Navigating Race and Gender: Couple Therapy in the Age of Trump

The feminist assertion that the political is personal is invariably in play in relationships, even when not readily evident. However, the effects of this equation have surged to a new intensity in the face of the onslaught of the current political climate. This is particularly true for members of marginalized groups and others who care deeply about social justice. This workshop will identify key themes related to oppression, and strategies in couple therapy to address legacies and current manifestations of sexism and racism. thandiwe D. Watts-Jones, PhD., LMFT and Julia Chan, LCSW will draw on work of the Healing Oppressive Legacies Project, a team of three women of color, with two interracial, heterosexual couples. Challenges such as disparity in ‘wokeness’ in the partners, the invisibility and fragility of Whiteness, and self of the therapist triggers and blind spots will be identified and discussed. Strategies to address these issues will be explored. Video clips of clinical sessions, experiential exercises and relevant readings will be utilized.

In this workshop participants will:

  • Understand the significance of the therapist’s and the client’s social locations on the therapeutic relationship, and develop more comfort and skills to address them
  • Recognize some potential blind spots and triggers, including their own, when working with couples related to racism and sexism, especially when there is a disparity in ‘wokeness’ between the partners, or between the therapist and the couple
  • Learn about some of the key themes in relationship struggles that are associated with the legacies and current manifestations of racism and sexism

thandiwe D. Watts-Jones, PhD., LMFT, a clinical psychologist, family therapist,  faculty member and the Advising Director of Race and Social Justice at Ackerman Institute for the Family. She is also the Co-Director of the Healing Oppressive Legacies Project at Ackerman and in private practice in New Rochelle, N.Y. thandiwe’s work and teaching have focused on issues of race and racism, and the myriad effects of its legacy among African-Americans, and people of color in general. She has sought to remediate the way clinical practice and theory have traditionally ignored race and racism as important clinical factors in clients’ struggles and in the therapeutic relationship. These issues are the substance of her numerous professional publications in peer-reviewed journals. thandiwe is also a creative non-fiction writer and an elated grandmother.

Julia Chan, LCSW, is a faculty member, founder of the Therapists of Color Consultation Project, and member of the Healing Oppressive Legacies Project at the Ackerman Institute. Julia immigrated to the United States from Hong Kong as a teenager, and is fluent in Cantonese and Mandarin. Her work integrates systems, relational, feminist, and social justice approaches, as well as Buddhist psychology and mindfulness practices. She maintains a private practice in Manhattan and Brooklyn, and teaches as an adjunct lecturer at the New York University Silver School of Social Work. Whether in the classroom or therapy room, Julia strives to pay close attention to the interplay between intersectionality and the therapeutic or classroom process.

Date: Friday, June 1, 2018
Time: 10 a.m. – 4 p.m.
Tuition: $140
CE Contact Hours: 5


To register by mail or fax click here

If you are an Ackerman alumni of the Externship or current Ackerman student, please contact the Training Department to register.

Damaly Ferreira
212 879-4900, ext 111
training@ackerman.org