Monday, December 27, 2010

Holidays

- by Stacey Prince

Hanukkah, Kwanzaa and Christmas all have traditions of gift giving and receiving. For many this time of year is a time of plenty, abundance, family, gratitude, and generosity. Yet for so many it is also a time of shortage, scarcity, anxiety, starvation, fear, and war. It can be difficult to reconcile the celebratory tone of the season with the global suffering we see on the news every day. We don’t even have to look around the globe to see this level of suffering. A recent extensive study showed that approximately 1 in 6 Americans experience "very low food security" (defined as reducing the amount they ate and/or disrupting their food patterns throughout the year) : in other words, they go hungry.

Even closer to home, last week I finally got myself to read the list of cuts that the legislators and Governor Gregoire just enacted in order to reduce Washington State's huge (over $1 billion) budget deficit. Here is just a partial list of some of the cuts that were made:

- A 4.2% reduction at public colleges and universities,
- Elimination of funding to keep class sizes smaller in public K-4 schools,
- A 20% reduction to monthly cash allotments to Disability Lifeline recipients (a program for disabled people of low income who are unable to work),
- Reduction in emergency funds that help keep families off welfare,
- Elimination of non-emergency free dental care to adults in need.

It is plain to see from this list that the cuts are largely impacting those already in greatest need, thereby further increasing the resources gap, the distance between those affluent individuals at the top of the wealth pyramid and the rest. Meanwhile, it appears that Bush era tax cuts that disproportionately benefit the rich may be extended rather than expiring at the end of this year. Though this has been framed by the media as a “compromise,” a trade-off for extension of unemployment benefits, the fact remains that the Bush era tax cuts further drive the wedge between the affluent and the poor.

To read entire article click here.

Monday, December 20, 2010

TJP 2010 Year In Review

by Liz Goodwin, in collaboration with Stacey Prince, Anne Phillips, Nathaniel Shara, Briana Herman-Brand, and Keren Lehavot

Since its inception three years ago, TJP has been through some significant changes. We wanted to provide you with an update and an overview of the evolution we have been through, especially in the last year with the formation of our new leadership council. Those of you who have been reading the TJP blog (www.therapeuticjustice.blogspot.com) have probably kept up fairly well with some of the changes, but we realize not everyone has the time or inclination to read the blog. So here, Liz Goodwin, Leadership Council Member, will provide you with a more detailed update about what we have been talking about as well as plans for the future.

Therapeutic Justice Project got started three years ago under the name The Limen Group. Stacey Prince thought it up with the primary goal of combining psychology and political advocacy and activism in deliberate, therapeutic ways. Stacey grounded the concept in impacting traditional psychotherapy tradition by providing professional development opportunities for psychotherapists to learn advocacy/activism skills as well as to develop a psychotherapy model that encourages clients, when appropriate, to become involved in activism/advocacy as an antidote to isolation, helplessness and depression. She deemed this approach “politically informed behavioral activation”, a term coined by Laura Brown, and on the professional development end felt this was very much in line with APA’s recent movement to add advocacy as a basic competency for psychologists entering the profession. She was also very interested in systemic change in the form of legislative change that improves and protects civil rights, and has been a strong promoter of the role psychologists can play as political advocates.


To read entire post, click here.

Monday, December 13, 2010

Predatory grooming in military recruitment and child abuse

Dear TJP members,

Amy Hagopian and I recently published in the American Journal of Public Health a commentary that compares military recruiting in high schools with predatory grooming. This has engendered a bit of interest from the military/right wing world, as well as from UW, and there may be a special forum held at UW in January to address some of the issues the commentary raises.

Many of the questions and comments we have received have to do with the nature of predatory grooming, and I've pasted in a couple of the radio shows we've been interviewed on, so you have an idea of the reaction to the paper. (I have also added a reference to a TJP blog entry I did, "Why soldiers in school are an injustice to all," which gives more background on the practice of recruiting in high schools.)

While we speculate on the similarities in the processes of grooming and military recruiting, and reference our rationale, deeper insight to support or contradict our speculation would be so appreciated. Our backgrounds are not in psychology or sociology, so any information on the process of grooming, for non-sexual as well as sexual exploitation, would be useful.

If anyone can suggest references and research material, persons to contact, or would like to be involved in the forum at UW, please contact me at kbarker715@gmail.com.

Thank you!

Kathy

This is the abstract:

Should We End Military Recruiting in High Schools as a Matter of Child Protection and Public Health?

Amy Hagopian and Kathy Barker

Am J Public Health published 18 November 2010, 10.2105/AJPH.2009.183418

Copyright (c) 2010 by the American Public Health Association.
New American Journal of Public Health "First Look" articles have been made available (for the period 21 Oct 2010 to 18 Nov 2010):

ABSTRACT
Recruiters for the various US armed forces have free access to our nation’s high schools, as mandated by the No Child Left Behind Act. Military recruiter behaviors are disturbingly similar to predatory grooming.

Adults in the active military service are reported to experience increased mental health risks, including stress, substance abuse, and suicide, and the youngest soldiers consistently show the worst health effects, suggesting military service is associated with disproportionately poor health for this population.

We describe the actions of a high school parent teacher student association in Seattle, Washington, which sought to limit the aggressive recruitment of children younger than 18 years into the military.

(Am J Public Health. Published online ahead of print November 18, 2010: e6–e10. doi:10.2105/AJPH.2009.183418)

For the full paper, click here. Go to the bottom of the page and hit "download."

Here are two radio interviews that show what is bothering some folks about this:

Amy Hagopian with Dori Munson on KIRO news radio

Kathy Barker with Frank Shiers on KIRO News radio

For previous TJP blog article on military counter-recruitment, click here.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Yoga Article Raises Issue of Cultural Appropriation

Intro By Liz Goodwin. Story by Paul Vitello.


Last weekend, I stumbled across an interesting article in the New York Times, Hindu Group Stirs a Debate Over Yoga's Soul. Paul Vitello discusses certain Hindu groups' claims that the spread of yoga in non-Hindu communities forgets the very foundation of the practice, soul. The Indian-American led debate, he says, is meant to bring Westerners to awareness about the forgotten faith that underlies every yoga style. Responses from Western yoga instructors abound, defending the sanctity of yoga as an age old practice dating back far before yoga as a Hindu practice. Data backs this up, says Vitello, but yoga instructors like Debbie Desmond puts it simply: "nobody owns yoga." Other elements of the issue raised by Hindus are the consumption of yoga as a a growing, even multi-billion dollar business now, and the way this undermines the tradition.


Missing in this piece is any explicit mention of cultural appropriation as a trend in the Western world. From language to music to ideas and different every day acts of exploitation, there is a history of Whites and Westerners taking from communities of color, non-Western traditions, taking and consuming elements that Westerners will benefit from, in some way or another, without any real connection to, engagement with, or complete respect of, that community or history or culture. Whether it be the use of meditation in therapeutic practice, by White therapists, or the participation in yoga by White, Western instructors in White-owned studios for the economic and emotional use of this privileged community, not to mention the class based needed to access these type of courses or this kind of therapy. Whatever way it plays out, as the taking from White Westerners of Eastern philosophy, healing approaches, food or art or taking credit for ideas that are not our own, this element is absent in the article.


This truly is a complicated question and one that deserves serious consideration by healers and specifically White healers, as we integrate varying ideas and practices. The answer, I would like to propose, is not as simple as avoiding all non-Western practices. For, even our language, the very words and sayings and thoughts and ideas, as Whites in the US, at least, have been stolen, reworked, taken, and used, without awareness of their roots. I suggest instead a thoughtful, real engagement in this issue, and this particular form of systemic oppression, one that is age old and new, all at once. Here are some questions to consider: In what ways are we practicing cultural appropriation versus sharing with, in a respectful way, different ways of thinking, feeling, and experiencing? In other words, I specifically wonder, for White, largely middle class, Western healers, what do you know about the cultural and community roots of what we use for healing? How connected are we to the very communities these theories and practices originate in? How does an awareness of this impact the work and make us safer, more available, to clients of Western and non Wester descent? When does lack of awareness of this dynamic negatively impact therapy for clients, with this privilege or without it, on either end of this dynamic? What would it look like to interrogate this with other healers [challenge other healers to think about the role of appropriation in their own work] and how would these conversations look? What can be done in and outside of the actual healing process? These questions, I leave us with, to examine and discuss.


Take a look at the article. And, as always, share your thoughts here on the blog.


http://www.nytimes.com/2010/11/28/nyregion/28yoga.html

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

What's in your knapsack?

- by Stacey Prince

When most of us first begin to learn about racism, we focus on interpersonal acts of meanness or harassment. We also focus on the oppressed individual and their disadvantages, rather than on the oppressor. Many white people have been known to say things like, “racism is not a white person’s problem, because I have no race”. This denial of whiteness as a racial identity (the flip side of which is confirmation of whiteness as the norm), and denial of the unearned benefits that come along with being light-skinned, are taught to us from a very young age. It can be a difficult transition to move from a focus on interpersonal oppression and the disadvantages that others face, to an examination of one’s own privilege and the systemic nature of structures and institutions that solidly hold the privilege gap in place. That is what I want to focus on here.

