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(p. 117) Preventing Microaggressions in Therapy (and Life in General) 

(p. 117) Preventing Microaggressions in Therapy (and Life in General)
Chapter:
(p. 117) Preventing Microaggressions in Therapy (and Life in General)
Author(s):

Monnica T. Williams

DOI:
10.1093/med-psych/9780190875237.003.0007
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date: 08 July 2020

Abstract: This chapter outlines ways in which clinicians can prevent committing microaggressions and grow in cultural competence. Critical self-examination, which means bringing hidden racism to light, is essential before one can make a change. As such, it is important that all clinicians take stock of their biases through a fearless moral inventory. Challenging personal stereotypes, clinicians must be willing to examine and correct any stereotypical beliefs because they are not immune from the cultural forces that produce these difficulties as normative processes. The chapter describes ways to cultivate a multicultural perspective through the use of thoughtfully planned exercises aimed at confronting differences, which will reduce anxiety, increase confidence, and reduce the propensity to microaggress. This includes discussion of connecting with others who are different. Learning to acknowledge, address, and navigate power, privilege, and racism in cross-racial friendships may be similar to doing the same within a therapeutic relationship, and these non-professional relationships may inform a therapist’s personal and professional development. Allies are people who recognize the unearned privilege they receive from society’s patterns of injustice and take responsibility for changing these patterns. Through an example of a couple’s session, allyship and providing therapy for microaggressions experienced by one of the clients are outlined. Finally, supportive racial statements including positive statements about a person’s culture can be an important means of helping them feel understood, appreciated, and supported.

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