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NCFM Advisor Bill Ronan, LCSW, An Overview of Feminist Counseling…

October 18, 2013
By

CCfeminist counseling

NCFM NOTE: NetCE, Contnuting Education for Healthcare Professionals offers online courses, like course “7688: An Overview of Feminist Counseling.” Course 7688 is designed for social workers, psychologists, therapists, and mental health counselors of the interdisciplinary team who want to gain an overview of feminist therapy/counseling. Moreover, the course offers a challenging deconstruction of contravening counseling thought and practice. It is replete with highly questionable guidance seemingly based more on ideology than science. Such thinking is critical to radical feminism’s reconstruction of humanity. It is such thinking that has led in significant part to our educational systems haughty disregard for boys and men. Mr. Ronan takes such thinking to task in the following critique.

An Overview of Feminist Counseling

With a critique by

William J. Ronan in italics

 

OVERVIEW

Feminist therapy or counseling adheres to three basic assumptions.

  • First, the personal is political. This leads to trying to change society rather than the self.  Reminiscence if the Marquis de Sade who wrote; “Its not my manner of thinking that is bothersome, but the manner of thinking of others.”
  • Second, the belief that all people are equal in therapeutic relationships, and clinical processes should not mimic the differential power relationships that exist in our male dominated society. Or, the blind leading the blind is most acceptable.
  • Third, finally, women’s experiences should be valued and have special rights, advantages and immunities.  The indirect value expressed here is that men will not have special rights, advantages or immunities, but will be held responsible for every conceived wrong doing and should have no pragmatic rights.

Gender biases exist in clinical practices, such as diagnosing, assessment, the development of the Diagnostic Statistical Manual, and social constructions of “abnormality.” The very ideas of what is right and what is wrong, is totally wrong and that men are responsible for it.

INTRODUCTION

Female scholars and researchers have argued against the preponderance of male oriented theories that have been developed by male scientists, women are more relational, and theorists like Carol Gilligan argue that women’s development is embedded within the context of relationships.  This, idea, I believe can best be understood by a guilt controlled society based on male perspectives, that is men feel guilty for having done the act, and a shame controlled one, or feeling bad because of how one is perceived by others, which I observe is the female based control mechanism. [35,59]

Feminists argue that placing pathology within the individual ultimately blames the individual [16]. Very seldom, of course, does anyone need to be blamed.  Things happen like death.  Its just built in.  Seeking ways to improve the situation like building a better immune system for the individual does not mean blaming them or that a collection of other individuals like men are to be considered at fault.  Instead, the role of larger social context and macro-institutional structures in perpetuating gender inequalities and its role in various social problems must be examined.  To blame one thing for the cause of all of life’s problems seems like a no brainer to avoid.  Problems can have multiple causes and it is better to look at them that way.  This way of thinking took us to the repressed memory, or more accurately known as the false memory, tragedies that this style of thinking spawned.

SEX AND GENDER

Gender refers to the characteristics and traits that are viewed as appropriate to men and women [16] and is imbued with views about power differentials.  It is a shame the only power differential the feminists even consider is that of men over women.  Men have the power and that is why they have to register for the draft etc.

ROLE OF GENDER IN BEHAVIORS AND COGNITION

Gender stereotypes are assumptions about men’s and women’s roles and characteristics; however, they do not necessarily correspond to reality [49]. So how did they become stereotypes?

GENDER AND VULNERABILITY

Women are at a higher risk of violence by their intimate partners. Women are at higher risk for human immunodeficiency virus/acquired immune deficiency syndrome (HIV/AIDS). Their gender and the differential access to resources and privileges impacts their protective capacities. A woman may be afraid to ask her spouse/partner to wear a condom because to do so could be perceived as accusing him of adultery and could result in negative repercussions, such as domestic violence [1].

HISTORICAL SNAPSHOT OF THE FEMINIST MOVEMENT AND FEMINIST THERAPY

First Waive

Middle-class women in the 1830s formed charitable and benevolent societies to help prostitutes and the destitute. They later embraced the cause of slavery and put voice to the abolitionist movement [24].  After the Civil War, these first-wave feminists took up the temperance movement, which continued into the early part of the 20th century. After women won the right to vote in 1920, this first wave of feminism waned and lost momentum [16].  This could be because the temperance movement was a bad idea.  Also the women were getting buzzed on the new health drink of the day before going out to bust up bars.  That drink was Cocaine Cola.

Second Waive

Prior to the 1960s, rape and sexual assault were often invisible and were not thought of as a social problem. However, the feminist movement challenged traditional assumptions about rape victims’ perceived culpability or anything to do with blame and causes [7]. Remember, women’s experiences are to be valued and have special rights, advantages and immunities.

