Feminism & Humanism

 
 

Picasso - "The Contemplative Blue Woman"

   
 

 

WHAT ARE THE FEMINIST AND HUMANISTIC PRINCIPLES THAT I USE IN MY WORK?

       There is great diversity in feminism, and in feminist or non-sexist approaches to psychotherapy. The principles that are important for me include:

  • Believing in women’s full human potential

  • Rejecting the doctrine of biological determinism

  • Understanding and valuing women’s experiences, aspirations, and perspectives on reality

  • Understanding the connections between women’s psychological reality and the external world (the personal is political)

  • Rejecting sex role stereotypes as too confining for men and women alike

  • Challenging the ‘victim stance’

  • Encouraging men and women to live as fully and constructively as possible

             Existential-Humanistic psychotherapy is an approach which aims to help people to live more fully and (if they choose) to explore their human potential beyond the strictures of custom, social norms, familial expectations etc.  Its primary aims are: a) to identify and reduce or eliminate the obstacles that limit the client’s realization of his or her his deeper potential, and b) to aid the client in rediscovering and increasing the power of inward exploration that is native to each of us.

            Three main purposes have been defined:

1.   Development of the client’s commitment to thorough, life-changing inner exploration in a setting characterized by authentic mutual respect, caring and honesty.

2.   Attainment by the client of discipline and skill in the process of inward searching – a process that can revitalize one’s life during and after psychotherapy.

3.   Perseverance by the client through the anxiety and uncertainty of letting go of the structures of belief around which life was formerly organized, and confronting and incorporating the essential openness of  being…the freedom to choose one’s life. (Reference: James F.T. Bugenthal, “Existential-Humanistic Psychotherapy”, in The Psychotherapy Handbook, Richie Herink, ed. New York: New American Library, 1980)

Drawing from this tradition, I explore and validate  the individual’s subjective reality and unique frame of reference. People make their own meaning, and can both discover and transform meanings in pursuit of growth and self-actualization. Emotions and behavior arise from, and are bound up with an individual’s interpretations about herself and the world around her. My work, from a humanistic standpoint, is to help people to become more fully who they are.