EAST WEST PSYCHOTHERAPY & COUNSELLING - for East Devon, West Dorset & South Somerset - by Skype, FaceTime & Phone Worldwide

Counselling for Women

Experience of abuse and violence against women has been widely evidenced by the current coverage in the press. As women, we can still experience covert and/or overt institutionalised sexism where some men seem to take advantage of their position to sexually exploit women and girls in this society. In some other societies women’s position seems even worse, for example, with female genital mutilation. Hopefully more public awareness will help to eradicate chauvinistic and cruel practices like this. Both historically and cross-culturally, women’s position has been disadvantaged, but it has been changing, albeit slowly. The main culprits of women’s oppression and of causes of injustice to women have been principally men, as supported by the official UK statistics. Approximately one in every five women has been sexually abused in childhood and most adult perpetrators have been men and most victims have been women. This all means that there are many women who are holding onto a lot of trauma and emotional difficulties and often they don’t come for help. I have frequently had clients in their 70s or 80s who had a life time of trauma and abuse and haven’t felt able to seek help from counselling in their younger years because of oppressive and alienating societal values. Women who have come to see me have often felt ashamed or embarrassed to engage in therapy and, as part of this, have felt that they should really get on with things - move on - have a stiff upper lip, etc., that they should not be having therapy. There has been a trans-generational pressure for women to keep quiet, but with the feminist movement in particular, women have been gradually finding their voice.

In the UK women only obtained equal rights to vote in the early 20th century. Women are still receiving less pay for performing the same jobs as men. It has been reported in the press that older women tend to be more discriminated against in the workplace on the grounds of age than men of the same age (e.g. Olenka Frenkiel’s article, where she says, ‘The BBC: I saw guys my age thriving. Women were gone. I, too, was being rubbed out.’ in The Guardian on 8.11.14). Women working as house wives or mothers do not get paid or recognised for this and the government seems to be pushing them to go to work, thus devaluing the importance of motherhood and substituting this with child care, which is also underpaid and mostly carried out by women. Of course, there are also many women who choose to go back to work soon. Although parental rights have been granted by employers, in reality working women with children often face indirect discrimination by employers and might be considered as ‘problematic’ e.g. when a child gets ill. All of these and many other historical, social, economic and political pressures and conflicting views have led to potential emotional difficulties for women.

Over the last decades, to be successful in the work place, women have had to adopt in large part a ‘male dominant ideology’ such as the stiff upper lip. To show sensitivity and to be more vulnerable is seen as being weak. This ‘male identification’ seems to be out of synch with many women’s natural tendencies, particularly if the person (actually, either a woman or a man) is very sensitive and this then potentially contributes to long term emotional difficulties.

Having said all of this, clearly there are liberal men who support and understand women’s issues and indeed these men have been actively helping to improve the emotional well-being of both women and of men and of course, some women contribute towards the oppression of both women and men. Women and men both experience the same range and intensity of feelings and therapy can help us become more emotionally expressive and freer to make positive choices in our lives and thus improve our overall emotional and psychological well-being.

I have a long and wide ranging experience of working with difficulties pertinent to women in my work in the NHS, privately and in the voluntary sector.

From October 2023 I will be offering in person sessions on Thursday afternoon and early evening in Holmedale Health 34 Denmark Road, Exeter EX1 1SE

I work online by Signal, Brave Talk, Google Meet, Skype, Zoom, Microsoft Teams, and FaceTime worldwide.

I accept payments through Paypal for foreign residents.

I work with the following psychological and emotional difficulties: