I’m coming out as a feminist therapist. But it might not be what you think.
I do not have an agenda to push in therapy. At least not mine. I want to hear your voice. Your story. I’m here to empower you. Do you have a desire or agenda you are afraid to pursue? Let’s see how we can make it happen.
As a feminist therapist, yes, this does mean that I have a special interest in helping women overcome barriers. Have you been socialized to be “nice”? Does this now get in the way of requesting better pay at work? I can help you find a happy balance between pleasing people and meeting your own needs. In fact, having healthy boundaries honors and respects others.
But feminist therapy does not stop at recognizing inequalities for women. I know the limitations of my own experience. I have not walked in your specific shoes as a person of color, immigrant, Muslim, or LGTBQ person. What I offer is a sincere desire and curiosity to know your experience, from your point of view.
As a feminist therapist, I avoid being the “expert” telling you, a patient, what to do. Western medicine, including modern psychology, comes from a patriarchal time. Typically, a white, male doctor held all the power over his patients.
Instead, I prefer our meeting to be a conversation between two experts. I may have expertise in mental health and psychosocial wellbeing. But YOU are the expert of your own life. You have strengths, resilience and resources that have carried you to this point. Let’s look at how far they can take you with a little coaching and perspective.
Similarly, I don’t want to be called any fancy titles. Please call me by my first name. I prefer to keep us on the same level. I acknowledge their may be some power differences inherent in our situation. I pledge not to exploit or magnify them.
Although I prefer for you to help me understand your cultural context, I will not burden you to teach me it all. As an undergraduate, I recognized the limits of psychology. I also majored in sociology as I knew instinctively people exist, not in a vacuum or laboratory, but in the context of societies and cultures. My graduate studies in social work interweaved multicultural understanding into every course. (And the social work code of ethics charges us to further social justice.) Today, when I feel I don’t know enough, I seek out consultation or training. After all, you aren’t paying me to sit there as you educate me all session!
Next, I think having studied the societal constructs of gender made me more primed to work with trans and non-binary clients. I’m ready to start where you are and take you to where you want to go.
Finally, a feminist therapist is not anti-men. I have a particular empathy for all the ways gender stereotypes limit men in American culture. My office is a place that is safe to have feelings. We will also look at the unique pressures and expectations on men, in the home, becoming a father for the first time, to earn an income, etc.
Alright, I’ve talked more about me than makes me comfortable! Time for you. I’m ready to listen. Email me your thoughts or call to set up an appointment (619-289-7818.)
Photos from yesterday’s Women’s March in NYC by my friend Adrienne Nicholson Stevens.