New guidelines for therapists criticised for identifying women as 'emotional' and 'vulnerable'

Picture: Excerpt from the British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy's guidelines

Picture: Excerpt from the British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy's guidelines

Monday, September 3, 2018

The British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy’s new gender identity guidelines have faced blacklash after describing women as “emotional” and “vulnerable”.

The document, which sets out to define what it means to be a woman, including transgender women, defined women as “adhering to social norms of femininity, such as being nurturing, caring, social, emotional, vulnerable, and concerned with appearance."

It highlighted that not all woman adhere to these rules, stating that northern working-class women associate feminity with “strength and aggression”.

Karen Smith, an activist who runs Counting Dead Women on Twitter, tweeted excerpts from the document branding it “sexist bulls**t”.

 

 

 

The document also claims that another exception to the definition were women who were “on the autistic/aspergic/ADHD spectra' and women who 'may struggle to express emotions, or with social situations”.

Sophie Walker from Womens Equality UK said in a tweet: “This is ludicrous and dangerous. Particularly citing autistic women as a first example of what’s not a typical ‘empathetic/concerned with appearance’ woman which further entrenches ‘difference’. This is the damage that leaves so many needing counselling! Do better. Much better.

 

 

BACP have apologised for the offence the content in the guideline provided and are in the “process of revising” the guidance.

A spokesperson from the organisation said: “We, of course, apologise if anyone is offended by the content in this guide.

“This is not something that we would ever intend to do. We are currently in the process of revising this guidance and are in contact with a range of different specialists, who are looking to add their expertise."