While many of us understand and work with processes of repair and reconciliation in the clinical setting, few of us have experience with what repair for harmful behavior looks like for a country. How does a country recover from what Robert J. Lifton has called malignant normality? In this talk, I propose and explain that racism in the United States is a prime example of malignant normality and I explore the challenges of recovering from that widely shared cultural condition and shared state of mind. I will tell the story of Germany’s historical process of moving out of malignant normality towards repentance and reconciliation, through slides and narrative. I will also tell the story of our American challenge with the malignant normality of racism, what kind of progress is happening, and why our challenge is very different from Germany’s —more difficult. We will have time to discuss together, thoughts and questions that come up in relation to the talk and to also reflect on why our conversation may be important for our work clinically.
- Participants will understand key psychological challenges that followed traumatic racial catastrophe in Germany and the United States.
- Participants will understand the similarities and differences between Germany’s process of racial reckoning and our own.
- Participants will understand the concept of malignant normality, and how it describes conditions of Germany under the Third Reich as well as conditions in the United States.
About the Instructor
Debra Mowat, MA, PhD, LMHC is a psychotherapist in private practice in Seattle, Washington. She sees adults and couples, and previously worked in the area of infant mental health and child therapy at the Center for Human Services. She holds a doctorate in Communication Studies and a masters in clinical psychology. Debra is returning to research and writing, and is focused on the intersection of psychology, history and contemporary social challenges. Previously, she co-edited Constructing the Self in a Mediated World (1996). She has also published in numerous peer reviewed articles on the topic of communication and the self, as well as the topic of qualitative research in the social sciences.
Fees: $20 Alliance Members / $24 Non-members
Refund Policy: Refunds less a $10 handling fee will be given up until one week before the class.
The instructor will send participants the Zoom link before the seminar.
This presentation has been approved for a total of 1.50 CE’s for licensed mental health counselors and associates, marriage and family therapists and social workers by the Washington State Society for Clinical Social Work.