Is Counselling a Feminist Practice?
Women’s efforts to influence policies have complex effects, which are often difficult to evaluate. This paper identifies four themes in feminist politics through which to analyse whether a particular intervention involving substantial numbers of women – that of counselling in the UK – can be understood as a feminist practice. These themes are concerned with gender equality, women’s autonomy, recognition of diversity among women and the deconstruction of gender norms. In its early post-war origins prior to the emergence of second wave feminism, and in the stories recounted by women practitioners at the turn of millennium, counselling emerges as contradictory and ambivalent in relation to these themes in feminist politics.