Popular Topic - Cultural, Social & Racial Issues

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Screening Room

Getting a Life: Whose Story Are You Living Now?

July/August 2007
As we go through our lifetime metamorphoses, we adapt to those whom we like and hate, envy and fear. We fall in and out of love, and emulate and identify with each aggressor and rescuer who comes our way. Some psychologically ambitious recent films have explored how people shape their identities around those whom they venerate or are obsessed by.

Fostering the Moral Imagination

Empathy is a radical act

January/February 2007
In a world where differences between people have become increasingly demonized, more than ever, the therapist's job is to help people expand their circle of care.

Royal Flush

The Perils of Charisma

January/February 2007
This fall, at a time when competent, sensible leadership seems in especially short supply around the globe, three films appeared almost simultaneously to explore the nature of both leadership and celebrity, especially their pitfalls.

Voices of Truth

January/February 2006
By Frank Pittman - When TV finally came, in the early '50s, the world it brought into our living rooms was black and white, and dumbed way down. Newsmen now had faces, and, as eyewitnesses, we could now determine who had an honest face and who didn't. The most honest of the talking heads seemed to be the revered war correspondent Edward R. Murrow. Now the actor George Clooney has put together a reenactment of the public clash between Murrow and the rabid senator Joe McCarthy. It's called Good Night and Good Luck.

The 8-Minute Cure

Can Watching Dr. Phil Change Your Life?

July/August 2005
Phil McGraw, or Dr. Phil, seems not to be "on television," but rather to emanate from television. Authoritative and comforting, he confronts victimhood with what's become his signature phrase, "Get Real." But what's the reality behind "get real"?

Finding the Right Lever

A primer for Changing the World

November/December 2004
A veteran therapist offers lessons on how any therapist can get started in trying to make a difference in the wider world.

Confronting Subtle Racism in Therapy

A Social Justice Perspective on Language

March/April 2004
Is it appropriate to bring up the use of subtly racist language in a session, even if it doesn’t deal with the client’s presenting issue? Always, says one therapist. Here, she explains her process, and why doing therapy that embodies social justice means calling attention to the many ways in which racism pervades our everyday speech.

Fearless Foursome

The Women's Project Prepares to Pass the Torch: An Interview

November/December 1997
For two decades, the members of the Women’s Project in Family Therapy were the outspoken feminist conscience of psychotherapy and, with their humor and warm camaraderie, became beloved role models in a field that had long been dominated by male leaders.
Bonus - Read the entire article FREE!

Breathing Room

Creating a Zone of Safety and Connection for Angry Black Teens

May/June 1996
Therapy is about healing and also about promoting connection. The healing starts when we lance the wounds our clients bring in, help them vent their pain and rage and let the toxins pour out. The more difficult part of the process is rooted in the bond the client feels with us.

Embracing Both/ And

Race and Therapy

November/December 1995
Polarizations, both mundane and existential, have one compelling quality: they break things down into neat categories and seemingly clear choices. They're also insidiously destructive, creating a wedge between people by making their differences seem vast and insurmountable.
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