In Spring of 2015, we led a multi-session workshop focusing on reclaiming identity from Oppression. This was a hands-on workshop for counselors learning how to use this approach in their clinical work by experiencing the process first-hand. Based on narrative therapy, the approach emphasizes how “people are not passive recipients of trauma (White, 2011, p.132)” but rather we actively resist the defining influences of oppressive experiences. For example, rather than ignore or “move past” the pains and anger associated with the experience, these feelings can actually help keep us connected to that which is precious or valuable, the aspects of self we don’t want to lose sight of.

The group met on two different occasions to work together on creating timelines of resistance to their identified sources of oppression. In between sessions, each person journaled to continue this work and identify images or other forms of expression that would capture their preferred expressions of self. This workshop culminated in each participant creating a work of art that displayed aspects of their preferred selves. We had a resident artist who consulted with the participants to help them realize their visions. On April 24, we held a gallery exhibition of their work where they invited others to share in their work. Our participants have given permission to show their work here to allow this exhibit to continue to live, and to hopefully inspire others towards continuing the work of resisting the effects of trauma and oppression.

(please note each artist holds the copyright to their own work; please do not copy or reproduce without written consent of this webmaster and the artist.)

One of our artists created an audio piece instead of a visual piece; a sample of what she created can be found by clicking here.