Monday, December 27, 2010


- 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 ( 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

Thank you!


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):

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.