new identity: cultural warrior.

Viewing coloniza- tion as a special type of oppression that denies collective definitions, I envisioned liberation psychotherapy as promoting empowerment, reconciliation, and healing while advancing the integration of a frag- mented colonized identity. My professional efforts concentrate on scholarly, organizational, and social justice areas. Integrat- ing these topics, I have found a nexus between psychology and political repression in the field of ethnopolitical psychology. View- ing colonization as a special type of oppression, I envisioned psy- chology as promoting empowerment, liberation, and healing.

In addition to human rights investigations, I have been a member of mental health delegations to the former Soviet Union, Eastern Eu- rope , South Africa, India and Nepal. She has published numerous articles and book chapters as well as given many presentations ranging from the local to international level. As a researcher and theoretician, she has used her knowledge and skills in qualitative analy- sis, narration, self-reflection and social construction to bear especially on the process of migration and all that it entails for women.

Through this process she describes the experience of women of color, Latinas, migrants, lesbians and other subgroups of women. She uses this frame to look at life passages, including migration, and the de- velopment of the story. Through poetic language re- flecting both English and Spanish, she tells the story of many people and their process of translocation. Espin then focuses on Latinas in particular, understanding the pro- cess through their stories. She discusses the high incidence of somatic complaints, which must be taken seriously and examined for psycho- logical meaning as well, and PTSD that may result from trauma before and during migration.

She describes and explains gender role conflicts, often with large contradictions between the home and host cultures. In the United States, women may be more employable than men, further upsetting gender roles.


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Race and class are important aspects of the stories. In many Latin home cultures, class is an issue, but race is not. In the U. In this article and others, Espin does an eloquent job of rendering visible the intricate process of migra- tion, adolescent development, sexuality and language.

Immigrant chil- dren acculturate faster than their parents, causing familial distress. In particular, sex and sexuality may be a major area of conflict for women and their families. Espin describes how Spanish, as the first language, is the language of emotion, even if a woman is fluent in English. A woman client may switch back and forth between English and Spanish, depending on the subject, with English acting as a facilita- tor for the emergence of forbidden topics such as sexuality, while other concerns can only be expressed in Spanish. She uses psychological theories and also theories of oppression and transforma- tion.

She understands why and how migration is so difficult as well as the strengths needed within the women and their families. An implicit goal seems to be for immigrant women to know both cultures and to navigate their own personal path of adapting to the new. She gives nu- merous examples of women in therapy, providing a story line for other therapists to follow.

Personal Story I have lived most of my adult life removed from my country of birth. Undoubtedly, my own personal experience of migration has been a ma- jor influence in my professional life. It has given me safety and success, yet it has also brought losses. In my professional work as a teacher, therapist, and researcher I have tried to understand for myself and for others what this experience entails.

The experience of migration is, in most cases, connected to the issue of language. Learning a new language is not only an instrumental pro- cess. It implies becoming immersed in the power relations of the spe- cific culture that speaks the specific language.


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  • To this day, there are things I cannot share with my monolingual English-speaking friends no matter how close we are. I can translate, but translated feelings like translated po- etry are just not the same. Even when feelings are supposedly not di- rectly involved, the task of producing scholarly work or doing therapy in another language magnifies the difficulties of the experience.

    This, in turn, enriches scholarly work and therapeutic skills. During my childhood, my father and my uncle were very significant figures.

    They always assumed that I could do whatever I wanted in life. My being a girl was never even mentioned. They made me feel that I had a right to achieve and thrive as a full person. My years as a graduate student in the U. Luckily, in a department where all professors were male, my dissertation advisor gave me, over thirty years ago, opportunities that some feminist doctoral students do not yet have.

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    Feminist Therapy Approaches

    The experience of living in Boston for more than a decade, at a time when feminist ideas were being developed, was a unique and powerful. I know how significant it was to be in Boston during the seventies and eighties. Even before the Stone Center and other Boston theorists be- came famous, there was a feminist effervescence in this city that, in fact, may have played an important role in making those theorists coalesce.

    However, the beginning feminist perspective on psychological the- ory that provided me with an intellectual home, confronted me over and over with perspectives in which culture, class, race, and ethnicity did not seem to exist in the lives of women. I learned early that those of us who combine in our experience several categories of oppression are more often than not confined to the margin and need to construct our un- derstanding from the perspective of that margin. My firsthand knowl- edge of the interlocking nature of oppression presented me with a challenge. Whatever research I have done has been an attempt to shed light on the interlocking of gender, ethnicity, class, and sexual orienta- tion.

    My attempts to create theoretical understanding on the basis of the information provided by my experiences and that of my therapy clients, research participants, and students for over thirty years, hopefully con- tribute one vital thread to the tapestry of a renewed psychology. I have not been alone in this process. Even though my experience is in one sense absolutely mine, individual and unique, it is in another sense generalizable to any person, particularly women, who has ever experienced the effects of similar events.

    Many women I have met and connected with at FTI, and other feminist psychology groups, have made an enormous difference in my life.

    Reward Yourself

    Both emphasized the importance of listening to the voices of all people, particularly those who are usually disenfranchised. Paradoxically, a teaching institution has pro- vided more support for my scholarship than the research institutions where I had worked previously. It has also allowed me to develop and teach courses that I could not have taught in a department of psychol- ogy. Preparation for these courses has played no small part in develop- ing my own knowledge base and theoretical perspectives.

    Why has it developed and continued?

    I am sure that these last few years, in the company of women, have also evoked my formative years studying in an all-girls school with nuns and lay female teachers, where I learned that women and men are equal in the eyes of God and where spoken and unspoken messages told us girls that we were at the center. I know that for some people this type of environment may have been negative. Perhaps I was fortunate to have some good nuns as my teachers. Perhaps I chose to hear only the positive parts of their messages.

    In any case, having been in the com- pany of women in several different intellectual environments in my life, beginning with my formative years, has played an essential role in mak- ing me who I am. Finally, I want say that what I did with my professional career was part of something bigger than just me, i. In retrospect, I know I could not have done what I did for only professional reasons. I was compelled to do it because it was my own tool for survival and growth. She has also published over sixty articles and book chapters with many more in prog- ress.

    Her work is incredibly well researched, detailed and comprehen- sive, and well-documented, resulting in a firm grounding for her statements about the lives of the people about whom she writes. The re- sult is a detailed weaving of societal context and the psychology of women and other underrepresented groups, rich with specifics provid- ing the grounding for her examination of the psychological treatments needed.