Gender identity has a significant impact on how an individual navigates and experiences the world. This chapter provides an overview of the intersections of social identities, offers an introduction to intersectionality, explores the impact of systems of oppression on mental health and well-being, and suggests strategies for incorporating principles of intersectionality and identity construction into counseling practice. Locating individual identity within sociopolitical contexts and recognizing the mutually constitutive interplay of social identities cause a significant shift in how identities are experienced, studied, and treated within counseling relationships and educational contexts. Many practitioners ground their work in social justice principles, recognizing that power, privilege, oppression, and discrimination impact sense of self as well as life experiences and expectations. Intersectionality has been deepened and broadened by scholars in education, counseling, sociology, psychology, cultural studies, history, queer theory, feminist studies, ethnic studies, and many other fields.
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- Go to chapter: Intersectionality: Understanding Power, Privilege, and the Intersecting Identities of Women
Members of privileged groups have important roles to play in social justice efforts. Because they have social advantages and greater access to resources, they are in unique positions to address issues in ways that are more difficult for those with disadvantages, as they are somewhat protected from the negative outcomes of doing so. Thus, White people can work to reduce racism, wealthy people economic inequality, heterosexual people homophobia, and so forth. This chapter highlights how the participation of those in privileged groups is essential to the success of social movements. Sexism is a form of prejudice, and it is important to have a clear understanding of how it works. Many people in dominant groups define prejudice in individualistic terms, as a consciously held attitude. Everyday allies are men who practice supportive behaviors whenever they encounter the opportunity.
All the cases that come before an evaluator are difficult and high-conflict, but some cases bring special circumstances that pose additional dilemmas to the evaluator. The general guidelines for parenting plan are to provide stability for the child. Young children, especially those younger than age 3, need a parenting plan that preserves their primary attachment with their primary caregiver parent. Children who are exposed to long-term parental conflict are more likely to have academic problems; to be more aggressive, sexually active, anxious, depressed, and withdrawn; to abuse alcohol and other illegal substances; and to come into conflict with the juvenile and adult justice systems. A parent who has been away or absent for a lengthy period needs to build trust gradually and allow the child to get to know him or her. There are probably other guidelines one can think of that are also reasonable for all cases.
Narrative Therapy was first introduced in the early writings of Michael White and David Epston in the early 1990s. Narrative theory presents stories as the performance of identity, not as representative of identity. The uniqueness of Narrative Therapy in today’s society is that it emphasizes and brings in a different perspective about looking at and situating human beings in their environment. With a strong appreciation for social justice, Narrative Therapy does attend to inequities of gender, race, economics, sexual orientation, and more. The process of supervising and training a narrative therapist parallels the process in the therapist-client relationship. The utilization of definitional ceremonies in the therapeutic process also enhances the reflecting team’s effectiveness. Definitional ceremonies are typically provided to underserved populations whose personal narratives are affected by issues of diversity, privilege, power, and marginalization.
Supervisors must keep the conversation of social location and issues of power and privilege front and center in the process and content of supervision. This chapter presents some ways in which supervisors can keep these conversations central in supervision so that discussions of diversity and oppression remain vibrant, intentional, and ever-present. It outlines four primary areas that can be attended to in the supervisor-supervisee relationship in order to do this: establishing a safe space for supervisory connection; working toward cultural knowledge/awareness and cultural humility; recognizing and managing privilege, power, and bias associated with social location for all involved; and embracing our role as agents of change in the areas of social justice and advocacy with our clients and in our profession. The degree to which the supervisor creates a sense of safety for supervisees to self-disclose influences the quality of the supervisory relationship.