In an article that has since become a classic, Peggy McIntosh in 1988 began to deliberately explore and delineate the unspoken, unearned benefits of whiteness. Many of these are hard to see, because they are often the absence of something (barriers, hindrances) than its presence. You don’t feel doors as you move through them if they open wide for you; you only notice them if they are locked, or get slammed in your face. In the article Peggy McIntosh describes the “invisible knapsack of privilege,” as follows:

I have come to see white privilege as an invisible package of unearned assets which I can count on cashing in each day, but about which I was ‘meant’ to remain oblivious. White privilege is like an invisible weightless knapsack of special provisions, maps, passports, codebooks, visas, clothes, tools and blank checks.

With this invisible knapsack the white person’s passage through the world is profoundly changed, both on a moment by moment, daily level, and in terms of the larger trajectory of their life: career, building a family, moving about the world geographically, borrowing money, getting an education—all are impacted by the invisible knapsack of special (and unearned) privilege.

To read entire article click here.

Friday, November 12, 2010

Post-Election Blues

- by Stacey Prince

What did last week’s election mean to you? How did you feel about it? What do you think it signified for the future—for yourself, for the people you work with? Personally, I felt deflated. While I was relieved that WA state would continue to send a democratic Senator to DC, and happy to hear the news that the greatest number of out LGBT individuals in history were elected to public office, the rest of it was pretty demoralizing. With the GOP controlling Congress, I worry about what’s going to happen with healthcare reform (and their “no compromise” talk doesn’t help to allay those fears), immigration, and a return to big tax bailouts for the wealthy. I wonder if all of the hard won victories around Don’t Ask Don’t Tell, domestic partner rights, and adoption by gay and lesbian parents will be repealed (and the Iowa debacle doesn’t help allay those fears). My fantasies of fleeing the country, quiescent since 2008, have returned.

But there is something more, a cultural shift that I am trying to grasp. After all of the tremendous excitement around the election of Barack Obama, what does it mean that just two years in, we can already see the end of this era? What does it say about racism in America, and the ever-widening resource gap between rich and poor, between Euro-Americans and people of color, between the wealthy white people at the top of that pyramid and the rest of us? To help me understand this sinking feeling in my stomach, I turned, of course, to the internet. I found two articles that helped me make sense of things.

To read entire article click here.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Retreat 7: Leadership Council Sets Out to Clarify TJP Vision

by Liz Goodwin

Last Saturday October 30, the TJP leadership council - including Stacey Prince, Nathan Shara, Briana Herman-Brand, Anne Phillips, Keren Lehavot, and I - gathered to talk project vision. Prior to the meeting, and since the last Retreat 6 (Somatic Transformation day-long with Staci Haines), we met several times to get acquainted, discuss the role of the council, and share and learn about each of our political and social identities and histories. From these series of meetings, it became clear that we needed to spend more time getting clear about the vision, goals, objectives, and process intended for TJP. We agreed that, instead of a large-group retreat, it made sense to hunker down together and spend a day getting clear. It was expected to be a full day – emotionally and mentally – and we even wondered if there would be some conflict as we each expressed our different ideas about what TJP should focus on and how. Our last meeting before this full day retreat consisted of sharing our different conflict styles, defense structures, and requests we might have for others in moving through and staying connected.

Turns out, we hit very little conflict, really. And our visions seemed less far from each other than we may have anticipated. Stacey got us started with her take on what TJP is and where we might go. She presented a diagram of What? How? Why? – with corresponding circles, concentric style. The why is often difficult to answer, she said - and answered it. The big Why question, or the statement of grand purpose of TJP, is to end oppression and the trauma associated with it. Stacey shared about how TJP would be a hub, as she’s seeing it, where this work of how psychology weaves into ending oppression, would be the mission of TJP. She listed different areas of focus, as spokes from the center questions and answers. These included creating transformative space for healers and activists - “intentional community of transformative practice,” impacting higher education psychology programs, community organizing and political advocacy.

To read entire article click here.

Monday, November 1, 2010

What does Project Runway have to do with your work?

- by Anne Phillips and Stacey Prince

* SPOILER ALERT * Do not read this if you have not seen the finale of this season's project runway and do not want to know the outcome.

Well, everything. Let us explain. I (Stacey) really love Project Runway. It's been a guilty pleasure since the very first season, offering three things I love: beautiful clothes, beautiful people, and complex interpersonal relationships. This season was no exception. The three finalists couldn't have been more different: Andy, a 23 year old first generation Hawaiian whose family immigrated from Laos whose clothes ranged from edgy to elegant; Gretchen, a European-American Northwesterner with an earthy crunchy, indigenous influenced ready to wear aesthetic, and Mondo, the 27 year old, HIV+ gay man whose family is fifth generation Mexican. All worked their asses off and fought to get to fashion week. I think I can safely say that the majority of viewers thought that Mondo was a shoe-in. His designs were spectacularly innovative, playful, creative, awe-inspiring.

What a shock when the winner was Gretchen. What was even more shocking was the deliberation between the judges to make that decision. Racism and xenophobia in action. What enraged me the most was Michael Kors and Nina Garcia REPEATEDLY saying "this is where fashion is now, this is where fashion is going" (regarding Gretchen's designs). What they were really saying was, this is where we want fashion to stay--bland, boring, and ready to wear. None of this Orientalist (Nina's word for Andy's final show) or Mexican stuff (Mondo's final show was influenced by Day of the Dead and featured a crucifix). The irony is, this is NOT where fashion is going. These two judges' denial and marginalization of the multiculturalism of this country was profound. And I won't even comment on the abhorent parallel they drew to food - "it's subjective--you either like Chinese or Mexican!" To their credit the other two judges argued in favor of Mondo, but somehow in a triumph of privilege over authenticity and in a scene that we were not privvy to, they were out-argued and Gretchen was crowned the winner, the next big thing in American Fashion. And please note that this was not just an empty title: the win came with money ($100,000), opportunity (help launching their own design line) and connections. The link between personal and systemic racism and heterosexism was as glaring as Michael Kors' fake tan.

To read entire article click here.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Beyond Inclusion, Beyond Empowerment Released

By Liz Goodwin

After over ten years of work, Leticia Nieto, PhD, has released the first written record of her anti-oppression curriculum. The book is beyond words. With a central text outlining the key components of the model, images, poetry, prose, personal story, and quotes thread through as well. This weekend in Olympia, community members gathered to celebrate the release of this book, as well as two other creative pieces, and hundreds attended. Professors, students, children, comrades all celebrated Dr. Nieto’s completion of this project, a project that included many of the voices in the room. In fact, story and poetry contributors filled the room.

The event was a five-hour affair at a dance club venue called The Vault. From the ceiling, where a disco ball might normally hang, were decorations of red and orange paper streamers with gorgeous flowers. A huge movie screen stood next to the main stage to bring the sounds of Los Cavaleras and Sin Fronteras – and tamale, cupcake and popcorn vendors – as well as beautiful art – lined the walls. In addition to the release of the book, the film The Life I Got to Live, telling the story of Alicia Barrera in rural Chile, survivor of the Pinochet regime, was shown and released. Sin Fronteras played tunes from their new recording, Galopa, traditional and nueva cancion music. This is the third work that was released. Hence, the event name, Memoria, Musica, y Liberacion, bringing sound, word and visual together – extravaganza style.

To read entire post, click here.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Take Back the Bridge for Everyone - A Participant's Perspective

By Anne Phillips

Recently, I attended Stacey Prince and Teri Mayo’s event, “Take Back the Bridge for Everyone”

Vine Ministries Church organized their second annual “Take Back the Bridge” event to have a community and church response to the people who are committing suicide by jumping off the Aurora bridge.

Stacey Prince organized this event after contacting Pastor Rainwater, and his choice to discount the fact that 30% of youth suicides are LGBTQI and the rest can easily be argued connected to some manifestation of oppression.

To entire post, click here.

Monday, October 11, 2010

Take Back the Bridge for Everyone


This past weekend, TJP founder Stacey Prince and her partner Teri Mayo organized an event called Take Back the Bridge... for Everyone. Originally an event co-sponsored by the Seattle/King County Crisis Clinic and Vine Christian Ministries, Stacey and Teri thought it was very important to raise awareness in the community of suicide risk factors for LGBTQI youth and adults, and also to call attention to the detrimental role that faith communities can play when they promote messages of intolerance. The event was very well attended by 40 people including TJP co-founder Anne Phillips and several other TJP members. It was a success in increasing visibility of issues of critical importance to LGBTQI individuals. It received news coverage and fostered much discussion on the internet.

To read entire post, click here.

