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Peer Review

Introduction to Feminist Counseling

by Dr. Susan Hillock , Skye Kaidannek , Anna Lewis , Alaina Hawken , Kira Robertson , Tanner Yurick


Overall Numeric Rating:

4.5 stars
Content Quality: 4.75 stars
Effectiveness: 4.75 stars
Ease of Use: 4.25 starsstar
Reviewed: Feb 21, 2013 by Psychology
Overview: This material consists of a video entitled "Introduction to Feminist Counselling." The video was developed by Dr. Susan Hillock, a social work faculty member, based upon lectures/experiential materials she has used in instruction. Consistent with its title, the video provides an introduction to feminist counseling and the major concepts and techniques involved in feminist counseling. The primary audience for this material is students, both undergraduate and graduate, in social science and human service programs such as social work, psychology, and sociology.
Type of Material: Presentation (instructional video).
Recommended Uses: • The video would be useful for a counseling professional seeking an introduction to feminist counseling, for counseling psychology students, and possibly for new counseling clients unfamiliar with the feminist counseling method. • In the academic setting, the video could be used either in- or out-of-class; that is, as either a classroom illustration/discussion-starter or as homework (to be discussed in a subsequent class period).
Technical Requirements: Requires an Internet connection, a compatible browser, and Adobe Flash Player. Tested using Google’s Chrome browser (version 24). Note: Free players are available for download, but the user would need to determine player/browser compatibility. Not all mobile devices will be compatible.
Identify Major Learning Goals: 1. The learner will become familiar with major themes, techniques, and perspectives in feminist counseling, how it differs from other forms of counseling and its major goals within the counseling relationship. 2. The learner will develop a deeper understanding of feminism and how feminist values and principles can be applied in counseling and other interpersonal interactions.
Target Student Population: The primary audience is both undergraduate and graduate students in social science and human service programs such as social work, psychology, and sociology. The video could be used in a class on counseling to introduce students to feminist counseling or in a more general class (along with other materials) to illustrate the variety of perspectives that can be brought to bear in a counseling situation. Segments of the video dealing with the definition of feminism and what it means to be a feminist could be used in classes where the study of gender equality is a topic.
Prerequisite Knowledge or Skills: Some familiarity with psychological counseling may be helpful, but does not appear necessary to benefit from the video. Only basic computer proficiency is necessary to view the video.

Evaluation and Observation

Content Quality

Rating: 4.75 stars
Strengths: • The information is presented in an easily accessible manner. The video explains concepts clearly and provides examples. The video could be used in a variety of contexts including course instruction, introducing a new client to the therapy technique, or for professionals seeking a quick introduction to a new therapy method. • Dr. Hillock created the video based on 12 years of university-level teaching experience in the area of social work; the content is accurate and reflective of current thinking in the field. • Note: One reviewer requested a colleague in the discipline of social work to also watch the video and provide feedback. This additional feedback was positive, specifically noting the usefulness of the vignettes and communicating how useful the video would be to teach students the true meaning of feminism.
Concerns: • Demonstrations help clarify discussed techniques, but the contexts are somewhat limited (e.g., does not provide a demonstration of a non-compliant client). • The presented information appears to be current, but there are no provided references to verify the currency of information. • The video does not include activities for individuals to check their understanding. The material consists only of a video-based presentation without supplemental materials (e.g., readings). Video-based presentations are not responsive to all learning styles/challenges. • The quality of acting in the vignettes detracts somewhat from the professional appearance of the video as a whole.

Potential Effectiveness as a Teaching Tool

Rating: 4.75 stars
Strengths: • The material clearly presents specific skills and concepts; these are then followed by a demonstration of the concept in practice. Thus, the video presents a clear sequence of concepts and skills and also demonstrates connections between concepts. • The video presents important information in a relatively short time-span (i.e., the learning approach is efficient). • The video presents some concepts that could be readily discussed in a graduate course on counseling approaches but is also understandable enough for a non-social work undergraduate; that is, the material is versatile. • The video is a mix of text-based presentation of content and vignettes to illustrate that content. This makes the video engaging and memorable. Because of the variety of content presentation, including vignettes/role-playing, students will learn more about feminism from the video than they would perhaps from a lecture, or even class discussion, alone.
Concerns: • The material does not identify prerequisite knowledge, though as an introduction this may not be critical. • The presentation does not require the learner to go back and review or check understanding of previously introduced concepts. • While it would be fairly easy to write an assignment using this video, the variety of assignments applicable to a video may be relatively limited (e.g., a list of questions or discussion-based activities regarding the video). • Terminology may differ between the U.S. and Canada among clinicians and thus may require a little "translation" in the U.S.

Ease of Use for Both Students and Faculty

Rating: 4.25 stars
Strengths: • The video begins when the page loads. It features minimal controls making it easy to pause, play, adjust the volume, and share the video with others. The video looks professional, well-made, and has a clean presentation. • The video is one of few items on the webpage, it is self-contained, and the "control" buttons are clearly marked. • The video can be "paused" in order to discuss/explain concepts or practice skills.
Concerns: • There does not appear to be a way to increase the size of the video. • There does not appear to be an option for closed-captioning. • The volume slider may not be immediately apparent to all individuals. • The video starts immediately upon opening the webpage; this makes it a little challenging to "catch" the video at the beginning and pause if an instructor wants to open the page prior to class or wants to give an introduction to it. • There is no link to download a flash player for those who do not have one and for whom the video would not work.

Other Issues and Comments: Misunderstandings among students regarding feminism are prevalent; this video would help them truly understand what feminism is and why it is important.