Grace Ballard, MA, LPC, CST | AASECT Certified Sex Therapist | New York and Colorado

As a White Therapist

As a white therapist, I have been contemplating how I collude in silence about race.

 

I recently attended a talk given by Dr. Anton Hart at The Center for Modern Psychoanalytic Studies, and he said something that blew my mind.

 

“All dialogue involves loss.”

 

We are born curious. But we can’t bear to stay curious; we want to predict. Curiosity is a persistent threat to the continuity of self because we could discover something new.

 

To stay open and take in dialogue, we have to be willing to be changed. We have to set out to lose something.

 

Dialogue freezes around race because we can’t bear to contact the other person, for fear that we might lose some notion about ourselves. Anxiety gets too high and communication breaks down.

 

These are the opportunities. How do we restart the conversation? We must expect a breakdown and be willing to keep going.

 

We are all unknown to ourselves.

 

The point of psychoanalysis is not to finally understand everything about ourselves, but rather to tolerate how much we don’t know.

 

Discussing diversity (of any kind) means being able to hear that which challenges our ego. We must allow ourselves to be changed – to take in what another says and see what happens inside of us.

 

I am here for it. Let’s talk.

    1 Comment

  1. Lucas
    February 8, 2024

    Thank you for this Grace. I’ve been working through conversations about race and representation in the leadership groups I’m part of. This framing is incredibly helpful.

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