The Many Faces of Disempowerment

After more than a decade of practicing psychotherapy I have learned a lot about treating substance use and mental health disorders among women.  As I continue to learn and improve my skills as a psychotherapist I have identified a trend, something that lays deep below the female struggles of substance use and mental illness:


As humans we all deserve basic human rights.  However, scholar Keshab Chandra Mandal  states that "History demonstrates that out of all deprived groups in the world women have suffered the most.  Their suffering knew no bounds based on culture, race, region, or religion." As women, life experiences, big and small can lead us to feel unequal, worthless, and disempowered.  Too many of these experiences can lead to a change in how women think about themselves and the world.  When a woman is disempowered she looks at situations and makes decisions from that disempowered place.  Disempowerment reverberates through every thought, decision and action. 

Our patients come to us for guidance in making healthy changes in their life.  However what if they are unable to make healthy changes because they feel disempowered?  Our patients are not going to walk into our offices and say “I’m struggling with making changes in my life because I’m disempowered”.  Disempowerment has many faces.

What does disempowerment look like?  Resistance?  Procrastination?  Apathy?  Depression?  Anxiety?  Substance use?  The list goes on and on.  The good news is we can help our patients identify signs of disempowerment and help them to envision a life of being empowered.  Empowerment does have to come from within, but for women it's important to have secure and safe connections with people that support and reinforce empowerment.  We can be one of those people. 

I use many different types of therapy to help my patients develop empowerment.  Family systems brings awareness to patterns of disempowerment throughout the family.  Affirmations and CBT work well in helping my patients create a healthy, empowered narrative.  Motivational interviewing is very helpful with increasing motivation to adopt a more empowered thought process.  Additionally, EMDR can be a helpful tool in reprocessing the disempowered beliefs.

Kristin is currently accepting new patients.  Kristin can be reached on her cell phone at 704-237-7037 or email at