Lesbian Families Challenges and Means of Resiliency: Implications for Feminist Family Therapy

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A section within the division devoted to international counseling psychology also has been formed and is thriving. In keeping with a global theme, the most recent national counseling psychology conference was titled the International Counseling Psychology Conference: Counseling Psychologists in a Changing World see Forrest, As psychologists move further into the twenty-first century, implications relevant to the integration of multiculturalism and feminism continue to expand. Across the time periods and events relevant to feminist and multicultural psychology, growth and positive change have been evident, despite the enormous complexity of the integrative task.

With growing knowledge of this complexity, early understandings and definitions have been reworked and continue to evolve. In this section, we briefly outline some of these major areas of evolution, growth, and change, noting their relevance to the contents of this handbook.

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It also has provided a framework for understanding multicultural variations in gender, as well as how ecological contexts modify gender. However, boundaries between sex and gender, or nature and nurture, increasingly are seen as less distinct. Similarly, feminist theorist Judith Butler argued that physical bodies are gendered from birth, and sex does not exist without gender. Growing awareness of queer, intersexual, transsexual, transgendered, and other non-dichotomous identities also is consistent with the view that differentiating strictly between sex and gender can lead to placing individuals in arbitrary, dichotomous categories.

Both feminism and multiculturalism need to be flexible enough to reflect ways in which culture, gender, and many other social identities mutually constitute each other. Lesbian Black feminist members of the Combahee River Collective were among the first to challenge this view, and made important contributions that are a cornerstone of contemporary feminist multicultural thought. Collective members also recommended that specific groups of women e.

This encouragement to explore specific realities of diverse groups of women e. This emphasis on context, which was also elaborated by other multiracial e. The multiple social identities held by individuals are realized in power structures and social locations, and an individual may experience power and empowerment in some contexts and not others.

During the past 40 years, feminists have moved from relatively simplistic and singular assumptions about oppression to recognizing the complexity and the interwoven, seemingly infinite number of combinations of interacting effects of power, privilege, and oppression. This complexity informs a feminist multicultural p. Within the third section of this volume, authors focus on specific identity categories in order to inform readers of central, shared, and unique issues that characterize their life experiences. They also use an intersectional perspective to reflect the ways in which women with any shared identity also represent multiple forms and levels of diversity.

Finally, social identity models e. Although past models have tended to focus on single identities e. At the dawn of the civil rights and feminist movements of the s, much research focused on studying relatively blatant or obvious forms of bias and prejudice and the ways in which they were manifested. Benevolent biases are characterized by apparently positive acts and attitudes that also serve often unconsciously to reinforce existing power differences and justify existing systemic biases.

Implicit, non-conscious biases can have a negative impact on productivity and task quality. Although blatant forms of racism and sexism are less obvious within contemporary society, opposition to the civil and legal rights of gender-transgressive sexual minorities still is considered p. Gregory Herek has been documenting the effects of individual and institutional stigma on the mental health of sexual minority populations for at least two decades e.


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Moreover, despite some recent gains in securing legal rights relevant to marriage, parenting, and health care for sexual minority people, it bears pointing out that even these legislative gains are hard-won in public battles that exhibit almost unthinkable hatred and anti-gay rhetoric. Thus, it is quite clear that equality is still elusive for many LGBT people, and continues to be an important civil rights issue that ultimately translates into mental health issues that need to be addressed by psychologists. In general, contemporary and subtle forms of bias and intricate interactions of sexism, racism, heterosexism, ageism, ableism, and classism inform the intersectional analyses of authors within this handbook.

Suzette Speight, Denise Isom, and Anita Thomas chapter 6 provide analysis of gendered racism by examining stereotyped images of African American women. As noted in the first section of this chapter, some of the first efforts to reduce bias in research focused on expanding the purview and scope of research by implementing non-sexist practices, asking unbiased questions, using representative samples e. However, Sandra Harding argued that the attempted non-sexist use of quantitative methods did not provide tools for challenging flawed assumptions about the structure of knowledge.

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These methods purportedly allowed marginalized persons to explore their deep and personal knowledge as persons with outsider status who had gained insider perspectives. This knowledge had been acquired by living according to the rules of dominant society and by developing fine-tuned lenses for detecting nuances, hypocrisies, contradictions, and inconsistencies that powerful individuals had difficulty seeing in themselves Collins, ; Harding, By the late s and early s, psychologists e.

