Week 7: Feminist and Transpersonal Theories

Week 7: Feminist and Transpersonal Theories


Deidre is a 22-year-old African American and Latina female who was raised as an only child near New York City. At age 19, Deidre moved to Kansas to attend college. She is currently a senior majoring in sociology and works part-time to pay for school and living expenses. Deidre was referred by her medical doctor who noted that she was anxious and tense, and suggested she see a counselor. Deidre says that although she does not identify with a religion, she has “dabbled in Buddhism” as a way to relax and find comfort.

Deidre’s parents divorced when she was 9 and she lived primarily with her mom after the divorce. Deidre had a contentious relationship with her Latina mother, who was “moody” and emotionally unpredictable and tended to hoard things. Deidre reported that her mother “drove her father away” with her negative moods and that Deidre is concerned about her own moods and is worried about becoming like her mother. Deidre spent most of her childhood in her room, where she felt protected from her mother. Deidre was quiet and withdrawn during high school and had only a few close friends.

Deidre’s African American father died suddenly from a heart attack when she was 17. She described her father as being very quiet and calm. When her parents were married, Deidre remembers her father sitting in a chair reading and not reacting to her mother’s moods. When Deidre spent summers with her father, she reported feeling close to him even though they did not talk much, but she appreciated how “calm” his house was.

After her dad’s passing, Deidre started using drugs and alcohol. She stated that she preferred marijuana, and that she was afraid of meth even though many of her friends were using it. She became pregnant at 18 after a party at a friend’s house, but she didn’t know who the baby’s father was. She had an abortion, and reports that she dreams about who her child might have been and how “different—in a good way” her life might be if she had carried the child full term.

While in her first year at college, she joined an environmental group, where she met her boyfriend, Tom. Currently, Deirdre is living with Tom in a small apartment just off campus in the downtown area of Hays, Kansas. Deidre has been with Tom for nearly 4 years, and they are considering getting married. She reported feeling guilty that she has never shared with Tom that she had an abortion. She stated that Tom is very pro-life, and she is afraid he will leave her if she tells him. She expresses that she would like help sorting out her many issues and wonders if there is any hope for her to have a good life.

Required Readings

Herlihy, D., & Park, C.N. (2016). Feminist theory. In D. Capuzzi & M. D. Stauffer (Eds.), Counseling and psychotherapy: Theories and interventions (6th ed., pp. 367–390). Alexandria, VA: American Counseling Association.

Carrier, J. W., & Mitchell, N. G. (2016). Transpersonal theory. In D. Capuzzi & M. D. Stauffer (Eds.), Counseling and psychotherapy: Theories and interventions (6th ed., pp. 391–418). Alexandria, VA: American Counseling Association.

Document: Psychoanalytic Case Conceptualization Example (Word document)


Document: Case Studies (Word document)

Required Media

Psychotherapy.net. (Producer). (1997c). Feminist therapy [Video file].​ Mill Valley, CA: Author.

o Prepare:

· Review this week’s Learning Resources.

· Review the feminist therapy video from this week’s Learning Resources. Take note of language and techniques used by the counselor that is specific to this theory.

· Review the Psychoanalytic Case Conceptualization Example found in this week’s Learning Resources and use this document to prepare your initial Discussion post.

· Select one of the four case studies presented in this week’s Learning Resources, and answer the following points as if you were a feminist or transpersonal counselor. Use your Learning Resources and the notes you took on language and technique from the feminist therapy video to support your conceptualization and integrate examples from the case to support your post. Include the following:

· Presenting Problem

· Treatment Goals

· Identification and explanation of at least two techniques and interventions

· Expected Outcome

Week 7: Feminist and Transpersonal Theories

The way that humans perceive their world is naturally colored by their own thoughts and experiences. In fact, it can be argued that humans are selfish and fairly self-obsessed. Many people do not have an understanding that a single event may be perceived as drastically differently by two people depending on each person’s past and current life experiences.

As a counselor, it is imperative to be cognizant of this natural selfish tendency and to listen carefully as clients describe how they view their circumstances through their unique worldview. By learning how a client’s opinions, assumptions, and reactions affect the way they experience their world, counselors can work with individuals to understand and begin to restructure their life-stories.

The two theories that will be explored this week are feminist and transpersonal theories. These are both relatively recent additions to the field, and they can help broaden your understanding of human perceptions.

Despite the name, feminist theory is not a theory just for women, by women. Growing out of the feminist movement of the 1960s, it has evolved to include anyone whose rights have been oppressed. Consider how your multiple identities and group memberships influence your own worldview.

Transpersonal theory is significantly different from many other theories, as it straddles traditional mental health practices and spiritual care. A transpersonal counselor views a client as a spiritual being and works to consider all elements of the self, including evolving states of consciousness and spiritualism, into treatment. This week, reflect on the dimensions of spirituality and awareness that would affect how an individual perceives his or her world.

Consideration of theories such as these can aid in gaining a better understanding of our clients’/students’ unique relationships with the world and will allow you to work with them to make positive changes in their lives.

Learning Objectives

Students will:

· Identify theorists, timeframes, and major constructs of individual theories

· Analyze techniques/interventions associated with individual theories

· Evaluate theories in relation to cases