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Continuing Education

Oppression, Patriarchy, and White Supremacy: Addressing Structural Inequality in Clinical Practice

Date: 9:00am - 4:30pm PDT May 1 Location: Lewis & Clark Graduate School, South Chapel

Lewis & Clark Graduate School, South Chapel

People who come to therapy often want to address their emotional pain. Yet finding the true source of pain can be very difficult. Does it come from family dynamics? Is it rooted in individual self-loathing, interpersonal trauma, anxiety, or depression? 

Clinicians receive training on how to ameliorate these sources of distress. Less addressed is the relationship between individual psychological pain and cultural violence—the larger structures and ideologies that marginalize and oppress individuals, communities, and cultures.

This workshop will show participants how to introduce and work with structural violence in the therapy session, and will examine the tension between the medical model, the current source of diagnosis and treatment, and other frameworks that account for the role of violence and oppression in the creation and maintenance of mental health suffering.

Participants in this workshop will also define and distinguish between structural and interpersonal violence as causes of trauma. We will ask why the medical model makes it hard for clinicians to “see” structural violence. And we will look at how individuals and communities can internalize structural violence, misreading it as a personal failing. Finally, we will look at emergent interventions and frameworks that are envisioning healing from a holistic, intersectional, and community-driven perspective.

Participants will learn ways to:

Create a safe container in the therapeutic session through which to introduce topics of structural violence and oppression

Acknowledge and address issues of transference and countertransference in relation to the therapist’s and client’s power, privilege, and oppression

Talk about the political within the context of the interpersonal and emotional during a therapeutic encounter

Differentiate among personal, familial, cultural and political causes of distress, so that interventions can target the true source of pain

This training will explore:

  • What is the place of politics in the therapy session?
  • How can white clinicians introduce topics like racial violence and oppression with white clients, as well as with clients of color?
  • How has the medical model influenced current definitions of mental illness/mental health, and to what extent are those definitions imbued with behavioral norms coded as white?
  • How might we create new modes of therapy that allow room for structural violence and oppression, and work toward the liberation of both individuals and larger communities?

Participants will be able to identify the connection between the concepts of empiricism, universalism, and the scientific method, and will understand how these concepts reinforce whiteness as a way of being, rather than an identity.

This workshop may meet the OBLPCT Cultural Competence Continuing Education requirement. Click here for more information

Course Details & Registration

Date & Time: Friday, May 1, 2020, 9 a.m.-4:30 p.m.
Instructor: Rebecca Hyman, LCSW

Noncredit: $125 before 4/9, $150 after, includes 6.5 CEUs. Lewis & Clark Alumni save 20%. $50 student rate.

  • We are committed to making our events accessible to all needs and abilities. When registering, let us know your access needs. Please contact us at 503-768-6040 or with questions.

    Please note: Student registrations are for current students only and do not include continuing education credit (CEU/PDUs)

Register now

About the Instructor

Rebecca Hyman, LCSW, is a therapist in private practice, specializing in trauma. A former professor of English and Women’s Studies, she has taught in the School of Social Work at Portland State University, the doctoral program in Educational Leadership at Lewis & Clark, and has offered trainings for businesses, hospitals, and other organizations on topics such as gender and power in the workplace, trauma and secondary trauma, whiteness and mental health, grief and loss, and meaning and purpose.  She is currently writing a book on trauma, oppression, and social justice.