An Empirical Investigation of the Link Between Self-Labeling and Behaviors


  • The first two authors contributed equally to this project. We would like to thank Carol Corcoran, Toti Perez, Julia Phillips, Rosemary Simmons, David Tokar, Stacey Moore-Tytler, Nahla Harik-Williams, and Susan B. Young for their assistance with this project.

Address correspondence and reprint requests to: Bonnie Moradi (e-mail:, Counseling Center, 119 Parker Hall, University of Missouri—Columbia, Columbia, MO 65211-2340, or Ann R. Fischer (e-mail:, Department of Psychology University of Akron, Akron, OH 44325-4301.


This research examined the therapy behaviors self-identified feminist therapists engaged in. Practicing therapists (N= 101) were asked to endorse various feminist self-labels and to indicate how often they engaged in a variety of feminist (as assessed by the Feminist Therapy Behaviors-Revised [FTB-R] scale; and other therapy behaviors with both women and men clients. The following results were found. First, incrementally specific feminist self-labeling by therapists improved the prediction of therapy behaviors reflecting the notion that the personal is political. Second, the most strongly identified feminist therapists were distinguished from other therapists by their attention to issues of oppression (e.g., sexism, racism, heterosexism) and socialization. Third, therapists reported engaging in FTB-R behaviors with men clients almost as much as with women clients. And finally, FTB-R and other therapy behaviors emerged as distinct, both in terms of the underlying structure of therapists' responses and in terms of the links to feminist self-labeling.