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Fostering a safe atmosphere: A first step in discussing gender in family therapy training programs

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Several important aspects of raising gender issues in family therapy training programs have been identified in the last few years. However, an important first step has often not been made explicit: the need to establish an open and safe environment in which these issues can be discussed. Such a safe environment can be developed by using theoretical perspectives with which family therapy students and faculty are already familiar. This paper offers three theoretical perspectives as examples and makes suggestions for facilitating an atmosphere that is conducive to discussing gender issues.

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Correspondence to Karen L. Helmeke MDiv.

Additional information

The author wishes to thank Dr. Fred P. Piercy for his helpful comments and contributions to this paper.

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Helmeke, K.L. Fostering a safe atmosphere: A first step in discussing gender in family therapy training programs. Contemp Fam Ther 16, 503–519 (1994).

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Key Words

  • Gender
  • sex roles
  • feminism
  • family therapy education and training