Feminist Therapy

Cover of Feminist Therapy (medium)
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For individuals in the U.S. & U.S. territories

Format: DVD [Closed Captioned]
Availability: In Stock
Other Format: VHS
Running Time: Approximately 100 minutes
Item #: 4310828
ISBN: 978-1-4338-0229-4
Copyright: 2008

In Feminist Therapy, Dr. Laura S. Brown demonstrates this integrative approach to psychotherapy. Feminist therapy may superficially resemble other forms of psychotherapy, but the therapy's basis in feminist political analysis and scholarship on the psychology of women and gender make this a unique and valuable approach for both female and male clients. In this session, Dr. Brown works with a woman recently convicted of narcotics charges. She helps the client to discern how past experiences have shaped her current negative self-narrative.

This video features a client portrayed by an actor on the basis of actual case material.


Feminist therapy is a technically eclectic approach to treatment conceptually based on feminist political analyses and feminist scholarship on the psychology of women and gender. Although on the surface, the work of a feminist therapist may appear to differ little from that of other therapists, the ways in which a feminist therapist understands and gives meaning to the client's life history and to what transpires in the therapeutic relationship can be very different indeed. It is this difference in meaning and concept that makes feminist therapy unique in its perspectives and valuable for both female and male clients.

Feminist therapists are centrally, although not solely, interested in the ways in which gender and gendered experiences inform people's understandings of their lives and the development of the distress that serves as a catalyst for seeking therapy. We are also interested in other factors, such as race, class, sexual orientation, age cohort, and ability, which interact with gender in the social matrix of power and dominance, and we base theory on multicultural data and paradigms. Feminist therapy attends to the ways in which people have lost their power to know and name themselves and their experiences, and the ways in which social, cultural, and political processes interact with human development. It perceives therapy as a political action, in that it has meaning in the large social and political milieu.

Feminist therapy attempts to create an egalitarian therapy relationship in which, although the inequality of power between therapist and client is acknowledged, intentional efforts are made by the therapist to empower the client and to define her or him as an authority equal in value to the therapist. Clients are encouraged to discover the manner in which their authority in their lives has been taken from them and, using the therapeutic relationship as one model setting, begin to reclaim that authority and to speak in their own voice.

About the Therapist

Laura S. Brown, PhD, is a clinical and forensic psychologist in private practice in Seattle. Her publications span the fields of feminist therapy theory and practice, ethics, multiculturalism, lesbian and gay issues, and trauma. She is the winner of the 1995 American Psychological Association Award for Distinguished Professional Contributions to Public Service, and the Sarah Haley Award for Clinical Excellence from the International Society for Traumatic Stress Studies.

For more information about Dr. Brown, please visit her Web site.

Suggested Readings
  • Brown, L. S. (1994). Subversive dialogues: Theory in feminist therapy. New York: Basic Books.
  • Brown, L. S., & Ballou, M. (Eds.). (1992). Personality and psychopathology: Feminist reappraisals . New York: Guilford Press.
  • Brown, L. S., & Root, M. P. P. (Eds.). (1990). Diversity and complexity in feminist therapy. New York: Haworth Press.
  • Comas-Diaz, L., & Greene, B. (Eds.). (1994). Women of color and mental health. New York: Guilford Press.
  • Dutton-Douglas, M. A., & Walker, L. E. A. (Eds.). (1988). Feminist psychotherapies: Integration of therapeutic and feminist systems. Norwood NJ: Ablex Publishing.
  • Jordan , J., Kaplan, A. G., Miller, J. B., Stiver, I., & Surrey, J. (1992). Women growth in connection: Writings from the Stone Center. New York: Guilford Press.
  • Kaschak, E. (1992). Engendered lives. New York: Basic Books.
  • Rosewater, L. B., & Walker, L. E. A. (Eds.). (1985). Handbook of feminist therapy: Women's issues in psychotherapy. New York: Springer Publishing Company.

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