Reflective Article
About reflective articles
Reflective articles are personal responses by selected attendees to the 2021 Racial Equity workshops led by Nikkia Young and on the intersection of DDP with racial and social justice.
The purpose of the reflective articles is to spark inner reflection. If you are feeling moved reading them, we encourage you to journal, meditate and be with the important feelings being shared. Sitting with and truly engaging with our responses and emotions is part of the process.

Please be aware that they may contain sensitive anecdotes and/or stories that may be upsetting and re-triggering.
All opinions expressed in the following piece belong to the author(s).

January Reflection


These monthly essays — this is the first — are intended to be personal inward-looking ‘reflections’ on expanding our own racial consciousness in light of the five upcoming workshops with Dr. Nikkia Young.

It is a pleasure for me to see DDPI enthusiastically (if belatedly) embracing a member-wide shift to integrating anti-racism into our trainings, consultations, and client work. For me it is exciting to organizationally remove racism, along with a wider spectrum of privileged “otherings”, such as assuming heteronormativity, able-bodiedness, and western cultural views on what defines attachment behaviors for all families.

Maine studies, 2006

Around 2006 a group of ten or eleven of us DDP fans were meeting regularly in Maine to advance our DDP skills. In those ancient days there were no Levels I or II, and we just considered it “advanced”.

Eating and meeting, showing tapes and sometimes arguing passionately, it never came to consciousness to say, “You know we have done a DDP book, and will maybe start an institute, but we are all white in a white society privileged through racism. What does that mean for using our model in our work with people of color?”.

Why did I not think and talk like that then? Perhaps fear that my colleagues might look at me like I had two heads. Perhaps fear of being seen as a problem for raising a conveniently muzzled issue. Perhaps a passive assumption that DDP therapists would/should leave racism defined as white spaces tend to define it — as a personal problem.

Awakening 2020

In the summer of 2020, I attended an online anti-racist training for therapists. What I recall most vividly were the break-out rooms — one for white participants (in the minority), and one for Black, Indigenous and People of Color [BIPOC].

Upon reconvening, each break-out room told of their experience. I reported for our white break-out room that we experienced cautious speaking, confusion about what to say, hesitation and silence.

Then the BIPOC break-out group described their time as one big loud celebration! To be free of white space even for just a few minutes was an unexpected, intersubjective experience of joy and relief!

That informed me viscerally. I felt torn up inside with sadness, perhaps despair, to see and feel what systemic racism does for whites — silences our voices for change — and to see what a relief it is for BIPOC folks to experience even a short breather.

I want DDP as an organization to back up, own its traditional, white-space privilege of silence on social justice issues, and sit with that, reflect on that, then begin moving forward.

I welcome, Dr. Nikkia Young!


Publisher: (Feb 2021)

Article Copyright © RS, 2021