Thursday, October 30, 2008

Feminist Counseling at Work

In my sharing of FC practice, I began with the issues I encountered in the counseling room, notably 'bipolar disorder', abortion, wife battering and sexual identity issues. These issues precisely define why FC is needed. But more than that, my take are the principles I believed in why I go into FC. First I knew that those frameworks I have learned from college were not empowering women. So, I read about Gilligan (a different voice), Jean Baker Miller (women's strengths) and Chodorow (relational qualities of women). These are the principles that I envisioned would be the core of FC. Aside from these, some instruments were already developed to measure women's empowerment like the FIDS (Feminist Identity Development Scale), the "Stages of Women's Awareness" (Judith Palmer) and the "The Feminine Cycle" (Joan Borysenko). Interestingly, Borysenko noted that unlike boys, girls developed both the right and left brain (for concrete operations and emotional intelligence) at ages 7-14. And the rest of her stages of 'feminine cycle' were empowering compared that made by Erik Erikson. The reactions to my presentation were significant: one participant was hesitant to approach a counseling room if she is not sure that the counselor is an FC, she admitted that she is a bisexual lesbian. Another participant shared her difficulties in counseling lesbians in violent relationship. So, I told her, one should also used the 'power' factor in a relationship and also rescue the 'batterer' in that relationship.

More importantly, I also shared the reasons why I prefer FC. Primarily because of the challenges posed by two significant people: one GC commented: "there is no such thing as FC!" and the keynote speaker below that I mentioned who is also at the topmost position in my profession. Oh I wish we can talk face-to-face and learn from each other why FC is more important for women more than any other framework. Despite all those obstacles, I wish all (probably rare and few) FCs more power and love in their life...

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