Heteronormative discourse: Therapist social constructions of intimate partner violence in queer relationships

Bytheway, Siouxsie and Stephens-Lewis, Danielle ORCID: 0000-0001-6694-9954 (2024) Heteronormative discourse: Therapist social constructions of intimate partner violence in queer relationships. Feminism and Psychology. doi:10.1177/09593535241235462 (In Press)

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Researchers have suggested the victim/perpetrator paradigm for understanding intimate partner violence (IPV) is limited when considering queer relationships. Instead, some propose a poststructural feminist approach as better suited for understanding the complexities involved. However, in the UK, this approach is rarely adopted. We therefore put a poststructural feminist approach to research into practice. Despite IPV occurring in queer relationships at similar or higher levels compared to heterosexual relationships, queer individuals rarely use mainstream IPV services, owing to real and perceived barriers, and access local therapy services instead. However, outside of queer-specific services in city-centre areas, there is little knowledge of the approaches used or the outcomes achieved by these therapeutic services. Our research contributes to addressing this knowledge gap. We investigate how therapists make sense of IPV in queer relationships, conducting five semistructured interviews with therapists working in small-town/rural settings in Southwest England. Despite claims of inclusivity and liberal humanist values, our Foucauldian discourse analysis highlights the dominance of a heteronormative discourse in the therapists’ accounts, and shows how heterosexual privilege is embedded in a range of discourses deployed. In light of these findings, we explore implications for practice and areas for future research in this underresearched area.

Item Type: Article
Article Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: Discourse; Intimate partner violence; Queer relationships; Therapy; United Kingdom
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BF Psychology
H Social Sciences > HQ The family. Marriage. Woman > HQ75 Homosexuality
Divisions: Schools and Research Institutes > School of Education and Science
Research Priority Areas: Health, Life Sciences, Sport and Wellbeing
Depositing User: Susan Turner
Date Deposited: 28 Mar 2024 11:54
Last Modified: 10 Apr 2024 14:43
URI: https://eprints.glos.ac.uk/id/eprint/13878

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