A Feminist Approach to Family Therapy



Although family therapy recognizes the importance of the social context as a determiner of behavior, family therapists have not examined the consequences of traditional socialization practices that primarily disadvantage women. The unquestioned reinforcement of stereotyped sex roles takes place in much of family therapy. A feminist therapy orientation that considers the consequences of stereotyped sex roles and the statuses prescribed by society for females and males should be part of family therapy practice. This paper describes the ways in which family therapists who are aware of their own biases and those of the family can change sexist patterns through applying feminist principles to such areas as the contract, shifting tasks in the family, communication, generational boundaries, relabeling deviance, modeling, and therapeutic alliances.