Counselling and feminism(5 Posts)
We had a post recently about an inappropriate way a counsellor handled the issue of wifework. And a thread a year or so about women and mental health. So I thought some might find this interesting, about how counselling models can promote victim blaming
Very good article, Quentin. Thanks for posting. I read it thinking "where's RD Laing when you need him?" We ignore (yet again) the material conditions underlying women's (Hobson's) choices to stay in violent situations: financial constraints, fear of homelessness, the knowledge that the court system will do bugger all to stop violent men having access to their children, with all the terrifying outcomes that offers (from alienation, through violence towards the children, all the way up to family annihilation).
Im not sure that a change of attitude on the part of the therapist is really what's called for here. No matter what her attitude or model, the therapist is powerless to do anything about her client's financial situation or domestic abuse by her partner or the council's housing policy or the court system.
These are not mental health problems and should not fall within the therapist's remit.
The problem isn't in the therapist's training or approach, but in the fact that for politically motivated reasons therapy services such as iapt are being made inappropriately responsible for everyone's distress, even as austerity heaps reasons to be distressed on them. This seems to be part of a general effort to locate what are social problems within individuals.
Genghis, I see what you're saying, but there's a difference between saying "I don't have the resources to tackle the real problem here" and saying "because I don't have those resources, I will become part of the problem, by reinforcing those very patriarchal structures, and adding my voice, as a professional person in a position of authority and power, to the overwhelming chorus saying to this woman 'you must put up with this intolerable situation, the problem lies with you, not him'."
The therapist on the thread alluded to was undoubtedly in the latter category - the "Be a good stepford wife and the problem will disappear" category.
Oh certainly. I'm not defending that. But afaik the problem isn't so much misogyny within the therapy models as misogyny in the wider system and internalised misogyny in (increasingly) poorly trained practitioners.
There's also been a drive to reduce the status and qualifications of mental health professionals in the past few years, largely with the aim of cost-cutting but perhaps for the additional reason of weeding out the people who would have had the authority and power to point out how problematic all this is.
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