Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

The Cultural Complex of White Supremacy: Within and beyond Psychotherapy
by Wolfarth-Davis, Sarah, Ph.D., Pacifica Graduate Institute, 2019, 180; 27742839
Abstract (Summary)

The purpose of this research was to shed light on, and draw awareness to, the impacts of the white supremacy cultural complex, both in the American collective unconscious, as well as the clinical unconscious within psychology. Eight adult clients, who identify as people of color, participated in individual semi-structured oral interviews, detailing their therapeutic encounters with White therapists. The thematic analysis identified the importance of feeling fully understood on a basic human level. Key themes included feeling understood, feeling misunderstood, therapist lack of racial awareness, splitting, understanding racial oppression and its impacts, and intersectionality. Participants indicated the ways their White therapists both lacked and demonstrated the necessary capacities to provide a safe therapeutic relationship, indicated by racial competency and insight into the impacts of racial trauma. In reporting on what is needed from White therapists to provide such a safe relationship, participants stressed not only racial competency, but a strong intersectional lens as well.

Keywords: white supremacy, racism, cultural complex, racial oppression, systemic racism

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Brewster, Fanny
Commitee: Brewster, Fanny, Cambray, Joseph, Jennings, Pilar
School: Pacifica Graduate Institute
Department: Depth Psychotherapy
School Location: United States -- California
Source: DAI-A 81/9(E), Dissertation Abstracts International
Subjects: Psychology, American studies, Social psychology
Keywords: Cultural complex, Racial oppression, Racism, Systemicracism, White supremacy
Publication Number: 27742839
ISBN: 9781658458665
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