Public Awareness vs Individual Therapy

The women’s liberation movement has demonstrated repeatedly to the mental health profession that consciousness raising has often been more beneficial and empowering to women than psychotherapy.  In particular, the public revelation of the many and ancient sexual secrets of women (orgasm, rape, abortion) may have contributed far more toward the liberation of women than the attempt to heal individual wounds through a restorative therapeutic relationship. (Herman and Hirschman 268)

This ties in with standpoint theory and the issue of hermeneutic injustice.  Maybe loneliness can’t really be combated through therapy – instead, autography is needed in order to help people find those communities of people who share in common experiences.  And it’s this sharing of experience that validates the experience of it (redundant as that might sound.)

This also ties in to Jeanne Perreault’s communities in progress, especially in the case of feminism.  If the right to express experience is denied or suppressed, then this inhibits community formation.  So if we looked at, say, Margaret Atwood’s The Handmaid’s Tale, we might use the imposed social isolation of the women in red as a means of better understanding how the ruling classes maintain power over these women (and, by extension, power for the sake of power.)


Herman, Judith and Lisa Hirschman.  From “Father-Dauther Incest: A Clinical Report.”  A Community of Writers: A Workshop Course in Writing, 2nd Ed.  Peter Elbow and Pat Belanoff.  New York: McGraw-Hill, 1995.  Print.

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