Reflection Paper: Rader and Gilbert 2005 Study
Rader and Gilbert conducted a study aimed towards identifying the presence of an egalitarian relationship between therapist and clients when using the feminist approach during sessions. Being that egalitarian relationships are one of the main concerns in the feminist therapy approach, Rader and Gilbert observed counselors who identified themselves as being feminist therapist and determined if their clients’ perceived them in the same way. Their study included observations of how clients and therapist exercised their personal power throughout therapy sessions. When interviewing the participants’ post-therapy sessions they revealed the feminist therapists did in fact promote equality by engaging in power-sharing behaviors. This study proved to support their hypothesis on the presence and extreme importance of egalitarianism in this approach. The participants who did not identify as being feminist therapists lacked power-sharing behaviors and placed a lesser degree of importance on egalitarian features during sessions. Even though this theory lacks empirical support, Rader and Gilbert’s study showed through egalitarian relationships clients gain a sense of empowerment.
Egalitarianism has and remains to be the central focus of the feminist therapy approach. This extreme attention to power throughout therapy sessions has been a successful method for bringing about change in clients. Rader and Gilbert’s study was the first quantitative study that revealed this therapy technique weighs heavily the importance of the longstanding ideal of equality in relationships.
Rader, J., & Gilbert, L. A. (2005). The Egalitarian Relationship in Feminist Therapy.
Psychology of Women Quarterly, 29, 427-435