Like so many of you, I am still reeling from the Supreme Court decision to take away a women’s fundamental right to reproductive healthcare. Make no mistake about it: Roe’s overturn was another collective trauma.
The ruling, while not surprising, was a punch to the gut. It was an assault and an insult to our autonomy and a basic premise: Women can and should be trusted with their own bodies. If you are feeling despair, fury, hopelessness, anxiety, numbness or any combination thereof, please know these feelings are a valid and healthy response to trauma. So many women (and folx with uteruses) feel threatened and powerless right now. For women in red states, with marginalized identities and/or with less resources, that threat is heightened. And for women in blue states like California, we may be wondering what to do next. How do we use our privilege to help other women who have already been impacted by restricted or no access to healthcare?
It’s for these reasons, women-centered psychotherapy is essential right now, and that’s where Feminist Therapy comes in. Feminist Therapy, unlike many other therapeutic approaches, centers the nuanced experiences of women and girls and recognizes that one’s emotional health hinges not only on a strong sense of self and nourishing relationships, but on a society where everyone feels safe and respected. That starts in the therapy room by creating a therapeutic relationship that feels collaborative, respectful and acknowledges the client as the expert of their own experience. You’d think those tenets would be more common place than they actually are.
To be clear, I’m not speaking for all feminist therapists here or the field at large. Instead, I’ll share some values and principles that I incorporate into my own Feminist Therapy practice, which focuses specifically on the support of self-identified women and girls in California.
I share my approach here because as I've written many times before, I believe Feminist Therapy is revolutionary, just as I believe healing is our birthright. Both are needed now.
These continue to be trying times, and women and girls deserve support tailored just to them. Too often people shy away from therapy because they fear their experiences won't be fully honored. It feels safer to push through on their own, despite the pain it may cause, not realizing there is a therapeutic frame that is in line with their own values and experiences.
I expect in coming weeks I’ll write more in detail about women’s mental health and how to care for ourselves in a post-Roe era, but for now I wanted to offer that women-centered support is available and that we don’t need to get through this on our own.
If you're interested in knowing more about Feminist Therapy, the work I do, or are in need of support during this trying time, don't hesitate to reach out.
Till next time, wishing you health & ease,
Anyone who is familiar with my work as a therapist knows that I am a fan of interventions that (a) focus on client strengths and (b) are creative and often outside the box. I tend to pull from a variety of modalities and approaches in my work from well-researched practices such as Dialectical Behavioral Therapy and Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, to emerging therapies (i.e. those that have been around for a long while, but have only recently been accepted by the mainstream mental health community) including nature-based and expressive arts interventions. I even utilize - wait for it - tarot cards.
Yes, it's true. I'm a licensed clinician and I utilize tarot with clients when they are interested and when the intervention is clinically indicated.
But before I share how I use the elusive tarot in session, let me backtrack a bit because I want to share that I first stumbled upon what would become my first tarot deck when I was just thirteen years old, wandering around the back of a bookstore with my mom. She had no idea then the seed she was planting!
I was immediately smitten with the imagery of the cards; the universal experiences and personality types represented; and the feeling of entering another world filled with symbol and metaphor. Although, my long-term draw to the practice of tarot was the honing of and reliance on intuition. This is to say that by using the cards, reading the traditional meanings and drawing my own associations, I would gain insight into questions and situation that had me feeling stuck. As it turned out, I didn't need someone else to tell me what I already knew deep down, I just needed a way to access it.
In my therapy practice, I offer clients the opportunity to do the same with my support and guidance. This is especially relevant to women and girls I work with who are often learning to trust themselves as well as explore identity and cultivate self-esteem.
If you're intrigued and wanting to explore the world of tarot its easy enough to pick a deck based on which imagery you are drawn to. Most bookstores carry tarot decks, but there are also a host of unique small-batch decks sold on Etsy.com and other online sites.
Once you've picked your deck, an easy way to start practicing is to pick a card a day and let yourself engage with the card. Take a deep breath. What symbols do you see? What is the wisdom or the lesson of the card? Do you feel resistant or open?
Have fun with it! And if you're interested in learning more about this work either as a client or a clinician seeking consultation, feel free to reach out here. I absolutely love chatting about the use of tarot in healing work.
Till text time, wishing you health and ease,