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  1. Working with Sameness Kay McFarlane May 2010

  2. objectives • Consider the importance of sameness/similarity in therapy • Explore potential implications for our practice

  3. Presentation of 8 proposals Discussion format

  4. Disagree Agree

  5. premise Therapy needs to be rooted in exploration of the personal, group, cultural, structural and political realms – since every element of our existence is embedded here.

  6. As therapists we are encouraged to carefully consider the ways in which we are different from the client, and the origins or repercussions of these differences. proposal 1…sameness gets overlooked

  7. over attention to difference can support oppression (Malik 1996) over attention to difference can divert attention away from injustice. There is a“shift from campaigning for the ‘right to be equal’ to proclaiming the ‘right to be different’ (Malik 2005, p262) proposal 2…over attention to difference is risky

  8. We all belong to a range of various groups (ethnicity, gender, class, etc) that have power interrelationships and various social positions. We are the same and different to everybody and every group, large or small, at every moment.So, interconnection between sameness and difference pervades every therapeutic encounter. proposal 3 …sameness and difference are inevitable elements of human existence

  9. Sameness/difference to others (comparison) Union/separateness from others (connection) All connections are significant and need interrogation; remote or close, direct or indirect Examining connection, including the dynamics of power, is significant in the development of fair and honourable human relationships and therefore fundamental in therapeutic arena proposal 4 …distinguish between sameness and connection

  10. Gaertner and Dovidio (2005) propose the ‘Common Ingroup Identity Model’. La Roche and Maxie (2003) advocate addressing therapist/client commonalities as this…… - may assist the therapist in establishing an initial rapport, - client may experience more comfort, security, and acceptance. - reduce clients concerns about therapy, especially when there are significant cultural differences between therapist and client proposal 5 …explore sameness to build relationship

  11. Members of majority groups need to take Responsibility and examine the impact of the similarities they have or connections between them, eg what is the impact of the advantage we have or the discrimination we perpetuate ? Over-identification (Ridley 1995) Proposal 6 …explore privileged or mainstream sameness

  12. “Identifying with the oppressor” (Ridley 1995) Members of disadvantaged groups need to explore the similarities and connections between them eg what do we perpetuate or overlook in our disadvantages ? proposal 7 …explore disadvantaged or minority sameness

  13. proposal 8 …power, privilege, oppression in sameness is always relevant Each client has different reasons for being in therapy and different interests in sameness or difference – of course that will inform the degree to which and how similarities will be addressed in the work. Therapists need to understand themselves and their advantaged/disadvantaged group memberships. They need skills and qualities to work with clients’ similarities and differences in their lives (explicitly and implicitly) as well as with their similarities and differences with the therapist.

  14. For each proposal you agree with, consider……. what do you need to develop in your practice ? homework

  15. References Gaertner, S & Dovidio, J (2005) Understanding and Addressing Contemporary Racism: From Aversive Racism to the Common Ingroup Identity Model. Journal of Social Issues, Vol 61, No. 3, pp.615-639. La Roche, M and Maxie, A. 2003. Ten Considerations in Addressing Cultural Differences in Psychotherapy Professional Psychology: Research and Practice. Vol. 34, No. 2, 180–186. Malik, K. 1996. The Meaning of Race: Race, History and Culture in Western Society. Macmillan. Malik, K. 2005. Making a difference: culture, race and social policy. Patterns of Prejudice, Vol. 39, No. 4. Nakata, Y (2008) A Japanese Perspective. In S Haugh & S Paul (Eds) The Therapeutic Relationship: Perspectives and Themes . PCCS Books. Oliver, M. (1996). Understanding Disability: From Theory to Practice. Macmillan. Owusu-Bempah, K. and Howitt, D. (2000). Beyond Western Perspectives. BPS Books. Ridley, C. 1995. Overcoming Unintentional Racism in Counselling and Therapy. Sage.