Feministtherapy is a set of therapies which originated from the disparitybetween the geneses of psychological theories and the fact that womenseek to counsel more often than men. It was developed to remedy themany challenges faced by women throughout history. The understandingthat psychological oppression may result in women experiencing mentalhealth issues is a core concept of feminist therapy. This paperexploits the effects of feminist therapy principles on peoplesuffering from addiction.
Feministtherapy utilizes several principles in addressing various issueswhich affect human beings. People tend to seek to counsel on criticalissues concerning their lives. ‘The person is political’ is afeminist principle which assumes that the personal problems presentedfor counselling by an individual are of political or social contextorigin. Feminist therapists can address matters in people byacknowledging the political and societal impact on the life of anindividual (Magnet & Diamond, 2010). By solving personal problemswhich arise from the political and social context cuts a considerableweight from the shoulders of a person struggling with an addiction.It now becomes easier for one to find a better solution to addressingthe issue of dependency.
Aperson suffering from addiction requires strong bridge through whichhe or she can use to get over to the ‘free world.’ To overcomeaddiction is not an overnight event rather a process which requiressacrifice, endurance, and ultimate focus. Feminist therapists can use‘commitment to social change’ to help someone struggling withaddiction (Magnet & Diamond, 2010). This course is achieved byfocusing not only on individual change but also on social change.Societal organizations where constraints imposed by gender-roleexpectations are overcome is a strategy which empowers people andmakes them not feel marginalized. Actively engaging people inactivities which bring social change to the society helps one focuson important aspects thus helping them out of addiction.
‘Afocus on strengths and a reformulated definition of psychologicaldistress’ is a feminist therapy where problems are addressed in thecontext of living and coping skills and not pathology. The reframingof psychological distress as not a disease but as a communicationreferring unjust systems is achieved. People suffering from addictionmay feel isolated or not valued when discussing their weaknesses.When counselling such people, it is important to focus on theirstrengths rather than the shortcomings (Magnet & Diamond, 2010).Psychological distress should also be reformulated as it is one ofthe weaknesses of a person. This way, people suffering from stresscan achieve proper counsel without being affected mentally by theprocess.
Someprinciples of feminist therapy, however, might be less useful to aperson suffering from addiction. For example ‘All types ofoppression are recognized’ is a principle which focuses on theadverse effects on a person (Magnet & Diamond, 2010). Someone mayfeel exposed and insecure when discussing their negative sides oftheir lives. This principle does not care about the mental effects ofa client thus is not ideal for someone suffering from addiction.
Theprinciples of feminist therapy have different effects on differentclasses of people. There are some principles which can work ideallyfor some group of individuals while to others may have adverseeffects. Some groups of individuals can be considered vulnerable thusneed special treatment when it comes to the selection of theprinciple to be adopted. Feminist therapists should be careful whendealing with people such as those suffering from addiction.
Magnet,S. & Diamond, S. (2010). Feminist Pedagogy Meets FeministTherapy: Teaching in Women`s Studies. FeministTeacher,21(1),21-35. http://dx.doi.org/10.5406/femteacher.21.1.0021