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.