Internalization of race and difference: Implications for psychotherapy in a diverse society

McGill Advanced Study Institute in Cultural Psychiatry, June 2014

Jaswant Guzder, MD

Racialized embodiment of ethnic difference has identity implications for visible minorities and may constitute a development line that runs parallel to that of gender identity with similar progression over the life cycle. Internalization of racialized identity and racism is a complex process that involves external agendas as well as intrapsychic realities. Yet the supervision of psychotherapists and family therapist rarely addresses countertransference or transference issues related to these realities. The social and political context of collectives and groups organizes resistance and openness to a discourse that allows these dimensions of identity to be discussed. This paper will elaborate through clinical examples of how these issues may present in therapy.

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