Third Waive

The third wave of feminism started in 1990 and continues today [48].  Third-wave feminists give women the flexibility to define feminism for themselves [32,48].  Now it impossible to pin down what it is.  It can mean anything to anybody.  As long as you’re a woman.  But, definitions of feminism by men are considered wrong for no reason other than they made by men.

Third-wave feminists argue for the analysis to be moved from the societal to the global level [48]. Its not just the society but the entire world.  Eventually the universe will be to blame (Sarcasm). The emphasis is on diverseness of women’s experiences [14].

TYPES OF FEMINISM

In its widest definition, feminism has been defined as a form of oppositional knowledge with a focus on challenging accepted dogma [50].  It knows it is opposed to things, but really does not know what it stands for except the special treatment of women.  Did I get that right?

LIBERAL FEMINISM

Liberal feminism argues that the differences between men and women are due to sex role socialization and male ideologies embedded in social institutions [52].  One of the solutions to gender inequality proposed by liberal feminists is the implementation of laws to provide equal access [49].  They do conveniently leave out equal responsibilities.

RADICAL FEMINISM

Radical feminists link women’s oppression to the sexism that permeates every dimension of day-to-day lives [49]. Like how they are left out of the front lines by not being drafted and having choice (Sarcasm). They argue that gender differences are rooted in the notion of essentialism [52]. Essentialism suggests that women are more caring and nurturing and less aggressive than men. Could this be because women elicit the help from men to do the violence like falsely accusing one man of a terrible crime so that another man will cause him great harm.  Some have argued for separatism, advocating for an exclusive “woman culture”– a female science, female religion, a female arts, etc. [17].  What would a female science look like?  What is it about science that is uniquely male?  Do they want a Godette for their religion?  What would they draw, paint or photograph that is that much different, than what is out their now?

MARXIST FEMINISM

Marxist feminism focuses on class structure, as they believe women’s oppression is rooted in capitalism [17]. Weren’t males also involved with Marxism?  Therefore, Marxist feminists target women’s work (both paid and unpaid) and focus on raising revolutionary consciousness of working women to instigate change [17].  How about men’s requirements to pay for women during and after marriage?

CULTURAL FEMINISM

Cultural feminism argues [49] society should be restructured in such a way that emphasizes cooperation rather than aggression [49].  Men do not cooperate?  Is team spirit an illusion?

WOMEN-OF-COLOR FEMINISM

Assert that many of the other feminist perspectives do not take into account other factors of female diversity, such as race, ethnicity, social class, and sexual orientation [49].  How about sex like men?  For example, a lesbian woman’s life experiences will be uniquely different from a heterosexual woman’s due to the different experiences and forms of discrimination. Will not gay men’s experiences be different from heterosexual males?

GLOBAL FEMINISM

Global Feminism emphasizes the issues of oppression, exclusion, and bias among all women globally. Issues such as education, prostitution, and access to health care are important topics for global feminists [16].  Why is prostitution the only crime where the “victim” is the one who leaves with the money?

POSTMODERNIST FEMINIST

Postmodernist Feminists argue against the traditional and universal ways of theorizing and reasoning and Western notions of science [56]. Reason is suspect.  Is this why Hitler catered to women because he felt men were into reason and women into emotion.  So His goal was to win women first since children invariably follow women and then would come the husbands.  Therefore he abandoned reason in his speeches and went purely for emotion. They are also opposed to the language of binary opposites that is no one is purely male or female; nothing is purely black or white etc. Does this reasoning not contribute to our making distinctions between things. Otherwise the cat would be seen as a dog.  Postmodernist feminists emphasize the importance of deconstructing discourse to identify sexist and patriarchal tones and biases in Western culture [56].  It’s everywhere it’s everywhere!   When you have predetermined what you are seeking to find and that is to insure blame will it not always be found?

CONSTRUCTION OF NORMALITY AND ABNORMALITY

Early philosophers have depicted women as irrational beings [16].  In the 1700s and 1800s, women’s mental illness was linked to sin and vice, and later, women’s mental illness was tied to the “weaker” female constitution due to menstruation, pregnancy, and menopause [71].  It’s obvious that men would not be effected by sin and vice or if they had a weaker constitution, experienced menstruation, pregnancy and menopause (Sarcasm in case you did not get it.)

Women’s roles were maintained by labeling socially unacceptable behaviors as “hysterical,” “insane,” or “neurotic” [71].  So what should we call socially unacceptable behaviors? Socially unacceptable behaviors!  Would that be better?