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Bullying

- by Stacey Prince

Several months back I began collecting information and resources for an article on bullying in the schools. Discrimination and harassment experienced by youth, and the related social justice issues, are something we have not talked about very much yet in TJP. This was before what is now being termed an "epidemic" of teen and young adult suicides that can be directly linked to harassment, bullying and violence experienced by LGBT youth. I'm sure many of you have seen the terrible stories, too many to recount, in recent weeks about teen suicides. Most recently there was the young Rutgers student who killed himself after peers posted video on the internet of him being intimate with a male partner. There was the 13 year old in California who hung himself after being taunted by classmates for being gay, and the 15 year old in Indiana who hung himself under similar circumstances. Then there were the five suicides, including three by gay teens, in a single Minnesota school district.

Results of the 2005 Gay, Lesbian, and Straight Education Network (GLSEN) Climate Survey showed that while 22% of the general student population feels unsafe in school, 74.2% of LGBT students reported feeling unsafe. Further, based on data from the National Center for Injury Prevention and Control, the CDC, and estimates that approximately 30% of youth suicides are related to sexual orientation, the National GLBTQ Youth Foundation recently concluded that over 1,400 GLBTQ youth between the ages of 10 to 24 complete suicides, and an additional 15,000 contemplate committing suicide, each year. Even these whopping numbers are likely to be under-estimates since the sexual orientation of youth suicide victims is not always known.

To read entire article click here.

Monday, September 27, 2010

Leticia Nieto's Beyond Inclusion, Beyond Empowerment - Book Release

By Liz Goodwin and authors of Beyond Inclusion, Beyond Empowerment

This October, Beyond Inclusion, Beyond Empowerment: A Developmental Strategy to Liberate Everyone, by Dr. Leticia Nieto, with Margot Boyer and co-authors Garth Johnson, Liz Goodwin and Laurel Smith will be released. This is the first ever written account of Dr. Leticia Nieto's anti-oppression curriculum. Dr. Nieto visited TJP last year, as part of our retreat, and shared some of the training model. But students study it for years and trainers go through an involved process to ready themselves to facilitate trainings or pass on the material. Unique in its incorporation of nine areas of social inequality, a compelling designation between three kinds of power at play at all times, as well as the incorporation of social justice and systems history and theory, human development, psychodrama, and attachment, the mode brings together psychological and social transformation.

In this series, we will post the press release, information about the upcoming book release event, reviews, and excerpts.

To read entire post, click here.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Thoughts on Yom Kippur

- by Stacey Prince

I am a sporadic Jew. Well, that's not entirely true--I am Jewish all the time, it is a constant in my identity, culture, and sense of myself. But my observance is quite sporadic. I dip into synagogue from time to time, generally for Shabbat services and the High Holidays, as well as family events like weddings and bar/bat mitzvahs. I have not joined a congregation here in Seattle, but instead enjoy visiting different congregations--this one for its very modern interpretation of Judaism, that one for its music-filled "Rock Shabbat," and another one for its more traditional service.

On Friday night I went with my partner and some close friends to Kol Nidre, the beautiful and somber service that opens up the 24 hour observance of Yom Kippur. Known in English as the Day of Atonement, Yom Kippur is a time to make amends and ask for forgiveness from those you have wronged in the past year, as well as to forgive yourself for transgressions and shortcomings. From sundown to sundown many Jews spend the day fasting and in prayer, offering much time to contemplate one's life and ask the hard questions.

This year, in addition to reviewing my relationships and behavior in the past year, I found myself thinking a lot about the strong connections between Judaism and social justice. A strong tradition in Judaism is tikkun olam, or healing the world. For many Jews, this sense of social responsibility--not just for one's family and community, but for society at large--translates into community service, social activism, and generous giving of one's time and resources. When I think about where my commitment to social justice comes from, this tradition of tikkun olam is at its source.

To read entire article click here.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

System Failure, Part II

- by Stacey Prince

A few months ago in a blog article entitled System Failure I wrote about some of the challenges facing transgender individuals, including transphobia and lack of access to appropriate services. I laid out how invalidation and discrimination experienced at the micro (family), meso (jobs, school) and macro levels (laws, lending institutions, insurance companies) contribute significantly to their emotional distress. A very concrete example of this is the incredible inaccessibility of gender reassignment surgery, which is explicitly excluded by many health insurance companies, yet prohibitively expensive to pay for out of pocket. Yet for many transgender clients, surgery and other gender confirming procedures are in my mind as medically necessary as is bypass surgery for an individual with severe heart disease, or insulin for a diabetic.

What I really want to focus on here is what TJP can do about it. What can we, as an organization espousing to integrate healing and liberation, contribute to the solution? How can we make this better? Do we work to reform existing systems ("sensitivity trainings" for hospitals and police officers, teaching clinical psychology graduate students and psychiatry residents how to work affirmatively with transgender clients, getting insurance to pay for SRS)? Instead of reform, do we work toward transformation, and what would transformation look like in this case--for example, can we envision and work toward a world in which regardless of their assigned-at-birth gender, pre- or post-operative status, or anything else, individuals can self-determine their gender identity, that identity does not have to fit within our convenient male/female binary, and it can change over time? In a world where that binary, and transphobia, do not exist, would gender reassignment surgery be readily available as a medically necessary procedure--or in some cases, would it not be necessary at all? Do we go for advocacy (the slow, tedious process of systemic change, whereby perhaps laws governing surgery, bullying, and discrimination are altered) or activism (sit-ins and demonstrations outside of insurance companies who deny services)?

To read entire article click here.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Supporting Macro Level Change

- by Stacey Prince

One aspect of the intersections between healing and social justice that has been less explored thus far in TJP is healers supporting or opposing legislative change. Yet we can have a significant impact at this macro, systemic level of change, for example by testifying regarding the impact of particular bills on our clients, citing relevant empirical research, and using our relational skills to discuss critical social issues with our friends and colleagues. Recently along with representatives from several other states I was interviewed by a reporter from the APA Monitor, the monthly journal of the American Psychological Association, on the involvement of state psychological associations in supporting or opposing relevant LGBT rights legislation. Although the article focuses on LGBT issues (domestic partnership, adoption, anti-discrimination laws, etc.) the strategies suggested can be used by mental health professionals who want to get involved in the legislative process regarding a wide range of social justice and public policy issues.

Click here to read the APA Monitor article.

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Transforming Wellness and Wholeness

By Cara Page

This article is part of inciteblog's Reflections from Detroit series. Cara Page describes the work of organizing for healing justice and liberation at the US Social Forum.

To read the entire article, click here.

Saturday, August 21, 2010

The Best Thing I Did at APA

- by Stacey Prince

Well, some of the best things I did at APA* were personal—spending time with old friends and new, jogging by the marina in the cool ocean breeze, watching batters hit home runs at the Padres game. But the best thing I did professionally was to attend Laura Brown’s Division 56 (Trauma Psychology) Presidential Address. As many of you know, Laura is a psychologist, supervisor, teacher and author in Seattle. I believe she is one of the most innovative, prolific and committed psychologists around. Her many accomplishments include being the foremother of Feminist Therapy, battling the false memory movement in order to have the truths of her trauma survivor clients be heard, and recently creating the Fremont Community Therapy Project, which offers high quality, low fee assessment and psychotherapy to individuals with limited means as well as outstanding, social justice oriented training to pre- and post-doctoral psychology trainees.

In addition to all of these stellar accomplishments, Laura recently took on the challenge of being President of APA’s Division of Trauma Psychology, and on August 14 I attended her presidential address. In a packed room of current and former students, supervisees, colleagues and trauma psychologists, Laura began by saying that at an earlier time in her career she had utopian visions of being able to eradicate trauma simply by telling the truth about its existence: “I did not want us to need a Division of Trauma Psychology”. She also asserted that abuse exists and persists because it is supported by systemic inequities that are much bigger and more difficult to change than is the behavior of individuals. But then she went further, and challenged us as trauma therapists to think about the relationship between our livelihoods and social injustice. “This field of ours, trauma psychology, requires the presence of social injustice in order for us to exist. That’s a problem. That’s a fact about which we need to do something, because we need more justice.” This was so uncomfortable to think about, yet it rang so true, it couldn’t be ignored.

* APA is the American Psychological Association, and this was their annual convention, held this year in San Diego, CA.

To read entire article click here.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

A Good Gay Day

- by Stacey Prince

During the first week of August I was in Long Beach, CA at a training for VA mental health professionals who are learning an evidence based approach to treating relationship distress called Integrative Behavioral Couple Therapy. I’m one of the consultants on the project, which is part of a larger rollout of empirically validated treatments for a variety of veteran issues including PTSD, depression, family conflict and relationship distress. As a consultant on the project I will be providing phone supervision to the therapists, who are from VA hospitals and Vet Centers around the country. Prior to the training, I asked the organizers if same-sex couples would be treated as part of the project. Despite Don’t Ask Don’t Tell (DADT) many gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender veterans (primarily not active duty, for obvious reasons) and their families have traditionally sought mental health treatment at VA’s. These numbers will likely increase as DADT is likely to be repealed as soon as this Fall.

