Topic - Cultural, Social & Racial Issues

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We've gathered Psychotherapy Networkers most popular posts and arranged them here by topic.

Understanding the Roots of Political Differences

How Political Leanings Boil Down to Moral Beliefs and Group Loyalties

Ryan Howes

By Ryan Howes - Perhaps you've had the experience of getting lost in a political argument in which you became exasperated that people on the other side couldn't see what was so obvious, despite your best efforts to reason with them. In the following interview, author Jonathan Haidt explains why politics is ultimately about our stance on fundamental moral beliefs and group loyalties--things that aren't usually influenced by facts, figures, or rational policy debate.

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Psychotherapy's Duty to the Wider World

Reflections on the Challenges and Rewards of Volunteer Work

Jeffrey Kottler

By Jeffrey Kottler - Who has time to change the world when we already have our hands full trying to make a living and get through the obstacle course of a normal work week? It's not impossible. I now spend several months each year working in remote regions of Nepal, helping lower-caste girls, who are at the greatest risk of being forced into early marriage or trafficked into sex slavery. It's when I'm here that I feel most alive, and at least for the few months after I return, I feel a new clarity and focus about what's most important.

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Appreciating the Strengths and Contributions of Introverts

Author Susan Cain Explains the Link Between Solitude and Creativity

Ryan Howes

By Ryan Howes - More often than not, we tend to give preference to the people we see as more social, gregarious, and comfortable in the limelight and in crowds. But according to Susan Cain, author of Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World that Can’t Stop Talking, maybe it’s time the world came to appreciate the strengths and contributions of the 50 percent of Americans who are introverts.

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VIDEO: Diane Ackerman on the Wonders of a Changing World

Opportunities and Challenges Facing Therapists in the Human Age

Diane Ackerman

Poet, essayist, naturalist, teacher, polymath, and all-around creative genius, Diane Ackerman has for decades been writing extraordinarily rich, scientifically informed, and compulsively readable books of astonishing variety. In the following video clip, she describes the advancements, challenges, and insights for therapists in the new "Human Age."

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Issues of Race and Therapy

Ken Hardy on the Need to Expand Our Therapeutic Focus

Kenneth Hardy

By Kenneth Hardy - As therapists, I’m hoping that you recognize that there’s a critical distinction to be made between our work and our job. It may well be that in your job, you don’t interface with people of color. But I hope it wouldn’t be true of your work, because our work is what we do on behalf of humanity. Our work is what we do to make sure that we leave this planet a little bit better, a little more advanced. So even if it isn’t your job, I hope you’d make talking about race your work.

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A Therapist Struggles with the Clinical Choices He's Made

Reflections on a Marriage Therapy with a Transitioning Spouse

David Treadway

By David Treadway - Sometimes I’ve been instrumental in helping couples stay married when perhaps they’d have been happier if they’d gotten divorced. Other times, it’s been the reverse. Obviously, we all know that’s it not our job to tell our clients what’s right for them: rather, we need to create the right conditions for them to discover the answers for themselves. Frequently, however, our own reactivity shapes the messages we send and how profoundly we can influence---in unconscious and unpredictable ways---the unfolding of some couples’ lives. I feel that way about my work with Glen and Julie over a 14-year span.

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What Hookup Culture Means for the Future of Millennial Love

Alexandra Solomon on the Emotional Toll of Hypersexualized Dating

Alexandra Solomon

Even though young adults seem to be craving some safety to balance their adventure, hookup culture continues to thrive, as much as many therapists would love to see young adults create something more fulfilling than ambiguous, drunken, unsatisfying sex. Whatever changes lie ahead in our cultural rituals for coming-of-age relationally, we’ll be seeing in our therapy practices the emotional legacy of hookup culture, in all its rawness and frantic incoherence, for many years to come.

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Confronting Racism as a Social Disease

Deborah Peterson Small on the Need to Hone Our Therapeutic Focus

Deborah Peterson Small

When you talk about mental health and racism, bear two things in mind. One is the obvious harm that racism causes to the black and brown people who are the objects of racial discriminatory behavior, but the other part---never really talked about---is the harm that comes to white people from living in a racist society and the way in which it distorts their perspectives of themselves. It doesn’t matter so much how people acquired the condition of racism. Instead, the relevant questions are how we contain it and how we prevent it from being passed on to the next generation.

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Confronting Our Reluctance to Have an Honest Conversation About Race

A White New Yorker Shares Some Personal Reflections on American Race Relations

Fred Wistow

Whenever a public outcry or riot’s been triggered by yet another racially motivated assault on a black man or woman, politicians inevitably utter (and commentators then endlessly and faux-earnestly repeat), “We need to have a national conversation about race.” Even if I had the chance, I doubt I’d even try to engage in a cross-racial conversation about race. I’d be too afraid that I’d trip over my own words and say something provocative, offensive, stupid. And as far as I know, the people I know---white people---are in the same strange and astonishing boat.

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The Secret Ingredients for Effective Therapy in Inner-City Communities

Thelma Dye on Inspiring Hope at Harlem's Northside Center

Thelma Dye

When you do therapy in poor, underserved, inner-city communities, it’s important to be aware of the message your program communicates. For example, we never underestimate how important it is for people in the community to see our the environment at Northside Center for Child Development---a community-based agency in Harlem that’s provided outpatient mental health and educational services to children and families for 70 years---as a place that’s well cared for, inviting, and reflective of their culture. Regardless of training, the most important thing our therapists bring to the table is the strong belief that clients can get better, despite life circumstances.

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