CLINICAL PRACTICE

BASIC PRINCIPLES OF FEMINIST THERAPY

The goal of feminist therapy is to assist breaking out of stereotypical expectations regarding gender norms and behaviors that lead to dysfunction [4].

PERSONAL IS POLITICAL

In counseling, the belief that the personal is political means that women’s personal problems are affected by social politics. [15]. Always blame another for your problems.  Was this not seen in Nazi Germany?  Feminist practitioners take into account the social context and assist female clients to examine how much their life are shaped by societal norms [15,20]. Therefore, women should not be labeled as “offenders, instigators, or willing participants” in damaging activities [3].  In the movie As Good As It Gets, Jack Nicholson’s best selling author character explained to an awe struck and astonished receptionist that, “I write for women the same as I would right for a man, then I take away reason and accountability.”

POWER IMBALANCES

One way to promote equality in relationships in the clinical process is for the practitioner to be transparent with the objectives of the therapy and to avoid the use of clinical and professional jargon that the client cannot understand [20].  The patient should set the objectives of the therapy unless it is court ordered or something to that effect.  And of course there is no good therapy if the client does not understand.

WOMEN’S EXPERIENCES

Women clients should feel that their voices are heard and placed within the context of women’s, not men’s, experiences [15]. How about people’s experiences? Unless were not in this together. Maybe they don’t think so.

FOCUS ON CHANGE

According to the APA, contemporary feminist counseling is conceptualized by “a shift from focusing the ‘microscope’ on individual change and responsibility to identifying and working to effect environmental and institutional change” [4].  This is a revolution or political movement.  Counseling should be a process of helping people deal with things that impact their lives, not changing the things causing the impact.

EMPOWERMENT AND SOCIAL ACTION

FEMINIST THERAPY VS. NONSEXIST THERAPY

The principle of the personal as political is the foundation of feminist therapy [20].  Therapy is done on an individual to help that individual.  Political movements are different.

Feminist practitioners advocate for social change in order to eradicate injustices and oppression. Then stop calling it counseling or therapy.  Feminist counseling/therapy emphasizes change at the macro level, to cultural, social, and political forces, that will help to eliminate women’s problems and result in social justice [20]. This would only result in social justice if men are taken into the equation.  This movement is unbelievably sexist.

GENDER ROLE ANALYSIS

The goal of gender role analysis is to identify the specific gender role expectations and messages that influence their behaviors. Five steps are necessary.

First, the clinician helps the client to identify various gender role beliefs and expectations experienced from early childhood [60]. Do they do anything with the gender roles of men like being the ones who have to register for the draft and can likely be put in combat situations?  Does that not say who is valued?

Second, the clinician and the client discuss how these expectations have affected the client’s life negatively and positively. This of course would in all probability have nothing to do with why the feel anxious, depressed, have a gambling problem or addiction etc.  This works to have something to blame and not have to take responsibility.  Why not just blame the devil.  At least that allowed people to work together.

Third, the client works to identify internalized beliefs based on these gender role expectations. Just limiting the idea of what is to be considered the cause of a person’s problem greatly skews the analysis.

Fourth, with the help of the clinician, the client will decide which of the internalized beliefs he/she would like to address. Again limiting therapy to some internalized belief brought about only by men greatly damages the hope of a successful outcome whether it is men or the weather.

Finally, a specific plan is developed to implement and monitor changes [60]. This by itself is a good idea.

ASSERTIVENESS TRAINING

After women are educated about their personal rights and taught skills to overcome perceived barriers, other positive outcomes (e.g., enhanced self-esteem) will follow [25].   That is “women’s experiences should be valued and have special rights, advantages and immunities.”  Where are men’s special rights, advantages and immunities?

REFRAMING

Reframing, by feminists, tends to focus on relabeling three areas:

1. Symptoms or anything regarded as an indication of a disease or syndrome are to be thought of as a manifestation of role conflict, (This is ridiculous beyond words.  Pavlov’s dogs had the symptom of slobbering.  Was that a manifestation of role conflict for the female dog and not the male?)

2. Otherwise dysfunctional behaviors are to be seen as coping strategies to handle oppression and discrimination, (So embezzling from ones company or plotting to kill ones husband are caused by oppression and discrimination?  Our courts would certainly seem to suggest this.), and

3. Distress as a manifestation of socialization in traditional gender roles [29]. So if one feels distressed by a train coming down the track, it is not the train but traditional gender roles.

BALANCING POWER

Feminist practitioners work with clients to promote awareness of the differences in power relations between men and women in society [60]. One must assume they are taught that false allegations of abuse and rape are never prosecuted and that they can get many things like the house, the kids, the car or citizenship.  And they would be told to say men have all the power so they, the feminist, will look helpless.  The only identifier of the Sociopath.

