Can A Women's Studies Degree Help With Counseling?

Students who have earned degrees in women's studies develop complex skills that are a benefit to them later on should they decide to pursue a career in clinical counseling.  These skills aid in helping the professional to better analyze a patient's situation, develop treatment strategies, and more effectively communicate with patients.

Critical Thinking

The ability to think clearly and rationally is definitely one of the most important requirements for being an effective counselor. Critical thinking involves being able to fully understand the logical connections between two or more ideas, as well as the ability to assess a statement as either true or false given the evidence at hand. These skills are very valuable in clinical settings where it is common to treat people who are unable to communicate effectively or are reluctant to open up themselves to a counselor. By earning a women's studies degree, one develops an appreciation for logic and analysis that will aid in treating patients who need help.


At the heart of counseling is the ability to communicate openly with another human being. This often requires that counselors make a person feel welcome by presenting themselves as being non-threatening and non-judgmental. This type of presentation requires a certain tact that is only developed by first mastering the basics of communication. Fortunately, developing excellent communication skills is a requirement for earning a women's studies degree, as feminist classes and other curriculum often require students to engage in discussions not only between themselves but with faculty members also. Over time, the student develops a respect for the power of communication and its ability to not only solve problems with it but to also change the way people think.

Problem Solving

Ultimately, people seek out the help of clinical counselors to help them solve a problem.  While many of these problems are commonplace, occasionally a counselor will come across a patient who is having unique difficulties. The ability to solve problems in creative and original ways is very important when it comes to providing the therapy that patients need in order to improve their lives. In the academic study of women's issues, problem solving is also essential. Students are urged to identify problems in the current social and political hierarchy that primarily affect women, as well as go the extra steps of defining the problem and forming strategies to solve it. This process is known by researchers and academicians as the problem solving cycle. Treatment in a clinical setting is often handled the exact same way as counselors identify the problem, create a treatment plan, monitor the patient's progress, and then evaluate the results.

For those wishing to become a counselor, it seems clear that at least partaking in a women’s studies course could be very beneficial. It is a course that encourages gaining perspective and looking at issues through a different lens. In this way the students gain invaluable critical thinking skills that would be useful in counseling.


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