Summary of Readings
Almeida et al.
In their book, Almeida, Dolan-Del, & Parker (2008) describe the idea of critical consciousness and how it brings “sociopolitical context” to daily life. “A client who develops critical consciousness may learn that her depression is not exclusively a medical illness driven by organic factors she cannot change” (Almeida et al., 2008, p. 22). This was in the beginning of the chapter and began to explain the difference between a therapy model versus the strictly medical model. This chapter highlighted elements of critical consciousness and how it plays into therapy, which I found to be very enlightening to begin the development of discovering my social context.
The concept of critical consciousness focuses on social class, political power, gender, race, sexual orientation, ethnicity, religion, and physical ability. (Almeida et al, 2008, p. 24) Allowing for this “platform” to be diverse and all inclusive creates a family therapy model that “incorporates social justice.” When clinicians develop their critical consciousness, it is one of many steps “toward building more just relationships for all involved parties.” A critically conscious therapist has the ability to push his or her clients in the direction of liberation when the clients feel like they are powerless. Almeida et al. goes into the intervention of having client(s) view films that depict similar, or vastly different, lifestyles and social contexts than their own.
Another intervention detailed is how the first session should proceed. “A first session may be structured by asking questions that raise arenas of power and privilege for discussion and analysis” (Almeida et al., 2008, p. 28). The specifics derived from this question-and-answer session help clinicians and client(s) uncover ideas of power and privilege within the context of their daily lives. This and all of the above in chapter two have shown clinicians how they can learn to develop their own critical consciousness going into sessions and how they can guide their clients toward developing a personal critical consciousness relevant to their situation.
The first two chapters of Beverly Tatum, Ph.D.’s book explore the definition of terms associated with identity and racism in society. It was shocking to read about how in the early years of her teaching students believed racism no longer existed. Racism is ever-present and it is important to remember this as a budding clinician. “…A White feminist scholar identified a long list of societal privileges that she received simply because she was White. She did not ask for them, and it is important to note that she hadn’t always noticed that she was receiving them” (Tatum, 2003, p. 8). This is important to understanding social context because the idea of White privilege continues to thrive even under the noses of those who are receiving such privilege.
In the rest of the two chapters, Tatum continues to define racism as “prejudice plus...