I was told by the project coordinators that yes, the therapists would be working with same-sex couples, and they then asked me to prepare a talk on the topic to be added to the week-long training schedule. This felt like a small victory—both that same-sex couples would be included, and that material on issues of importance to LGB clients and couples would be presented. Unfortunately, because the week’s programming was already set, my talk was squeezed in to the lunch hour during one of the training days. This felt somewhat marginalizing (for example, people had to choose between taking a break in the middle of a long day and coming to my talk) and a few participants noted that. The organizer did arrange for box lunches to be delivered, which helped a lot.

To read entire article click here.

Monday, August 9, 2010

What's Missing from Gay Pride?

- by Tim Popanz

Sometimes I need to step away from an experience for a time in order to gain perspective. In the moment, my feelings can become jumbled like some type of word puzzle and meaning doesn’t show through. Such was the case this year with Gay Pride.

I have been celebrating Gay Pride in one form or another for almost 25 years. In the beginning, the experience was a revelation: the shear breadth, diversity of experiences, and history felt remarkable (at some level they still do). As a young Gay man, there was both this sense of carrying on the tradition started after Stonewall and a feeling of complete public honesty of who I am. To experience both this responsibility and freedom with my community was exhilarating.

The Gay community is one also marked by trauma. First, there’s the collective, generational trauma of oppression, which expresses itself, in part, in disproportioned rates of mental illness and substance abuse. Added on to these experiences have been the losses associated with AIDS. As an adult Gay man, I’ve never known a world or a new sexual encounter without the threat of HIV transmission. To implicitly link sexual intimacy life-long with illness and premature death is anxiety producing in and of itself.

Even with these experiences, most of the Gay community responds with resiliency. This is the primary experience anyone would see participating with Gay Pride. But, under the surface there is a more complicated ritual going on. Which brings me to my question: what’s missing from Gay Pride?

To read entire article click here.

Friday, August 6, 2010

Media Justice, Therapy Justice - and Puerto Rico

By Liz Goodwin

A few weeks ago I was invited to join a media justice delegation to Puerto Rico with the Center for Media Justice, based in Oakland, CA. This organization’s mission is to “create media conditions that end racism, eliminate poverty, and advance human rights.” They work on issues of media access and ownership and intersect with progressive movements with communication strategy and action. Key initiatives further these goals like one of their main projects, MAG-Net, that focuses on the “critical use and transformation of media communication systems” with a local-to-local network of social justice, media and cultural organizations.

One of the objectives of the trip was to connect with local media on the Island. We met with one of the organizers for the University of Puerto Rico (UPR) student strike that recently ended and with Radio Huelga, the radio station established by the students to communicate speedily about the strike. The students at UPR said their main goals were to stop the Administration from privatizing campuses and from raising tuition. Their strike was unique, they shared with us, in that it was: grassroots, consensus-based, and submerged in technology. With constant stream of news and communication through Radio Huelga, as well as twitter, facebook and other social networks, they adopted the slogan: media not violence. They threw flowers at the police as they tried to squelch their demonstrations and rewired makeshift internet operations when the Administration attempted to cut off their access. They aired all day and night on the radio with everything from soap operas to latest news about the strike. They structured their large group by gates, representing fields in the University, like Humanities Gate, Communications Gate, etc. Each gate made decisions by consensus. In the larger assemblies, they voted democratically, by show of hands. At one point, the students shut down ten campuses across the Island and they won a long list of victories.

The rest of our time was spent at the beach, road tripping around the Island, attempting to find our way around, and tasting Puerto Rican food. Mofongo is just one example of the local food we tried – made with mashed plantains, garlic and pork cracklings. Delicious. Humacao was our home base, on the Eastern coast of the Island. It took just a few hours to realize that the Island is stunning – lush, green, magnificent in color and culturally unique. Even as I know Puerto Rico is unincorporated U.S. territory, that there is a rich revolutionary history, and an ongoing fight for independence, it is different to be there, talk with folks, see it with my own eyes.

To read entire article click here.

Sunday, July 25, 2010

System Failure

- by Stacey Prince

Several clients in my practice who are transgender struggle with depression, anxiety, PTSD, and in some cases suicidality. I believe that their transgender identity plays a large role in the difficulties they experience, but I say this not because I thnk being transgender is a disorder. In fact, as discussed in an earlier blog article (Transcending Diagnosis, March 2010) I am highly in favor of revisions of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual (DSM) so that transgender is no longer categorized as a "disorder," and so that people who fully transition can be diagnosis free. I believe what is ailing these clients is not their transgender identity, per se, but a system around them that refuses to recognize the validity of their experience, harasses them for being different, and denies them the services and procedures that would set them free.

For many transgender individuals, the problems start at home. For example, some parents continue to use their child’s birth name and gender pronouns rather than those consistent with their transitioned identity. Other parents who have the financial means refuse to help with sex reassignment surgery (SRS) which costs upwards of $25,000 and is explicitly excluded from the list of covered services by most health insurance plans. Other transgender individuals are fortunate enough to have supportive and understanding family members who help them access care, advocate for them, and explain gender dysphoria and transgender identity to extended family members.

To read complete article click here.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Is visionary, progressive, oppression-aware, social justice oriented philanthropy possible?

- by Stacey Prince

Many people make charitable donations from time to time. If you are like me, there may not be much rhyme or reason to your decision-making about who to give to. There are a few organizations that I support year after year, without fail although the amount I donate may fluctuate as the economy (globally and mine personally) waxes and wanes. At other times I am compelled to give in response to a particular event or disaster (Haiti earthquake, Gulf oil spill, Indian Ocean tsunami) or a request from a friend (someone walking in the Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure, for example). But I don’t have a very good system (or any?) for choosing organizations based on particular dimensions (local, national or global? progressive or mainstream?) or topics (though I tend toward civil rights / social justice oriented, healthcare, and environmental organizations). I’m also not great about researching how effectively my money is spent when given to a particular organization. There is a pretty good website for this, by the way, called www.charitynavigator.org.

Charitable giving is also influenced by class and economic issues. Most giving comes from individuals, not organizations, and those individuals are from all class backgrounds. As a member of the middle class I recognize it is a privilege to have funds to spare for charitable causes. One’s current economic and employment situation, and access to other vital resources such as healthcare and childcare, will influence choices about giving as well.

Also, I struggle to discern when charitable giving is actually helpful: when is it condescending or rescuing versus empowering? When is it more about the giver (wanting recognition, wanting to be seen as generous and benevolent, etc.) than the receiver? How can funds be used effectively to help people utilize and mobilize the resources they already have access to, rather than bringing in (and then removing or ending) outside funds?

To read entire article click here.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

US Social Forum 2010: A commentary on the challenges facing our movement toward social justice

- by Dr. Hope Cristobal

Hope Cristobal is a clinical psychologist specializing in the assessment and treatment of native and indigenous populations. She is an indigenous Chamoru and a native of Guahan, and has worked as an advocate for colonized Chamoru, including testifying to the United Nations Committee on Decolonization. Her article, Perspectives on Social Justice: The fight to end colonization in the island-territory of Guahan, was posted previously on the TJP blog. Here she talks about her recent experiences at the US Social Forum in Detroit. This article first appeared on the blog West Coast Famoksaiyan and is reprinted here with her permission.

This year’s US Social Forum was held in downtown Detroit, Michigan from June 22 to June 26. As one of the 10,000 progressive activists registered for the Forum, my experience that week was both captivating and disenchanting.

I was part of a small group of indigenous Chamorus representing a local non-governmental organization (NGO). Our group – four from Guam, one from California, and one from Boston – was well organized. Each was strategically packed with a schedule of mandatory workshops and People’s Movement Assemblies (PMAs) in order to maximize our attendance at such an important forum. Our goal was to bring home good solid knowledge and skills in addition to networking with strategic folks involved in issues of decolonization and self-determination. I can tell you, in this respect, we certainly were NOT disappointed!

Our information table was also brimming with material for the American public about Guam, especially about the proposed hyper militarization of our island home by the Department of Defense. The biggest draw to our table was this quote, spelled out in big bold white letters, “The indigenous Chamoru people of Guam who have already suffered near genocide and violent colonization for over 400 years will bear the burden of U.S. military buildup on Guam – and have been given no say in the process.” Many people who passed by our table slowed to read the sign, shaking their heads in disbelief. Manning the table was valuable experience for each of us. We learned how fellow Americans knew little about what is happening in the westernmost U.S. territory of Guam. Our efforts did not go unheeded; we received a few hundred signatures in support of our petition to stop the military buildup and to grant the Chamoru people the exercise of our legal and political Right of Self-Determination. I do, however, wonder, “What does the American public understand about this Right and the struggles of colonized indigenous peoples in this world?”

To read entire article click here.

Friday, July 9, 2010

ADWAS Founder Marilyn J. Smith Keynote Address

In May of 2010 we posted an article on the blog about a luncheon benefitting Abused Deaf Women's Advocacy Service (ADWAS) and honoring its founder, Marilyn J. Smith. We are now happy to be able to post a transcript of the talk Marilyn gave that day. In it she describes the need for advocacy services among Deaf and Deaf/Blind women and their families, the vision that led to the formation of ADWAS, and its development over the years. In addition it is inspiring to hear the story of another group that, like TJP, started with an idea and a vision, become a community, and developed over time through the hard work and creative energy of a group of passionate individuals. I hope you will take a few minutes to read her terrific speech.

