What's in a name? A study of family therapists' use and acceptance of the feminist perspective

Mary E. Dankoski, Christie D. Penn, Thomas D. Carlson, Lorna L. Hecker

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

22 Scopus citations


Although the field of family therapy has largely embraced the notions of feminism, many family therapists seem reluctant to call themselves feminists. Nevertheless, questioning the impact of the social context of gender roles on relationships seems relatively commonplace in most family therapists’ practice. The present exploratory study investigated whether American Association for Marital and Family Therapy (AAMFT) members work from a feminist perspective, and whether those who work from a feminist perspective would identify themselves or their work as feminist. A convenience sample of AAMFT members (clinical, associate, affiliate, and student) responded to a self-report survey. Results indicated that there is a small but significant difference in feminist behaviors in therapy between respondents who identified with a feminist theoretical orientation and those who did not. Despite this difference, all respondents generally had high scores on the feminist therapy scale scores. Results indicate that although many family therapists do not identify themselves as feminists, their practices are guided by feminist ideals.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)95-104
Number of pages10
JournalAmerican Journal of Family Therapy
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jan 1 1998
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Psychology
  • Clinical Psychology

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