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Women-Focused Therapy: Everything You Need to Know

Women-focused therapy takes a specialized approach that caters to the needs women often deal with. You know how they say women are from Venus and men are from Mars? It’s certainly true that we’re wired differently, and as it turns out, it can make a difference in therapy. Many men and women suffer from the same things – depression, anxiety, or stress, for example. However, the same mental health conditions affect men and women differently, making the therapeutic process different.  That’s why women-focused therapy with female therapists exists, and that’s what today’s blog is about. Keep reading to learn more!

Women vs. Men-Focused Therapy

Many women deal with biological, environmental, and psychosocial challenges that are specifically related to being female. And many of those challenges become severe enough that a woman will seek out therapy. The same is true for men, but it will affect them differently. A therapist and patient conversation about the same topic will be different for a woman than for a man.  There are also some things women face – like postpartum depression – that men will never deal with in the same way. Likewise, men will have parenting challenges that women don’t face, many of which come from societal stigmas and prejudices. 

Women Seek Help More Often.

Did you know that, even though men and women face some of the same issues, more women than men seek therapy? It’s true. Many individuals face mental health challenges, but 25% of women seek treatment while only 14% of men do.  Men and women have their similarities and their differences. It’s a good idea for anyone struggling with life’s challenges to seek therapy. It’s also a good idea to seek out gender-specific therapy for a more tailored approach that focuses on the intricacies of what you’re facing. 

Common Women-Focused Therapy Topics

In this section, we’re discussing the issues that women most often face. Men can deal with some of these challenges, but we’re focusing on the female aspects that can make women-focused therapy a crucial part of recovery.  Generalized Issues
  • Depression – Depression is a prevalent cause of women seeking therapy. Depression can range in severity. Mild cases often go away on their own. But the worst cases can lead to tragic situations like suicide. Thankfully, depression can be treated and managed with the right therapies and, in some cases, medication.
  • Anxiety – The definition of anxiety depends on the person experiencing it. Anxiety can be as simple as excessive nervousness in the body. But it can also mean worrying or doubting yourself. Anxiety is awful to experience. Many women who face anxiety deal with ongoing symptoms, but it’s not unheard of for symptoms to come out of nowhere and cause debilitating stress. This is an especially important time for a woman to seek help.
  • Perinatal mood disorders – This group of disorders includes postpartum depression, which can affect any woman who has given birth. It strikes in the first year of the baby’s life. Some mothers quickly recover from it, while others have an all-encompassing experience that requires individualized help. Women can also suffer from anxiety and psychosis as perinatal mood disorders.
  • Eating disorders include binge eating, bulimia, anorexia, avoidant/restrictive food intake disorder (ARFID), pica, and rumination. Binge eating involves extreme overeating. Bulimia takes binge eating a step further. Women suffering from bulimia will take laxatives or force themselves to throw up to purge their bodies of the food they binge ate. Feelings of shame, guilt, and embarrassment are often involved. Anorexia causes women to restrict the foods they eat to rapidly lose weight at a dangerous level. ARFID causes women not to get all the nutrition they need, but instead of worrying about weight or body image, the woman generally has an aversion to food taste, smell, or texture. Pica is rare but serious. It causes women to eat substances that are not food and can make them very sick. Examples include clay, paper, soap, chalk, mud, etc. Finally, rumination involves re-eating food that has been thrown up.
  • Borderline personality disorder – Women with BPD struggle with relationships, extreme reactions, and constant fear of abandonment.
  • Mood-related challenges – Your mood refers to your emotional state and can change anytime. Mood disorders encompass diagnoses like major depression, dysthymia, postpartum, and bipolar.
  • Self-harm – Self-harm, or non-suicidal self-injury, involves intentionally harming oneself. The most common form of self-harm is cutting. 
Social and Cultural Issues
  • Sexism/oppression – It’s no secret that women have dealt with sexism and oppression for many generations. Thankfully, neither issues are as bad as they used to be, but they still exist, and therapy can help. These issues can prevent women from growing and developing to their full potential without treatment.
  • Abuse/intimate partner violence – Women who suffer from abuse at the hands of their partners frequently experience high levels of depression, PTSD, or anxiety. It’s imperative for victims of abuse to receive the help they need to recover from the trauma of abuse or violence. Many women who experience abuse are only comfortable speaking with female therapists.
  • Inaccurate portrayal in the media – Society has a way of portraying women and presenting an “ideal” that many women feel they must live up to. The media frequently analyzes and scrutinizes women’s clothing choices and sexual behavior. Women-focused therapy can help women differentiate reality from the illusions created by the media. 
Motherhood Becoming a mother is an extraordinary, complex experience. Pregnancy can be a satisfying and joyful experience, but it also comes with health risks that can make women very anxious.  A pregnant woman lives every day knowing that something can go wrong. It’s even worse for expectant mothers experiencing complications. A woman can simultaneously love pregnancy but struggle with wanting it to end.  Once the baby is born, the sleepless nights and long hours can affect a woman’s mental health. And that’s only the beginning of the journey that is motherhood. Simply put, going through the stages of pregnancy and childbirth, and even menopause and aging, come with emotional challenges that therapy can help with. 

Ardu Recovery Center Offers Women-Focused Therapy

Women-focused therapy can be a game-changer for any woman dealing with the challenges discussed in today’s blog. It can also benefit any woman who wants to explore therapy to cope with whatever they’re going through. There are no limits to the kinds of women that women-focused therapy can help. Ardu Recovery Center offers women-focused therapy to every woman receiving treatment at Ardu, whether through in-patient or out-patient care. We can help with anything you might be struggling with, including addiction, rehabilitation, or substance abuse.  Located in northern Utah, Ardu Recovery Center works with multiple insurance plans and creates individual, customized programs. Let us help you or a woman in your life get the help needed to recover and get back to living a fulfilling life. Contact us today to learn more!