How Can We Help?
Green, Z. and Stiers, M. J., Multiculturalism and Group Therapy in the United States: A Social Constructionist Perspective. Group, Vol. 26, No.3, September 2002
What diversity/subjectivity topics are they discussing?
Includes a discussion of whiteness/privilege and the (imaginary) story of being nothing — the “absent standard.” It also names social constructivism, and gives the suggestion that awareness of both privilege and norms (absent standards), can help reveal the social constructions we’re functioning under. Having a voice at the table, mentioned in the context of a transformative voice. I think of that as power, which I guess partly comes from personal qualities, but also comes with the respect and listening done by the rest of an organization/group.
The concept of selfsameness, that there’s a venn diagram where the majority of people overlap, and the absent standard prevails, is also interesting. The parts of people’s self, or the people themselves, who don’t fit into the venn area get marginalized. And about tokenizing, where people are seen for one facet of their identity, and denied their multidimensionality (and their intersectionality, subjectivity, and uniqueness).
Your summary or comments on the article
Multiculturalism encourages the inclusion ofthe broad range ofcultural differ- ences that exist in society into our therapeutic dialogues. This paper examines multicultural group therapy through the perspective of social constructionism. Emphasis is given to the unacknowledged and unspoken imbalance ofpower that exists in psychotherapeutic contexts. The concepts of multiple individual iden- tity and cultural representation are discussed and illustrated with case examples. Clinical considerations for the multicultural group therapist are provided.