SOCIAL ACTION

The heart of feminist counseling/therapy is changing the larger community in which the client exists [28]. Feminist counseling/therapy should not go by the name therapy or counseling as such activities are aimed at the individual just as treating a patient for appendicitis one would not try to change society to help that patient.  Working in an advocacy and consultant capacity in the community to educate and raise awareness about gender issues in order to promote change in areas such as child care, education, and occupational policies is equally as important.  Feminist counseling/therapy should simply be reclassified as a political movement.

ETHICAL ISSUES

Carol Gilligan, asserted that men and women have different ways of conceptualizing morality, and therefore, the decisions made will be different [35].  The feminist ethics of care is rooted in the notion of the “relational self,” in which the moral compass is inextricably connected and embedded in social relationships [53]. That is how will others view me or the shame based version of control. And it is this that guides the majority of women’s ethical decision making [31]. It is not to feel guilt over an action. That is a male perspective.  Shame is how one is viewed which may or may not have anything to do with an action.  In other words, the decision- making process includes both a rationale-cognitive component as well as concerning one’s private and emotional life. [31]. The goal it seems is to give the subjective equal billing as the objective.  Admittedly objectivity is hard to accomplish, but at least it is a desired goal.  To be completely subjective is to be irrational.  Is it just males wh seek to reduce the irrational and subjective?

FEMINIST THERAPY WITH MALE CLIENTS

For relationship issues, feminist therapy could help male clients to work on listening skills and to learn how to work collaboratively with women. In these cases, the goal is to break out of traditional gendered notions of masculinity [60].  That is to insure there is no male or female reference point.  That way we can completely forget who gives birth right?

MALE FEMINIST CLINICIANS

Men who have reflected and developed an awareness of how gender roles and embedded patriarchal ideologies in social institutions impact their upbringing and socialization, how traditional male oriented, views contribute to women’s oppression, and who champion and advocate on women’s issues can be effective feminist clinicians [25].  Any consideration of male oppression?  Men are drafted to fight for innocent women and children.  Women are not drafted to fight for innocent men and children are they?

THE MEN’S MOVEMENT

Pro-feminist men commit their energies and efforts to other oppressed groups, such as women, gays/lesbians, people of color, the disabled, and the elderly [49]. Most feminists agree that men who adhere to pro-feminist main principles should be viewed as allies to the women’s movement.  Yes, males have traditionally abused the elderly etc.  Imagined wrongs are much worse than real ones.

ATTITUDES TOWARD FEMINISM

Problems such as violence against women, pornography, blatant sexualization of women’s bodies (e.g., on the Internet and in the media), increasing eating disorder rates among women, and the wage gap seem to indicate that oppression continues to be an issue for women [54].  Yes, blaming men or any other group will certainly help those women with eating disorders. (Sarcasm) Will this ever end?

RESOURCES

American Association of University Women http://www.aauw.org

Association for Women in Psychology http://www.awpsych.org

Feminist Majority Foundation http:/feminist.org

Feminist.com http://www.feminist.com

Massachusetts General Hospital Center for Women’s Mental Health http://www.womensmentalhealth.org

National Asian Women’s Health Organization http://www.nawho.org

National Coalition for Women and Girls in Education http://www.ncwge.org

National Organization for Women (NOW) http://www.now.org

Office of Research on Women’s Health http://orwh.od.nih.gov

U.S. Department of Justice Office on Violence Against Women http://www.ovw.usdoj.gov

American Psychological Association Division 35: Society for the Psychology of Women http://www.apadivisions.org/division-35

U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Indian Health Service http://www.ihs.gov

Violence Against Women Online Resources http://www.vaw.umn.edu (taken offline due to funding cuts as of the date of publishing Mr. Ronan’s article here.)

National Women’s Health Information Center http://www.womenshealth.gov

National Alliance for Hispanic Health Women’s Health Program http://www.hispanichealth.org/programs/womenshealth.aspx

Black Women’s Health Imperative http://www.blackwomenshealth.org

National Latina Health Network http://www.nlhn.net

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How to contact Bill Ronan

952-933-3460

Bill@MNHypnosis.com

www.mnhypnosis.com

national coalition for men

 Feminism brought us many good things… then so called “feminist” operatives started abusing it. Now ideologues are destroying us.

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One Response to NCFM Advisor Bill Ronan, LCSW, An Overview of Feminist Counseling…

  1. annelocation on October 21, 2013 at 9:13 PM

    That the APA tolerates this proudly biased and hateful cult within their ranks does not reflect well upon it.

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