Encyclopedia of Couple and Family Therapy

2019 Edition
| Editors: Jay L. Lebow, Anthony L. Chambers, Douglas C. Breunlin

Gender in Couple and Family Therapy

  • Carmen Knudson-MartinEmail author
  • Melissa Wells
Reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-49425-8_532

Name of Theory

Gender Systems Theory




Gender is a socially constructed concept originally defined to differentiate people into two groups based primarily on biological sex differences. Although this binary has a long history, gender is much more than a biological assignment as male or female, particularly when one’s experience does not match the assigned gender. It fosters a system of relating that affects everyone, regardless of sexual orientation or identity, in ways that can limit interpersonal approaches and reinforce power differences between men and women. While this gendered system of relating has changed over time, the power imbalances and limits to personal development inherent in its socioculturally endorsed structure have persisted, with destructive effects (Knudson-Martin 2013; Knudson-Martin and Mahoney 2009). This chapter will examine the impact of larger societal forces on gendered power inequities in family processes and describe an...

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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Lewis and Clark Graduate School of Education and CounselingPortlandUSA
  2. 2.Lewis and ClarkPortlandUSA

Section editors and affiliations

  • Sean Davis
    • 1
  1. 1.California School of Professional Psychology, Alliant International UniversitySacramentoUSA