On Being White: An Art Therapist's perspective

Skaife, Sally. 2016. 'On Being White: An Art Therapist's perspective'. In: Lecture series. Society of Psychotherapy, United Kingdom. [Conference or Workshop Item]

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Abstract or Description

I have found that talking about race in a mixed race setting can be incredibly difficult and uncomfortable; as a ‘white’ person, my experience of race can never be the same as a ‘black’ person’s. Psychotherapists have often sought to understand racism as a form of projection of unwanted parts of the self onto ‘the other’ who is different from them. It is then other people who are racist and those who are self-aware can avoid it. However, the legacy of slavery and colonialism throws its shadow on us all and we inevitably repeat the power relations involved despite our intentions. In this paper I will discuss my growing awareness of the significance of being ‘white’ and working as an art therapist educator and as an art therapist with ‘black’ colleagues, trainees and clients. I will talk about the way in which the hierarchy of white/black stems from a mind/body binary which is also the root of a talk/art binary. I will discuss the way these hierarchical binaries have been played out in my groups and will attempt a deconstruction of an art therapy group session where the group members were all Black African and the two therapists White British. The aim is to discuss ways in which we can avoid repeating patterns of domination.

Item Type:

Conference or Workshop Item (Lecture)

Departments, Centres and Research Units:

Social, Therapeutic & Community Engagement (STaCS) > Unit for Psychotherapeutic Studies


19 January 2016UNSPECIFIED

Event Location:

Society of Psychotherapy, United Kingdom

Item ID:


Date Deposited:

02 Mar 2016 11:05

Last Modified:

11 Jul 2017 09:49



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