The Empowerment Model

The foundation of our work at Women In Transition is empowerment counseling. We believe that you are the expert on your life and can decide what is best moving forward. Empowerment counseling is guided by the unique strengths and challenges that you bring to the table, as well as acknowledging steps already taken towards safety and sobriety.

The relationship with your counselor is key to empowerment counseling. Your counselor will not dictate what you should or should not do; instead, they will work with you and empower you to understand the dynamics of your situation, honor your needs, and make your own decisions for your life. Your counselor will guide, coach, mentor, support, and provide you with resources, advocacy, information, and education in a way that is personalized to your situation.

Through empowerment counseling, you will learn to take back your power.

Feminism & Intersectionality

WIT is guided by a feminist philosophy that is based upon a commitment to work for social change to create equal access to power – political, economic, cultural, spiritual and institutional – for women and other marginalized populations.  Here at WIT, we recognize that women who experience domestic violence or substance abuse face unique challenges due to sexism, including:

  • The wage gap, which leads to fewer resources for women

  • Vulnerability during pregnancy, which can be one of the most dangerous times in an abusive relationship, and lack of widespread support for reproductive rights

  • The responsibility of being the primary caregivers for children, which can make it more difficult to leave an abusive relationship

  • The stigma around seeking help for domestic violence or substance abuse

We also recognize that social identities, such as race, class, ethnicity, religion, and sexual orientation can our experiences of domestic violence and substance abuse. For women of color, race and gender intersect to create experiences different from those of women who are white or people of color who are men.

Additionally at Women in Transition, we acknowledge that domestic violence impacts people of all genders; not just women. While we recognize that people who identify as women are disproportionately affected by gendered violence, we also acknowledge that these same systems of power can further stigmatize and isolate male survivors, and deter male survivors from seeking help. Queer, trans, and gender-nonconforming survivors also face unique barriers and circumstances.

In addition to race and gender, other aspects of social identity also impact our experience of violence, the options that are available to us, the response to our situation by institutions such as law enforcement and the court system, and our personal resources.  Is this person an undocumented immigrant?  Can they speak English? Do they come from the poverty class? Did they grow up in the foster care system? Are they disabled? Do they identify as queer, gay, lesbian, bisexual?  What is their religious identity? Are they gender-nonconforming or transgender? Are they elderly or very young? All of these aspects of social identity add additional dimensions to the oppression experienced.

This inclusive feminist perspective is a thread woven through all of WIT: our service delivery, our management style, and our collaborations.