Transcription of Marilyn J. Smith
May 5, 2010
ADWAS Strength and Courage Luncheon


Well, I’m happy all of you could come. When Carol and I talked about this and she said she wanted me to talk about ADWAS from its founding back in the old days up to present day, and to do it in 15 minutes, I thought, “Wow. How can I condense 25 years in 15 minutes?” Well, I’ll give it a try.

Some people don’t know our story, and I tend to sometimes say, “my story... our story” but it really is not my story, it’s a group of people who started ADWAS. I often get the credit, but there were many people involved, if truth be told.

To read entire transcript click here.

Monday, July 5, 2010

Ally is a Verb - Part II

- by Stacey Prince

A few months back I wrote here about allyship. It was a start. I would like to revisit the concept of allyship based on some recent events and reflections. Specifically, a Facebook friend made an overtly racist comment on his "wall". I can't even call it a micro-aggression; there was nothing subtle or ambiguous about it. Or funny. To my despair, several friends gave his comment a thumbs up, and others wrote comments that were supportive or even reinforcing. Only one was gently chiding, and it was hard to tell whether she was going along with the joke, or really trying to give him some feedback.

I debated what action to take. Do nothing, just let it pass? That didn't feel good. Say something on Facebook? I didn't want to publically shame him, and I don't think people learn well when they are shamed. But on the other hand I didn’t want to engage in that "passive bystander" behavior, where I see it clearly but don't call it out. What must it be like for other people reading his post, especially people of color, to not see anyone standing up and making a corrective comment? I chose to communicate with him backchannel. Though my action did not resolve the bystander problem, it felt better than nothing. I told him I found his comment offensive, and explained why, and asked him to look at his own biases and prejudices as well as the effect that such a public statement has on others. I idealistically thought it would lead to his retracting or apologizing for the comment, or at least to a dialogue between the two of us.

I waited for a response... nothing. The next day I went on Facebook and realized that he had unfriended me! Ah, the modern day, social networking version of letting someone know you are really pissed off, so pissed off you just don't want to see them, ever again. Part of me laughed at this, like, really? But what was was the power of the visceral response I had... I was shaking. Though two of them were not aimed directly at me, this felt like a series of three affronts: first, his original comment, then his friends who patted him on the back for it, and finally his "un-friending" in response to my feedback.

To read entire article click here.

Friday, June 25, 2010

LIVE from the US Social Forum 2010, Day 3

- by Mara Collins

I can hardly contain what is happening here. Today is Friday. I spent almost the entire day in healing space. During my shift in the healing practice space this morning I sat with two people, after having an awesome session with somebody last night. People's minds are getting blown all over the place here, and they need/want to talk. My mind is getting blown, too, and that makes it especially cool to have this opportunity to write about it with you.

This afternoon, 90 healers from around the country-massage therapists, midwives, counselors, etc spent nearly 5 hours together to form a nationwide collective for healing justice. TJP! you're gonna love this! We need to hook into this! I will post the synthesis of this People's Movement Assembly soon, after the forum. For now, suffice it to say, we converged to address the ways healing and organizing go together and must infuse all our movements for greater effectiveness, sustainability and growth.

Now I am in a ballroom of a convention center where this convergence is being held. The room faces the river that divides us from Canada. A vessel called the Riverboat Princess just floated by. About 10 other healer/practitioners are here with me, playing music, stretching and talking. We made an open call to do work tonight with a group of folks who may need support after an intense week. The sun still hangs high at nearly 830 on this glorious summer night. I don't know what the other 20 or so thousand people are doing, but that's me. More soon.

Love,
Mara

Thursday, June 24, 2010

LIVE from the US Social Forum 2010, Day 2.

- by Mara Collins

Hello from Detroit! Today there was an earthquake in Canada, right over the river from the city, can you believe it? The earth shook from all these positive vibes. It's late now, and I want to talk about everything that happened. But for each person ten stories could be told. It's late now. So what I'll do first is tell you what I did today and then maybe tomorrow sink it into the context of the work here at TJP.

I woke up so tired so I knew I needed some more sleep. As invigorating as these things are, they also really take it outta you. So I gave myself more time, got up and stretched, and went to the Healing Justice space in the United Auto Workers Ford Building. The boardrooms of the Union Building were converted into meditation spaces, candles set out, massage tables set up for bodywork. It was so cool! All of us volunteers sign up to practice our therapeutic modality and when this is all over, we will have each other's contact info and do collective healing justice work.

In the afternoon, I tried to facilitate a People's Movement Assembly space for the Northwest. Not very many people came, though. I felt disappointed, but my co-facilitator reminded me that it is a slow process to do regional organizing. The question came forward, though-what would people think of having a bigger NW meet up, where we can strengthen our issue-based work by building relationships regionally. In our case it would be a real regional healing network, which I think would be awesome. What do you think?

After that, I was supposed to do my shift at the healing space but the UAW had been closed. The earthquake occurred and because the building security crew was nervous we might get some aftershocks. I want to start the work. Hopefully it ill reopen tomorrow. I ended selling event posters at the vendor tables.

The day's programming ended with an amazing plenary with old time Detroit activists including Jerome Scott, the founder of Project South, Grace Lee Boggs, long time Detroit activist and revolutionary-who turns 95 this week! Ron Scott, who has been fighting police brutality since he was 13 years old and General Baker from the League of Revolutionary Black Workers. It was like standing among giants as they talked about this city that they love and fight to keep alive.

Grace Lee Boggs said to take a piece of Detroit's mentality home-That when they give us a crisis, turn it into an opportunity.

So that was my amazing day 2. Gonna hit the hay and send you more tomorrow,...

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

LIVE from US Social Forum 2010

- by Mara Collins

This afternoon I joined tens of thousands of visionaries and activists in Detroit, Michigan, a city known for Motown Music, the Automobile, as well as a city known as the epicenter of the nation's economic crisis. I am here at the United States Social Forum, where the saying goes- Another world is possible, another US is necessary. As we converge to share our ideas and strategies for a better world, a healing world, we distinguish ourselves as citizens engaging in two crucial activities -practice and participation.

Convergence is Movement practice. I read this in the newsletter for Project South in Atlanta, one of the anchor organizations of the Social Forum process. The first social forum took place in Atlanta three years ago, and they have been practicing movement building for over twenty years.

We know as therapists, healers and body workers, that it often comes down to our practice. We are building a practice, practicing our craft, and when we don't keep up on reading and consultation, we can feel out of practice. You are likely reading this blog because you see a link between justice and well being. You know that the world is better off if our hearts and minds and bodies are in tune. You know that we can use our healing as a catalyst for healing in the world.

As practitioners, we know it takes an ongoing series of conversations, adjustments and bodywork sessions to create lasting change, so does it take a long-term strategy. We also know that, even though we are constantly striving to improve, it isn't necessarily about getting it right-it's about forward movement.

This happens in part because we continue to participate. For instance, this week I will try to give it my all. I get to help hold space at the healing justice area where people will come for community accupuncture, massage, making art, mediation, and talk therapy. I will get to know other participants and try to remember names. I will mess it up. I will help clean up. I will shout chants in call-and-response in the crowd. I will make sure my fellows reach their rooms safely. I will soak in the experience. I am not a consumer. I am a participant.

You can participate in the Social Forum too, even here in Seattle. ussf2010.org is a way to see what is going on this week in Detroit. In addition, Seattle central Community College is holding a social event for people who can't make it this time, but want to attend an event in connection with the Social Forum

http://www.socialecologyvashon.org/index.php?module=pagemaster&PAGE_user_op=view_page&PAGE_id=19&MMN_position=34:34

In the days to follow, I am going to submit more writing from the space in Detroit. If you have any questions, or things you want to know about from the convergence, let me know! I'd be happy to share what I learn.

More tomorrow-

Sunday, June 20, 2010

The Racial Resources Gap

- by Anne Phillips

The Institute on Assets and Social Policy of Brandeis University has released a 23 year study on race disparity, specifically a comparison of African-Americans and European-Americans. The study followed White and Black families from 1984 to 2007 and found that for families with similar incomes, White wealth increased while Black wealth decreased. (I am not sure how they took into account mixed race people/families.) Many reasons for this disparity were cited, including:

- Ongoing disparities in access to resources and assets. Even on an ostensibly "even playing field" there are factors such as tax breaks for investment and inheritance taxes that European-Americans are far more able to utilize and benefit from because of ownership of additional resources and assets that have only increased in value over time. Meaning today and historically Whites have been given lots more.

- Ongoing job opportunity disparities. Statistically, a white person who has been in prison is far more likely to be hired for a job than a black person who has never been arrested for anything and Black college graduates are twice as likely to be jobless than white graduates.

- Ongoing inequity in access to home ownership. Today and historically, people of color are charged higher finance fees and interest rates on home mortgages than whites.

These are just a few examples of the ways in which institutionalized inequities maintain the gap in financial and vocational success between Black and White individuals/families and institutions.

To read entire article click here.

