Towards gender awareness in couple therapy and in treatment of intimate partner violence
Päivinen, H., & Holma, J. (2017). Towards gender awareness in couple therapy and in treatment of intimate partner violence. Journal of Gender-Based Violence, 2017 (2), 221-234. doi:10.1332/239868017X15090095287019
Published inJournal of Gender-Based Violence
© Policy Press, 2017. This is a final draft version of an article whose final and definitive form has been published by Policy Press. Published in this repository with the kind permission of the publisher.
Gender is the most pervasive classification of individuals and thus strongly defines couple relationships. Cultural discourses on couple relationships reproduce hierarchical gender differences, and couple distress is often linked to gendered power inequalities. At worst, gender is the basis for intimate partner violence (IPV). Generally, however, therapeutic interventions do not address the issues of gender and gendered power. This paper discusses the meaning and functions of gender in the context of couple therapy, in particular for IPV. It is argued that the therapist needs to be skilled in discursive deconstruction to be able not only to address the client's situation as an individual experience but also to locate it in the wider social and cultural context. Addressing the gendered positioning of others and themselves is a clinical tool of potential value in therapeutic conversations.