Publication Date


Document Type

Masters Thesis


School for Social Work


Feminist therapy, Borderline personality disorder-Treatment, Feminist theory, Feminists, Feminist therapists, BPD, Women psychotherapists-Attitudes


This qualitative, exploratory study examines the perspectives of practicing feminist therapists about the benefits of utilizing feminist therapy for the treatment of Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD). Twelve licensed clinicians were interviewed about their clinical experiences and perceptions of the benefits of feminist therapy in treating clients diagnosed with BPD. Clinicians discussed the theory and implementation of feminist therapy; how feminist therapists understand BPD in light of current debates on the use of this diagnosis; and the unique benefits feminist therapy may offer in the treatment of BPD. Participants were asked to give their reactions to the BPD diagnosis and the role of trauma in the lives of clients diagnosed with BPD. In particular, clinicians discussed feminist therapy as a framework, lens, and relational method of interacting with clients. Study results were consistent with the hypothesis that the collaborative, relational approach of feminist therapy is of significant benefit to clients who are diagnosed with BPD. An advantage in treatment is this approach is a flexible, integrative practice, able to embrace other modalities and techniques. Finally, the feminist focus on the therapeutic relationship diminishes pathologizing and highlights strengths and capacities, which help to empower clients diagnosed with BPD.




iv, 86 p. Thesis (M.S.W.)--Smith College School for Social Work, 2013. Includes bibliographical references (p. 79-81)