Power, Oppression and Trauma Treatment
Abstract: There is deeply ingrained inequality in North American. This inequality is maintained by the social and economic dominance of some groups at the expense of others (Brown 2019). Each of us, therapists and clients alike, have multiple social identities connected to various cultural groups that are arranged in hierarchies (Brown, 2017). Some of these identities hold more social and/or economic “power over,” and others are oppressed. The Canada, the United States and many other ‘developed’ countries in the world operate on cultural homogeneity. This is where one particular racial group holds social and economic power and resources at the exclusion and/or exploitation of others who are not a part of that group. The values of this ‘ruling class’ have been embedded into our society and form dominant ideologies that self-perpetuate. Some of these ideologies such as white supremacy, patriarchy, and heterosexism all make up the status quo in this country and are embedded in institutions such as schools, religious organizations, and the judicial system (Myers, 2011).
These embedded belief systems are considered ‘normal’ and cause great psychological harm to all, but especially to those who hold social identities not represented by these ‘dominant’ ideologies. This course looks at the way powerful societal ideologies contribute to individual and societal trauma for the therapist and client and the enactments that occur as a result. The aim is to help therapists increase awareness and understanding of the often unconscious dynamics (Ginot, 2015) of internalized superiority and internalized inferiority that often come from being socialized by the dominant ideologies. We will learn to understand the dynamics of power and oppression in the therapeutic relationship and how best to intervene to facilitate healing and create meaningful change for client and therapist alike.
Potential to Distress: No
At the conclusion of this presentation, participants will be able to:
- Explain how clients' presenting problems are often connected to social injustice and inequality, and how these societal messages can contribute to substantial trauma for an individual
- Demonstrate through case dialogue how micro-aggressions can occur in the dialogic exchange between a therapist and a client.
- Describe potential counter-transferential reactions to power and oppression dynamics that may become enacted in the therapeutic process.
- Examine how feelings of shame can be activated with the therapeutic dyad when exploring issues of privilege and socio-cultural marginalization.
- Demonstrate increased awareness of therapist privilege and marginalization
- 1.50 APAThe International Society for the Study of Trauma and Dissociation is approved by the American Psychological Association to sponsor continuing education for psychologists. The International Society for the Study of Trauma and Dissociation maintains responsibility for this program and its content.
- 1.50 ASWB ACEThe International Society for the Study of Trauma and Dissociation (ISSTD), #1744, is approved to offer social work continuing education by the Association of Social Work Boards (ASWB) Approved Continuing Education (ACE) program. Organizations, not individual courses, are approved as ACE providers. State and provincial regulatory boards have the final authority to determine whether an individual course may be accepted for continuing education credit. ISSTD maintains responsibility for this course. ACE provider approval period: 08/20/2021 – 08/20/2024. Social workers completing this course receive 1.50 continuing education credits.
- 1.50 ISSTD Certificate ProgramThis program is eligible for 1.50 credits in the ISSTD Certificate Program.