Monday, June 14, 2010

Rising Up as Allies in Culturally and Personally Congruent Ways

- by Agnes Kwong and Natacha Foo Kune

There are so many ways one can stand for social justice. Recently, I have been contemplating ways of challenging oppression that feel culturally and personally congruent to me given my own intersecting identities and cultural background. I am posting here a recent article a colleague and I wrote for the Division on Women of the Asian American Psychological Association (Summer 2010 Newsletter, Vol. 15, Issue 1).

Asian American Women Rising Up as Allies

In addition to our professional roles and our roles as co-chairs of DoW, we are also queer Asian women who reside in the U.S. but do not hold American citizenship. There have been many hate crimes and political developments of late that have deeply disturbed us both because we are committed to social justice and because of the intersections of our identities. Amidst our feelings of fear, hurt, anger, indignation, and more, we thought about the different ways in which we are already allies in the face of oppression and the barriers that get in the way of our being able to be more effective and/or consistent allies. In our attempt to share with you some of our thoughts, we reflected on a few specific oppressive events that occurred recently and discuss some of the personally and culturally congruent ways of challenging oppression.

Recent Oppressive Events

Over the past several months, there has been an onslaught of hate crimes perpetrated on campuses throughout California. Early in the year, someone spray-painted a swastika on a UC Davis campus building and a month later, a swastika was found carved in the dorm room of a Jewish student at UC Davis. During Black History month, a noose was found hanging in the library at UC San Diego. In March and at UC Davis, anti-gay slogans were found spray-painted on the exterior of the LGBT center. At UC Riverside, two students were physically assaulted by three people who were hurling anti-gay comments at them both before and during the assault. In April, a transgender student was attacked in a restroom and the word “it” was carved in the chest at California State University at Long Beach. At the University of Missouri, students spread cotton balls outside of the Black Culture Center. Unfortunately, these are just a few of the many, many hate crimes that occur both in California and across the nation.

As frightening to our sense of safety and worthy of our indignation is the passing of the SB 1070 Immigration Bill in Arizona in April. Consistent with our personal views, AAPA’s official position on this law is that it will “inevitably be a form of racial profiling, discrimination, and hostility toward racial and ethnic minority group members” and there is significant concern that “anti-immigrant sentiments that underlie this Arizona legislation would put Asian American and Latino communities at increased risk of harassment and discrimination.”

Personally and Culturally Congruent Ways of Challenging Oppression

How does challenging oppression interact with some of the values that many Asian American women hold such as maintaining harmony, saving face, and collectivism? As social-justice oriented AAPI women who value relationships and harmony, how do we make our voices be heard in the face of bigotry, hatred, and prejudice? We pose these questions because we sometimes feel slightly stuck as relational, harmony-oriented AAPI women about how best to challenge oppression.

To read entire article click here.

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Voices Rising

- by Stacey Prince

On May 29 Liz Goodwin, Anne Phillips and I attended the seventh event by Voices Rising. This organization was founded by poet/performer/event producer Storme Webber, with fantastic programmatic support including graphics, marketing, organizing, and photography from Naomi Ishisaka. Voices Rising has become the premiere showcase for LGBTQ artists of color in the Pacific Northwest. This time their performance took place at Southside Commons, a renovated church in Columbia City that has become home to several progressive nonprofit and grassroots organizations dedicated to social, racial and economic justice.

The performance featured artists from Seattle, California and Chicago who combined spoken word with music, song, and video. It was a powerful, moving, and electrifying night. Here is one audience member comment that captures well the essence of the night:

Voices Rising is an essential cultural event highlighting the truth and culture, spirit and art of people that are marginalized even within an already marginalized community. Queer folks of color must be heard in order to bring to light a fuller diversity within the queer community and culture.

Reprinted here with permission is one piece that was performed by Malkia Cyril, an artist, activist and journalist from Oakland, California.

The Redemption of My Criminal Body

by Malkia Amala Cyril aka Red Son Rise
June 2009

run run my momma say mourner run
beautiful butch and black
welcome the Native son
Oh Pirates yes they rob I
this black woman’s body I got been
cannon shot and systematically spread
over centuries of dead gospel lined with living truth
the way I hurt is living proof that I was
raped as a child
but I’d still rather be nine
so I could be three sides of three dimensions at the same time
cause/we been cannibalized burned alive beaten alive till God cried out
we been hog tied convicted before we was tried by
stacked juries laced with white power tracks
I wanna paint y’all in color but can’t find you in black
And I need y’all back homeys to show me how
I lost my soft places between then and now

Oh Pirates yes they rob I
Stole I to the merchant ship
Minutes after they took I
From the bottomless pit


To read entire post click here.

Monday, May 31, 2010

ADWAS Strength and Courage Benefit Luncheon

by Anne Phillips and Stacey Prince

On May 5, 2010 I was invited by Anne Phillips and her partner Carol Brown to attend the annual benefit event for Abused Deaf Women’s Advocacy Services (ADWAS). ADWAS provides services to Deaf and Deaf/Blind women who are victims/survivors of sexual assault, domestic violence, and stalking. As many of you may remember our very first TJP (then Limen Group) retreat was held at their Seattle transitional housing residence, and Anne’s partner Carol is their Donor Coordinator. This event was one of their annual fundraisers. There will also be an auction in October that you are all more than welcome to attend. The luncheon also honored Marilyn J. Smith, who has been their Executive Director and founder for the last 24 years and is retiring in 2011.

Marilyn founded ADWAS 25 years ago out of a need she saw for women who were Deaf and Deaf/Blind survivors of sexual assault. In her address she discussed some of the profound gaps in service for such women, and their children. For example, when police respond to a call regarding a domestic violence incident between a deaf woman and her hearing partner, they will sometimes go to the residence with no interpreter. Due to hearing oppression, often the person who is Deaf is arrested because the hearing police do not know what else to do. Because they do not take the extra time to work together with everyone involved, they have been often known to take the "easy" route and communicate with the person they are able to, which in turn means arresting the person who is Deaf. Like any marginalized group, the Deaf community is small, and therefore communication travels quickly across the country. As Marilyn joked, "Deaf people invented email/texts etc. way before hearing people did". As a result, it is often not an option for a Deaf person to leave town for "safety" by disappearing into a new life. If one Deaf person knows where you are, many know.

Marilyn spoke of how ADWAS grew over the years--the staff would identify a need, and a new service would be developed. In addition to advocacy and counseling, they now have a transitional housing facility, services for children, a positive parenting program, and a variety of education and consultation programs. You can learn more about them at www.adwas.org.

To read entire article click here.

Sunday, May 23, 2010

The past didn't go anywhere: Working to reduce anti-semitism

by Keren Lehavot

Part of our work as advocates and activists is to understand various systems of oppression; how they impact others, ourselves, and the world; and to make whatever difference we can using our knowledge and skills. When I came across The Past Didn’t Go Anywhere: Making Resistance to Antisemitism Part of All of Our Movements by April Rosenblum, I felt like I came across a gem that put a bright and insightful light to an often hushed topic. The pamphlet defines anti-Semitism, highlights ways in which it is still a world problem, reviews relevant and recent history, and argues for the need to recognize and incorporate anti-Jewish oppression in our activist work at the same time that we acknowledge other systems of oppression and criticize Israeli policies. One of the enlightening pieces of the pamphlet reads:

Anti-Jewish oppression has been around a long time - it became government practice in Christian society about 1,700 years ago and only stopped having official Vatican approval in 1965. But when anti-Jewish oppression isn’t at its most brutal, it can be really hard to see. How come this oppression can seem so invisible?

Partly it’s that it allows Jews success. Many oppressions rely on keeping a targeted group of people poor, uneducated, designated non-white, or otherwise 'at the bottom.’ Anti-Jewish oppression doesn’t depend on that. Although at many times it has kept Jews in poverty or designated non-white, these have been “optional” features. Because the point of anti-Jewish oppression is to keep a Jewish face in front, so that Jews, instead of ruling classes, become the target for peoples’ rage, it works even more smoothly when Jews are allowed some success, and can be perceived as the ones “in charge” by other oppressed groups.

Partly it’s that it moves in cycles. Because it can allow Jews to ‘move up,’ antisemitism is cyclical: Attacks come in waves; but each time things calm down and Jews are able to blend in or succeed in society again, it gives the appearance that anti-Semitism is 'over.' In some of the most famous examples of anti-Jewish expulsion and mass murder (i.e., medieval Spain or modern Germany), just prior to the attacks, Jews appeared to be one of society’s most successful, comfortable, well-integrated minorities.


I appreciated the complex, rich views offered on a complicated, and often heated, topic. Understanding and learning about ways in which unique oppressions show up enriches my personal life (e.g., how do I understand this as a Jewish, Israeli-born woman? How does it resonate with my experience? How can I use it in a way that is empowering, that can empower others?) and impacts my perspective and actions in other social movements. If you are interested in reading the pamphlet, a link is available here.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Keeping the Faith: The Prison Project

by Stacey Prince

I have followed the visionary Seattle-based choreographer Pat Graney for years. She is probably one of the most innovative modern dance and performance choreographers around. Perhaps some of you were lucky enough to attend the incredible event she orchestrated in Magnuson Park in the mid-90’s, a huge undertaking called “Movement Meditation” with dancers and martial artists moving in waves across the hillside, all accompanied by a giant, 180 foot string instrument.

