Feminist Therapist: How Second Wave Feminism Changed Psychotherapy and Me

Jessica Heriot


Jessica Heriot discovered Women's Liberation in 1969 and became an avid feminist. A few years later, she was introduced to "feminist therapy" and decided to use her social work degree to counsel women. In 1973, she and four other women founded the Women's Growth Center in Baltimore (still in existence today) where psychotherapy for women was rooted in a feminist perspective. After working at the Women's Growth Center and at Jewish Family Services, she opened a private practice where she saw clients, primarily women, for 32 years. In 1992, she received a doctorate in social work from the University of Maryland School of Social Work and was an adjunct professor there for nine years. During her tenure, she designed the school's first course on clinical practice with women. Her dissertation about the role of mothers in incest families, "Maternal Protectiveness Following the Disclosure of Intrafamilial Child Sexual Abuse" was published in The Journal of Interpersonal Violence.

Her first foray into writing began with a chapter, "Double Bind: Healing the Split" in Women Changing Therapy, published in 1983. She co-edited The Use of Personal Narratives in the Helping Professions: A Teaching Casebook, published in 2002. The book described individual's personal experiences with mental health issues and problems in living she thought would be useful to students in social work, psychology, and counseling.

Her current book, Feminist Therapist: How Second Wave Feminism Changed Psychotherapy and Me recounts the seminal contributions of feminism on women's psychology, psychotherapy, and its impact on her own life and career.

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