The Feminine Voice in Psychology

I recently took the National Counselor Examination (NCE). In my study, I noticed how the field of psychology has historically been so heavily male-dominated. Yet, I have learned from so many female doctors.

    To be sure, the contributions from men to the field of psychology are significant, valuable, and important. For examples, Freud proposed the unconscious mind and dreamwork, and the value of catharsis. Jung proposed archetypes and the collective unconscious, and the curious synchronicity. Carl Rogers brought us the concepts of unconditional positive regard, accurate empathy, and complete acceptance. Albert Ellis introduced the ideas of irrational thinking and Viktor Frankl, the existential philosophy of finding meaning in life, even in horrific conditions. 

    Many of these men are called fathers in psychology. We have the Father of Psychoanalysis, Sigmund Freud; the Father of Analytic Psychology, Carl Jung; the Father of American Behaviorism, John B Watson; the Father of Vocational Guidance, Frank Parsons; and the Grandfather of Family Therapy, Nathan Ackerman. 

    I just wonder, where are our mothers? 

    I can assure you that we do have them. I have studied with some of the best contemporary feminine voices in psychology. So in sharing with you, I hope to awaken the moss on the stone, perhaps rolling it down the hill. 

    Clarissa Pinkola Estes PhD, has contributed immensely with theory and framework on the instinctual mind. I highly recommend her book, “Women Who Run With the Wolves,” first published in 1992, which speaks to instinct and intuition in the female psyche, often disregarded, dismissed, or bound up in chains. Perhaps Dr. Clarissa Pinkola Estes could be named the Mother of Instinct. 

    Christiane Northrup MD, has published prolifically on the interconnectedness of mental health and physical health, compellingly gifting the field of psychoneuroimmunology. I highly recommend her books: “Women’s Bodies, Women’s Wisdom,” “Mother-Daughter Wisdom,” and the “The Wisdom of Menopause.” Dr. Northrup’s work has examined growth and development of the female mind/body in unprecedented detail and cultural perspective. We could name Dr. Christiane Northrup, the Mother of Wisdom. 

    Caroline Myss brought soul and spirit into the conversation. I highly recommended her books: “Anatomy of the Spirit,” “Sacred Contracts,” and “Entering the Castle.”  Caroline Myss, perhaps, would be the Mother of Spirit

   Isabelle Myers and Catherine Briggs, a mother-daughter duo, who are well recognized in psychology for the development of the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator, introduced  intuition and feeling into personality testing. 

    Instinct, intuition, wisdom, soul, spirit, feeling....yes, these do all sound like contributions from the feminine mind. May the feminine voice in psychology be recognized and included in our textbooks, tests, and history.