During the past two decades, multicultural and feminist psychology have been enriched by a rich array of research approaches and findings, typically based on a combination of qualitative and quantitative findings. Social justice emphases in counseling psychology also have led to increased interest in participatory action research PAR.

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Unlike many handbooks within psychology, this volume does not include a separate chapter p. As can be seen from the contents of the chapters, authors value many different forms of theoretical and research evidence, and emphasize the importance of raising questions about the function and implications of all forms of research. In their chapter on social identity development, for example, Ann Fischer and Kurt DeBord chapter 5 use critical power analysis to evaluate existing models of feminist social identity. Tools for engaging in this analysis include asking who benefits from specific research framing or findings, how power and privilege shape perspectives, who is or is not represented in findings, and how contexts or power dynamics may be obscured by the research approach.

Critical power analysis also involves raising critical thinking questions about research questions, methods, interpretations, and the motivations of researchers. We invite readers who wish to gain more specific information about the uses of qualitative and quantitative methods in counseling psychology to refer to the excellent and multiple sources that provide more specific description; Betz and Fassinger provide a thorough overview of both quantitative and qualitative approaches, and other resources focus on either qualitative or qualitative methods more specifically e.

As noted earlier in this chapter, the ethnocentrism of White feminists often has been identified as a barrier to inclusive feminisms and social justice see Enns, , for a history. In general, these theories quickly outlived their utility and gave way to social constructionist, multicultural, and diversity feminisms that critiqued hidden assumptions underlying grand theories, such as the assumption that women across cultures, time periods, and circumstances share similar needs and oppressions.

Multicultural and locational feminisms Enns, increasingly underlined the geography and time specificity of privilege, power, and oppression and provided a foundation for flexible feminisms and practice. Women of color feminists provided insightful analyses from their specific standpoints as African American women e. These latter chapters represent a sample of the areas in which feminist multicultural counseling psychologists have developed expertise.


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The chapters following this introductory overview survey theory, research, and practice with the intent of presenting a snapshot of the current status of feminist multicultural counseling psychology. Part II explores perspectives relevant p. Authors have brought a variety of approaches to these chapters, sometimes providing a broad overview, sometimes emphasizing a subset of issues and concerns facing women with specific social identities, and sometimes integrating personal stories within the chapter.

In all cases, authors speak to the complexity and diversity of women in a given category and bring an intersectional focus to their writing. Although the topics in this section discuss many social identity categories of interest to feminist multicultural counseling psychologists, we also are aware that this section easily could have been doubled in length and still would have been less than comprehensive! When identities of interest to the reader are missing, we hope that the approaches taken by authors in this section will provide direction for those seeking information about additional groups of women.

Part III explores a variety of theory and practice areas to which counseling psychologists have contributed. As the title of the specialty implies, counseling psychologists also contributed to the early literature on feminist therapy e.

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Feminist Multicultural Psychology: Evolution, Change, and Challenge

It should come as no surprise that explorations of the intersections of feminism and multiculturalism within counseling and therapy have been a priority. As with the major section on specific social identities Part II , this section could also have been expanded substantially to focus on many other applications of feminist multicultural themes to counseling and psychotherapy. The final section of this handbook, Part IV , explores the major practice areas of training, advocacy, and social justice.

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The topics addressed in this chapter represent a brief introduction to the rich content that follows in the next 24 chapters. The contents of these chapters represent the culmination of more than 40 years of theory, research, and practice relevant to the lives of diverse groups of women. We hope that readers find the information in this handbook to be useful for research, training, practice, and advocacy. Likewise, we hope that readers are challenged to re-analyze their own perspectives on the issues in this handbook, and that they use a feminist multicultural counseling psychology framework to guide future work that propels counseling psychology into new, courageous, and pioneering directions.

American Psychiatric Association. Diagnostic and statistical manual of mental disorders: Fourth edition text revision. Find this resource:. Guidelines for nonsexist use of language.


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American Psychologist, 30 , — American Psychological Association. Report of the task force on sex bias and sex-role stereotyping in psychotherapeutic practice. Guidelines for nonsexist language in APA p. American Psychologist, 32 , — Guidelines for therapy with women.

American Psychologist, 33 , — Principles concerning the counseling and psychotherapy of women. Counseling Psychologist, 8 , Resolution on poverty and socioeconomic status.