Recently I had the opportunity to attend another Pat Graney event, and this one was even more astounding. For the past 15 years, she has been working with prison inmates on workshops in dance, art and spoken word, all culminating in an annual performance. “Keeping the Faith: The Prison Project” is:

A program designed to provide positive, creative, and life-affirming experiences for women who are currently incarcerated or in pre-release programs in Washington State. Project Director Pat Graney has developed this program with the following emphases:

1. Explore issues of self-esteem through the development of autobiographical material and the acquisition of performance skills.
2. Experience re-integration with a diverse group of women to build cooperation and mutual respect through partnering and other performance structures.
3. Open pathways for individuals and groups to go inside the prison environment and interface with members of that community. [excerpted from the 2010 program]

To read entire article click here.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

powercube.net - Understanding Power for Social Change

For those of you interested in theory and practice about power relations in interpersonal and organizational dynamics, check this out. It's another way to think about and address power.

Description:

We are excited to announce a new online resource on power analysis for social change: http://www.powercube.net is live and ready to use! Please feel free share with interested people and networks. Powercube.net has creative commons copyright which means you can share and adapt the work as long as it is attributed, not used for commercial purposes and shared
onwards in the same way.

Powercube.net is a response to requests from many people for more practical and conceptual methods, materials and resources to help them think about and respond to power relations within their organizations and within wider social and political spaces and institutions.

The new site is a collective effort, representing contributions from members of the Participation, Power and Social Change team at IDS as well as a number of others from social movements, NGOs, civil society organisation and donor agencies across the world. Many contributors to the website participated in a workshop at IDS on ‘Power analysis in practice’ in June 2009.

The link is:

http://www.powercube.net/

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Revisiting the Body

by Stacey Prince

It is a rare and beautiful thing when you attend a CE conference and everything comes together: professional learning, personal relevance, and interpersonal connection all rolled into one. Such was the case for me last Monday, April 26 when I attended the Generative Somatics workshop facilitated by Staci Haines. The workshop felt so relevant to our work in TJP, my own work as a therapist and activist, and was emotionally and interpersonally powerful as well. While this will not be an exhaustive review of the material, I hope to share an overview and some personal impressions here, and invite other attendees to do the same.

Staci Haines co-facilitated this event with Vassilisa Johri; both live in San Francisco and are deeply involved in healing and activist work. The event was co-sponsored by TJP and was skillfully organized by TJP members Nathan Shara and Briana Herman-Brand. About 70 advocates, activists, body workers, social workers and psychotherapists attended. Staci Haines founded this approach to treating trauma in part because she felt (and research supports) that talk therapy alone often does not sufficiently impact the long-term emotional, physiological, and cognitive impacts of trauma. “Memory lives in the muscle” says Richard Strozzi-Heckler, PhD, founder of the Strozzi Institute (a forerunner of Generative Somatics), and this is one of the core principles of Generative Somatics. Since memory lives in the body, uncovering and recovering from memory must also be rooted in the body. Generative Somatics therefore focuses on the soma, the living organism in its wholeness. But Haines emphasizes that while body-centered approaches such as mindfulness meditation are becoming popularized in mainstream psychology, just because the body is mentioned does not mean that a particular approach is somatics. Body awareness is just one component, along with somatic opening and somatic practices, and all within a social context, that comprise Generative Somatics. I will talk about what each of these means later on.

To read entire article click here.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Healing Sex: A Mind Body Approach to Healing Sexual Trauma

On April 26 TJP had the great honor of co-sponsoring an all-day workshop with Staci Haines, founder of Generative Somatics. The workshop was attended by a large group of body workers, activists, advocates, mental health professionals and healers. It was intense, invigorating, and incredibly relevant to the work we are trying to do in TJP. Here we reprint, with her permission, the introduction to her book entitled Healing sex: A mind body approach to healing trauma. We hope to follow up with some more personal pieces about participants' experiences at the workshop.

Introduction to the Second Edition

Staci K. Haines

In 1999, when this book was first published as The Survivor’s Guide to Sex: How to Have an Empowered Sex Life after Child Sexual Abuse, I haggled over the title with the publisher. I wanted the word somatics in the title; the publisher understandably said no one would know what that meant. The next round continued over the term trauma and whether people would understand that word in the context of child sexual abuse. Now, here we are eight years later, and trauma is a more commonplace concept. Well beyond the boundaries of psychology, the general public uses the term to describe anything from the impact of war on soldiers and civilians to the intimate traumas of domestic violence and sexual abuse. And while somatics doesn’t roll off of everyone’s tongues, mind/body integration is recognized as something relevant to healing and learning.


To read this introduction, click here.

Monday, April 19, 2010

If you do one thing today...

by Stacey Prince

Dear Allies,

If you do one thing today to work on your allyship skills, I hope it will be to watch this brief, 13 minute video. It contains excerpts from the keynote speech given by Dr. Omi Osun Joni L. Jones, Director of the John L. Warfield Center for African and African American Studies at the University of Texas / Austin at the 17th Annual Emerging Scholarship in Women’s and Gender Studies Conference in February of 2010. Dr. Jones suggests 6 rules for allies (across ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, nationality, religion, etc.). The rules include going beyond being “liberal” (being willing to be a warrior for equality), speaking up and naming injustice when you see it, never asking a person in an oppressed group to “be patient,” recognizing the new, more subtle and insidious forms of racisim/sexism/homophobia (as opposed to some of the more overt and egregious forms of discrimination in the past), welcoming the feedback when someone calls you out on your own racism/sexism/homophobia, and considering the transgressive power of alternative, non-traditional modalities and strategies to undo systems of oppression.

But please don’t take my word for it, and just watch this 13 minute video--Dr. Jones elaborates on these rules for allies with power, humor and passion. Her words inspire and challenge without shaming. The transcript is great, too (and contains material not given in the excerpted video) but the video is terrific. We are all allies to someone… I hope you’ll check this out.


To view video click here.

To view transcript click here.

Monday, April 12, 2010

Dual Relationships (Life in a Small Town)

by Stacey Prince

The American Psychological Association’s official stance on dual relationships is to try to avoid them. Associations with clients that extend beyond the therapy relationship have the potential to be exploitive, harmful, and at the very least confusing. This includes friendships, business relationships, and certainly sexual relationships, which are categorically prohibited with both former and current clients, for obvious and sound reasons.

However, the reality is that in certain communities paths can cross in ways that create sometimes unavoidable dual relationships. For example, if you are the only mental health professional in a rural community who treats a particular disorder, you may end up providing psychotherapy to someone with whom you have another type of association as well (for example, your child’s schoolteacher, or the owner of a local business you frequent). In these situations the APA ethical guidelines encourage us to carefully consider the pros and cons of such relationships, weighing the necessity of treatment and availability of alternatives against the potential risks. The guidelines suggest that multiple relationships that would not reasonably be expected to cause impairment or risk exploitation or harm are not necessarily unethical, but that the clinician should carefully consider all potential outcomes when entering into such relationships.

Another community in which dual relationships are sometimes unavoidable is the LGBT community. Even in a sizable city such as Seattle, clients and therapists frequently run into each other at LGBT social and political events, there may be a higher incidence of intentional dual relationships when therapists wish to support LGBT owned businesses, and we more often find ourselves in the awkward situation of dating someone who is friends with (or once dated, or once was the client or therapist of) one’s own client or therapist. In an article on this topic Laura Brown (1998) referred to lesbian and gay communities as “sociological and psychological small towns,” in which members frequently and unavoidably cross paths.

To read entire article click here.

Monday, April 5, 2010

No More Blank Slate

by Stacey Prince

Life as a psychotherapist in the internet age has changed quite a bit as a result of the proliferation of social networking sites, use of the web as a resource to locate treatment providers, and sites like YouTube that can take anything mundane and make it go viral. Used to be, when someone came in to see me for an initial session they knew nothing about me except perhaps what they had heard from a friend who referred them, or what they gathered in our phone conversations to set up the appointment. Now, not only do they have the intentional communication of information about me through my website (which includes, as it does for most of us, a fair amount of information about my background, education, orientation to psychotherapy, a link to my CV, etc.) but they also have access to a whole bunch of unintentionally communicated information about me.

For example, there is the video my partner and I filmed for Equal Rights Washington. A series of these videos, entitled “One minute for marriage,” were filmed during the campaign to support domestic partner laws in WA State. The one of my partner and I shows us up close and personal (I wish that guy had backed away with the camera just a little bit!) talking about why we think DP laws are important in general, as well as a few personal experiences that have led us to want greater protections to be legislated. In the end, we kiss. Several clients have commented on the video, which was posted on ERW’s home page and somehow, like so many things, ended up on YouTube. 256 views—yikes!

To read entire article click here.

