Date of Award

Spring 5-1-2018

Document Type

Thesis

Degree Name

MA - Master of Arts

Department

Expressive Therapies

First Advisor

Dr. Elizabeth Kellogg

Abstract

Counseling psychology and the expressive therapies are majority-white, majority-female professions, and whiteness is the unnamed, normative center of expressive therapies and drama therapy education. As a middle-class white woman, I posit that by failing to examine this center we risk perpetuating the same systems that exacerbate our own and our clients' suffering. I review the available literature and investigate the socio-historical, cultural, and political significance of whiteness and the historical role of white women in maintaining oppressive systems. I then explore the identity reconstruction process for white people seeking to divest from whiteness, specifically looking at the key emotions of guilt and shame. I review how whiteness asserts itself in therapeutic encounters and discuss the need for further research. Finally, I advocate for increased support for therapists-in-training taking on this process.

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Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 4.0 License

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