Friday, March 6, 2015

Feminist Family Therapy

Socialized Gender Differences■ Men are socialized to be task focused.
■ Women are socialized to be emotional caretakers.
■ Masculinity is defined through separation.
■ Femininity is defined through attachment.
■ The male gender is threatened by intimacy.
■ Females are threatened by separation.

Incorporating the Gender Lens in Therapy
■ In order to treat the system effectively therapists must address the socially prescribed role.
■ For example:
o Many men have not been taught how to have a closely connected emotional relationship.
o Moving an “uninvolved” father closer to his children and pushing the “overly involved” out does not serve to connect the couple on a more intimate level rather it mimics the emotional distance that the couple started out with.
■ In cases of decreased sexual vigor, it is important to know and discuss in the therapy room the sexual oppression of women in this country.
o Women are taught to be "good girls".
o Women are not to enjoy sex, discuss sex , and absolutely should not be sexually aggressive.
o In the cases of a lesbian couple with low sex frequency, both women may be awaiting the other to initiate sex.
■ Mixed messages
o In the case of families with children who are involved in the larger system, the very system that encourages dependence upon helpers and yet pushes for autonomy between mother and especially sons.
o The female, usually mother, is expected to model dependent relationships while letting her children go.
o This does not set up a positive paradigm for interdependent relationships.