How Therapy for Women is Empowering and Why It’s So Important
Posted by Soribel Martinez, LCSW
Women face a unique mix of challenges throughout their lifetime. For reasons not entirely known, women are significantly more likely to experience mental health issues such as depression and anxiety than men are.
Therapy, however, offers women empowerment and confidence. Therapy can be adapted and modified to fit any situation that a woman finds herself in. Here are some ways this works.
Challenging Cultural Norms, Oppression, and Stereotypes
While big strides have been made in women’s rights, there’s still a lot of work to be done.
Misconceptions and stereotypes about women linger. They are often thought of as being weaker and more emotional than men. These types of stereotypes affect women and the way they see themselves. They also create barriers in society and unfair treatment.
As you can imagine, these types of outdated assumptions can lead to depression and anxiety. This is true on a smaller scale and on a more general scale.
Therapy, however, can help women sort through these issues and see how they may have affected them. If they’ve accepted these outdated attitudes as true, therapy can help women challenge them and replace them with more accurate, empowering beliefs about themselves.
While both partners need to make compromises to make a relationship work, it’s often the woman who makes larger sacrifices for her male husband or partner. Often this is because he has greater earning power or has to relocate for his career to grow. Or she may skip college in order to work and support her husband while he’s in school. But she loses out on higher education herself.
This can mean that the wife’s career growth is interrupted, and opportunities are lost. This isn’t to say that all women have to work outside the home.
But, over time, a woman can begin to feel as though her dreams and hopes aren’t as important as her partner’s are. She may even lose touch with who she really is and what she wants. A woman may not be given the life experiences to build the type of independence and confidence needed to manage life on her own.
A woman can explore these issues in therapy and make important breakthroughs. She can learn how to examine her experiences, motivation, and thoughts and make decisions about how she can grow.
Transitioning to Motherhood
Motherhood can be an empowering experience that helps women discover strength and courage they didn’t know they had.
But motherhood (and womanhood) also brings with it fluctuating hormones that can wreak havoc on a woman’s moods. The hormones that make women capable of bearing children can also mean that they suffer more from depression and anxiety.
Women often need mental health support during and after pregnancy. Adjusting to motherhood is a big task. Many moms don’t have the supportive communities of grandmas, aunts, and sisters that were once common.
Fortunately, therapy can offer a mom in the throes of post-partum depression a supportive, helpful relationship. A therapist can help moms identify areas they need help in and how to find it.
Getting Through Divorce or Breaking Up
As you can imagine, women often run the risk of much more stress and uncertainty after a divorce than their male partners. If she has been financially dependent on him, divorce can have an additional layer of anxiety.
Single motherhood, for example, brings with it an enormous amount of stress. Trying to make ends meet, raise children alone, and care for a home alone can easily overwhelm a mom. Depression and anxiety are common experiences.
Therapy, however, can empower newly single women and moms. In therapy, women can identify strengths, build vital emotional skills, and benefit from the guidance of their counselor.
As a therapist, it’s immensely rewarding to help women walk through struggles and come out stronger on the other side. If you’re dealing with depression, anxiety, or other mental health issues, please consider reaching out for therapy.