From disconnection to connection: ‘Race’, gender and the politics of therapy

Chantler, Khatidja orcid iconORCID: 0000-0001-9129-2560 (2005) From disconnection to connection: ‘Race’, gender and the politics of therapy. British Journal of Guidance & Counselling, 33 (2). pp. 239-256. ISSN 0306-9885

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Person-centred therapy typically fails to address structural dimensions of inequality such as ‘race’, gender and class. In this paper, I explore why this is, and what can be done about it – at the levels of theory, practice and the organisation of services. Drawing on person-centred theory and practice, I discuss theoretical and practical resources that can inform a critical therapeutic practice that both attends to the individual and connects with social contexts. Focusing on the intersectionality between gendered and ‘raced’ positions mobilised within any therapeutic intervention highlights the inevitability of working across various dimensions of structural difference and power. Rather than obscuring these, I illustrate how a direct engagement with them can enhance person centred theory and practice. In particular, I highlight the role of racialised and gendered conditions of worth (Chantler, 2004) together with concepts of minoritisation and intersectionality (Batsleer et al., 2002). I also indicate ways forward for inclusive counselling services.

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