Listening across Culture, Social Position and Power
Double Tree Hotel, Portland Oregon
In this workshop, I highlight that the therapeutic alliance occurs within social, historical, political, economic and cultural contexts. In the United States, residents have inherited a history of difficult and often hostile relations across particular categories of difference: race, ethnicity, tribe, geography, sex, gender, class, sexuality, ability, phenotype, body size, etc. How we speak often unwittingly responds to the social position projected upon us through those institutions, a position between oppression and privilege. The counseling professions (psychotherapists, counselors, social workers, human service workers) seek authentic therapeutic relationships, where clients feel safe enough to reflect upon and affirm their experience and goals in a space of acceptance, non-judgmental positive regard, and receptivity. In order to do that, we must be able to identify forms of cross-cultural miscommunication and listen across social locations to the insidious trauma of institutionalized discrimination and experiences of oppression. This workshop for counseling professionals looks closely at how discussions about difference can be heard from particular social positions. We investigate common ways that categories of difference are maintained, practice listening across social location and trauma, and engage in how you can stand as an ally.
Goals of this workshop are to:
Understand examples of institutionalized forms of oppression and privilege and logics of privilege and oppression that contribute to organizing inequality (e.g. stereotypes, language of meritocracy),
Apply identification theory rooted in systems of privilege and oppression, note how social position can impact the logics of coping (e.g. access to networks and resources, internalized isms, thinking errors),
Witness how language, rooted in different contexts, can create and organize cross-contextual misunderstandings, and
Investigate cross-contextual (mis)understanding from differential positions of power and practice multiculturally savvy ways to communicate about difference in counseling, psychotherapy, addiction intervention, social work and human services.
University of British Columbia