In its coverage of race-related discord, the media has fixed on lurid images of violence and destruction without providing much context for understanding the conditions of daily life that could possibly spark such explosive outrage. As someone who has spent much of his career working with traumatized kids whose lives have been shaped by poverty and violence, Ken Hardy understands what fuels that outrage.
In this video clip from an interview with Networker Editor Rich Simon, Hardy talks about how to get through to the hostile kids who have had to grow up tough to survive in poor, urban communities. Here, he shares a story about how he forged an alliance with a young client by helping him tap into his “inner hero.”
According to Hardy, healing an underserved, often misunderstood population begins by looking for the positive qualities in even our toughest, most hard-to-reach clients. But just as importantly, Hardy adds, therapists need to understand that the discomfort and awkwardness in addressing racial inequity is still prevalent. Regardless of the venue or the participants, conversations about race are difficult to facilitate.
“If ever there were a critical moment for constructive and courageous conversations about race, power, and privilege in our practices, communities, and the broader society, this is it,” says Hardy in his recent Networker article. “Personally, I feel affirmed in the credo that whatever our training or orientation, our work as clinicians should ultimately be devoted to healing the world, even if it means addressing that huge task in 50-minute intervals at a time.”
Richard Simon, PhD, founded Psychotherapy Networker and served as the editor for more than 40 years. He received every major magazine industry honor, including the National Magazine Award. Rich passed away November 2020, and we honor his memory and contributions to the field every day.
Kenneth V. Hardy
Kenneth V. Hardy, PhD, is director of the Eikenberg Institute for Relationships and professor of marriage and family therapy at Drexel University.