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Transcending Diagnoses

by Stacey Prince

One place where issues of politics, social justice and mental health come together in profound and impactful ways is in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual (DSM), the diagnostic "bible" used by medical and mental health professionals to identify psychiatric disorders. Although its authors strive to be value-free and scientifically based, the DSM is unavoidably influenced by cultural norms, and conversely it influences how society determines what is normal, pathological, or deviant. On the flip side, the DSM can be a positive influence when it increases access to appropriate care (for example, insurance companies typically require a diagnosis in order to reimburse for treatment) and legitimizes previously unrecognized suffering (such as when PTSD was coined and identified as a common consequence of combat trauma for Vietnam veterans).

The next version of the DSM, the DSM-5, is currently being drafted and is scheduled for release in 2013. I have been watching closely the controversy surrounding one particular diagnosis and its proposed revisions in the DSM-5. Gender Identity Disorder (GID) is used to identify individuals whose internal experience of gender and/or desired gender expression is opposite that of their biological sex or gender assigned at birth--individuals who often identify as "transgender". From the beginning there has been a great deal of controversy around the GID diagnosis. At the most basic level, the very existence of the diagnosis implies that significant gender variance is pathological. This not only adds fuel to the fire for those who stigmatize, discriminate against and harass gender non-conforming individuals, but also lends credence to efforts to change or "convert" gender variant people, enforcing their conformity to their assigned birth sex. Further, the classification of gender variance as a mental disorder is used by some to deny transgender individuals basic civil rights and legal protections. These arguments against diagnostic criteria are similar to those around homosexuality, which was not removed from the DSM until 1973. (For those interested in this topic please see an excellent article by Jack Drescher offering a thorough review of the parallels and contrasts between GID and homosexuality with regard to diagnostic criteria and civil rights.)

To read entire post click here.

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Perspectives on Social Justice: The fight to end colonization in the island-territory of Guahan

by Hope A. Cristobal

The Insular Empire: America in the Marianas Islands documentary will be airing tonight 3/28 at 7pm on KCTS in Seattle. Here is a schedule of upcoming national PBS air dates.

I was 18 in the fall of 1996— “Rock the vote!” was in the air. MTV touted, “Choose or Lose!” Unfortunately that year, I was about to be labeled the “loser,” not by my choice, however, but by the choice made for me by the United States Department of the Interior.

I am an indigenous Chamoru from the island of Guam (the pronunciation given to the island by foreigners). Guahan, is the actual name given by the indigenous people—it means, “We have.”

“Do you guys wear grass skirts?...Do you even have stop lights there?…What do you call your tribe?...Wow, you speak such good English!” These were common questions I encountered when I moved to Washington State at the age of 17. You see, for the first 17 years of my life, I grew up in a United States colony in the Pacific, and many Americans knew nothing of Guahan, so I did a lot to educate my college friends that year. Yes, Guahan is a colony—or politically termed, an Unincorporated Territory of the United States. This is a fancy name for a place where the people are “part of the United States,” and have American citizenship, but do not fall under the United States Constitution, and thus, do not share in the inherent rights afforded most citizens of this country. As a colony, the people of Guahan are governed and “cared for” by the Dept of the Interior—the same federal department that cares for all the national parks and endangered species.

To read entire post, click here.

Monday, March 22, 2010

Butch Voices Conference Closing Keynote


From August 20-23rd Oakland hosted the 2009 Butch Voices conference featuring a series of workshops, lectures and community events designed to build confidence and a community among various types of self identified women ranging from Butches and Studs to Aggressives.

The conference drew an impressive roster of thinkers and activists to discuss ideas of gender, sexuality and social justice. Oakland's Malkia Cyril, a longtime media and community activist delivered the final keynote, which addresses individual freedoms and the work that still needs to be done to achieve them for all people.

To read the keynote, click here.

Friday, March 12, 2010

Somatics, Trauma and Resilience Workshop April 26th

We are pleased to announce that Staci Haines will be offering a one-day workshop for therapists and advocates during her upcoming visit to Seattle in late April. In collaboration with the Therapeutic Justice Project, this Somatics, Trauma and Resilience workshop will be offered on April 26th, 2010 from 9am-5pm (location TBA). This workshop will be oriented towards therapists, social workers, advocates, and others working with survivors of trauma. Registration information is included in the attached announcement.


Wednesday, March 10, 2010

NASCAR in Vegas (and what it has to do with TJP)

by Stacey Prince

On the last weekend in February I traveled with my partner Teri and 12 of our friends to Las Vegas to celebrate her 40th birthday. A decade earlier we celebrated her 30th there, and over the years Vegas has become a fun getaway destination for us, a guilty pleasure where we can eat great food, shop and gamble a little, see a show, and get some sun. This particular weekend was also NASCAR weekend, so lots of racecar fans were in town with us. We knew the hotels and casinos would be crowded as a result; what we didn’t expect was how much homophobia and gender queer phobia we would experience.

Vegas is a very gendered city. The men are men and the women (well, some of them anyway) have heels and cleavage. Under the best of circumstances my partner and I get some stares there. On this particular weekend, the experience was almost constant. On the day we arrived, approaching the hotel registration desk we were called "gentlemen" by a staff member--apparently our short haircuts and androgynous Seattle clothing were too much of a gender violation. Walking from the elevator to a restaurant for breakfast, shopping in the malls, hanging out at a bar, we got stared at so much that I jokingly asked my partner several times if I had toilet paper stuck to my shoe or was having a bad hair day or visibly displaying some other defect. The worst was on the night we were set to go to a very lovely Italian restaurant for her big birthday dinner. We were both dressed to the max (which is a big deal coming from Seattle, land of fleece and skechers). Teri had on a nice pair of dress pants and a button-down shirt, and I was wearing a dress and sporting, well, cleavage and heels. I can honestly say that I do not remember ever being gawked at as much as we were that night, walking the long path through the casino to the restaurant. Much as I would like to think it was just because we were such an attractive couple, I know this was not the case; we were an easily identified, lesbian couple who not only were flaunting our same-sex relationship status, but also were butching and femming out about as much as we ever do. It was uncomfortable. It made me think of all of the studies I’ve read about how threatening gender-atypical behavior is, and how that rather than someone’s gayness is often the provocation for harassment and violence. I found myself staring back at people defiantly, challenging them to look away—or to say something to us, so we could have an actual confrontation instead of this wordless staring.

To read entire post click here.

Monday, March 1, 2010

Generative Somatics is coming to Seattle!!!

-- APPLICATIONS DUE MARCH 5TH --

Dear friends and community members,

We are very excited to announce that Generative Somatics is coming to Seattle! Generative Somatics offers a body-centered framework for individual and collective healing, within a social movement context. This body of work was developed by Staci Haines, author of The Survivor’s Guide to Sex and co-founder of Generation Five, an organization committed to ending the sexual abuse of children within five generations.

This spring Staci will be making a rare visit to Seattle to hold a 3-day intensive in Somatics, Trauma, and Social Justice. This course will introduce somatics as a strategy for effectively addressing the impacts of both individual and collective trauma, while organizing for sustainable social change. This is a unique opportunity to build this work in Seattle and we hope that you will consider joining us!

To read this entire post, click here.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Midwives of Peace

by Stacey Prince

At the Association for Women in Psychology conference last weekend I met a woman named Yvette Nahmia-Messinas, who had traveled from Israel to Portland, OR to attend the conference. Yvette is a mother of three daughters, Reiki master, writer, and therapist. She holds a BA in Psychology and a Master's Degree in Jewish Civilization. In 2005, along with her husband, "green" architect Elias Messinas, she established the environmental NGO Ecoweek to help raise awareness on environmental issues (www.ecoweek.org).

Since 1995 Yvette has participated in and led women's groups in both Israel and Greece. One such event was the first in series of retreats of the Joint Venture for Peace. The 2-day retreat brought together 40 Israeli and Palestinian women to meet each other and consider possible business ventures that they could carry out as partners. After the retreat she was inspired to write a series of poems, entitled, They all sound like love songs: Women healing Israeli-Palestinian relations. At Shabbat services at the conference, she shared these beautiful and moving poems with us. Here is my favorite of the poems, reprinted with her permission:


They All Sound Like Love Songs

They all sound like love songs
from the yearning to meet you,
know you, connect to you, love you.
They have tried to keep us away for so long.
Roadblocks,
barriers,
borders,
checkpoints
all aiming to stop
the flow of love and friendship,
peace and understanding,
humanness and common sense of us women.


To read entire article click here.

Monday, February 15, 2010

Hanging out with a bunch of cool feminists in Portland

by Stacey Prince

This past weekend I traveled to Portland to attend the annual convention of Association for Women in Psychology. I haven’t been to this conference in 10 years, and I loved it—it’s such a shot in the arm of inspiration and connection, simultaneously stimulating and exhausting. Shortly after arriving on Friday I presented a paper on being a psychologist-activist and integrating advocacy into psychotherapy. My co- presenters focused on building resiliency among individuals faced with negative decisions regarding LGBT rights, and the impact of such decisions on our straight allies and family members.

To read entire article click here.