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Therapy with Families in Poverty: Application of Feminist Family Therapy Principles

Second,considerationofsocialclassandpovertyisalsorelevant forfamilytherapistsinlightoftheincreasingnumberofwomenand childrenfacingfinancialdifficulties.Onaverage,womenintheUnited Stateshavehigherratesofpovertythanmen(Hendley&Bilimoria, 1999).Thisphenomenonhasbeenreferredtoas"thefeminizationof poverty"(Atwood&Genovese,1997;Avis,1989;Goldner,1985). Specifically,singlemothers,divorcees,andwidowsareoftenhardest hitbydifficultfinancialstraits,withsomeestimatesclaimingthatas manyas50percentofthesewomenliveinpoverty(Montemurri, 1998).However,theimpactofpovertyisnotfeltbythesewomen alone.Economichardshipsexperiencedbywomenalsoinfluencetheir children.Arecentgovernmentreportestimatesthatoverhalfofall familiesreceivingfoodstampswereheadedbyasingleparent(Gunderson,LeBlanc,&Kuhn,1999),thatparenttypicallybeingamother. Alsoofsignificantconcernisthefactthatthefastestgrowinghomeless populationintheUnitedStatesiscomposedofwomenandchildren (Boettcher,1999).Giventhesestatistics,considerationsofpovertyand economicdeprivationareofcriticalconcernforfamilytherapistswagingthewartopreservethewell-beingofwomen,children,andfamiliesinthiscountry.