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(p. 57) Microaggressions in Therapy 

(p. 57) Microaggressions in Therapy
Chapter:
(p. 57) Microaggressions in Therapy
Author(s):

Monnica T. Williams

DOI:
10.1093/med-psych/9780190875237.003.0004
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date: 08 July 2020

Abstract: Common therapist microaggressions toward clients, microaggressions toward therapists, and ways to address both issues are discussed in this chapter. It is important for therapists to be conscientious about their presence in terms of providing a welcoming website, an office free of potential microaggressive or unwelcoming content, and basic interactions that are culturally sensitive and nondiscriminatory. There are many ways that a clinician may engage in microaggressive actions, including minimizing cultural experiences, pathologizing cultural values and collectivism, overidentification, trying too hard to be culturally sensitive, engaging in insensitive remarks, and withholding answers from clients of color. Two examples of microaggressions in therapist–client interactions are outlined in which racism is dismissed by a therapist and a client is called a “strong Black woman.” It is important for clinicians to know how to repair the therapeutic alliance if they have engaged in microaggressive behavior either by realizing it later or if a client brings it up. Clients also may engage in microaggressions, and therapists should address these behaviors in session to help increase understanding, awareness, and empathy in clients. Microaggressions against therapists of color from clients and from supervisors are challenging and may not be easy to navigate; some ways of addressing these are outlined.

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