Women (cis and trans, straight and queer) working in “geeky” or STEM professions often experience harassment, marginalization, and hostile work or networking environments as well as internal and external stigma, “imposter syndrome,” and a host of other issues that may be relevant in individual and couple therapy. The Geek Feminism folks have started a wiki entry offering information and resources for therapists working with geek women, to help us help our clients.
I thought this site was a great reminder of the ways that current events can be so salient for our clients – when a particularly visible example of misogyny or discrimination in tech has just happened, it’s not uncommon for my clients to want to talk about how it’s impacting them in their professional and personal contexts.
I wound up talking about the UCSB shootings with many of my women clients the week it happened, as well as some of the men. Discussing emotional reactions to the murders, to the shooter’s manifesto, and to the #yesallwomen hashtag campaigns on Twitter and Facebook were an important part of understanding clients’ social context, and provided opportunities for talking about internalized gender norms and their impact on relationships.