By: Joanne Loeb, PhD
On 2/17/21 NYZTT board member Daria Best provided an evocative in-service training on the topic of Location of Self. Prior to the event, board members reviewed the article by Dr. Thandiwe Dee Watts-Jones called “Location of Self: Opening the Door to Dialogue on Intersectionality in the Therapy Process” which describes the use of Location of Self in clinical work. Daria explained the concept which involves identifying the ways in which we each belong to intersecting social groups related to race, ethnicity, gender, religion, social class, etc. and how in identifying our affiliations we become more aware of how we impact others. Daria shared her own family history, the origin of her name and her circles of identity. Other participants then shared their circles of identity, some describing how they have experienced new role affiliations as they enter different stages of life. One example given was an adult daughter caring for an ailing parent and experiencing a reversal of roles. Others spoke about the impact the pandemic has had on their sense of identity being isolated from their usual social groups. The Location of Self workshop gave participants an opportunity to think about how their own racial identity, and the privilege or subjugation associated with that identity, has impacted their work and their relationships with clients of other races and cultures. Board members with immigrant parents shared how impactful the immigrant experience was in developing their own sense of identity. The conversation around Location of Self was eye-opening for some participants and emotional for others as they thought about how their identities were associated with both pride and pain. This training inspired interest in continuing the experiential learning and community-building related to diversity, equity, and inclusion.