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Title:A comparison of the attitudes and behaviors of feminist and nonfeminist psychotherapists
Author(s):Gilles-Thomas, Anne Elizabeth
Doctoral Committee Chair(s):Fitzgerald, Louise F.
Department / Program:Psychology
Degree Granting Institution:University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Subject(s):Women's Studies
Education, Guidance and Counseling
Psychology, Clinical
Abstract:Though research on feminist therapy (which is now in its third decade) is increasingly prevalent, it has generally neglected to address the issue of whether feminist therapists actually conform to the principles of feminist therapy, and whether their practices are distinguishable from those of nonfeminist therapists. The present study examined the attitudes and practices of self-identified feminist and nonfeminist female therapists (N = 60). In an analogue therapy session, therapists viewed and responded aloud to a female client (portrayed by an actor) on videotape, half the therapists "interacting" with a traditional client, and the other half with a nontraditional client. They then assigned a DSM-III-R diagnosis to the client and evaluated the client on a number of other dimensions. One week after this procedure, therapists completed questionnaires which assessed typical clinical practices, attitudes, and values about therapy, as well as feminist beliefs and activities. Results partially supported research hypotheses, indicating that feminist, compared to nonfeminist, therapists adhered to many of the principles of feminist therapy (e.g., they perceived less pathology in the client, tended to look more to the external environment when seeking a source of the client's problems, and placed more importance on making explicit one's values). They also reported holding feminist political attitudes and engaging in feminist activities. Additionally, feminist therapists were more active in the therapy session, and provided more information to the client. Qualitative analyses of therapists' verbal responses to the client on videotape revealed that feminist therapists emphasized gender role issues in their discussion of the client's marriage and motherhood issues, and focused on a number of other themes particularly congruent with feminist therapy principles.
Issue Date:1994
Rights Information:Copyright 1994 Gilles-Thomas, Anne Elizabeth
Date Available in IDEALS:2011-05-07
Identifier in Online Catalog:AAI9503195
OCLC Identifier:(UMI)AAI9503195

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