Owning your privileges
The work of psychotherapy is vast and deep. Themes running through the many ways it can help are enabling clients to learn how to tolerate differences, discomforts, uncertainty, intimacy, power and privileges. All of these matter, they are the stuff of human relating and they affect us all.
We have seen some of these themes at the fore in recent times, with the social change that comes with the pandemic, its economic impacts, and the wider context of the climate emergency. In more ways than we usually experience, life is viscerally uncertain and uncomfortable, and familiar patterns of power and intimacy have been disturbed, undermined and reinforced. Running through our experiences of this, we need to be mindful of power and privilege, and the way they shape and influence collective and individual experiences.
At this time of disturbance, and we might hope of paradigm shift, self-reflection is key. None of us should be blind to our attributes and the privileges they afford us. As a white, heterosexual woman born to professional parents and educated well, I carry many blessings endowed on me not of my own making, but because of my genes and family situation. As Faisel Mahmood reflects “One must not negate their privileges to deal with differences. Owning our privileges is absolutely crucial for any hopeful future.”
I wonder how your experience of life differs from that of others with different attributes. Is it something you reflect on? If you do, what do you notice? And how can you use the power you are endowed to make a difference, for the good of everyone, however different to you they may be?