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Being White in the Helping Professions

Developing Effective Intercultural Awareness
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In this reflective yet practical book, the author challenges white helping professionals to recognize their own cultural identity and the impact it has when practising in a multicultural environment.

Judy Ryde reveals how white people have implicit and explicit advantages and privileges that often go unnoticed by them. She suggests that in order to work effectively in a multicultural setting, this privilege needs to be fully acknowledged and confronted. She explores whether it is possible to talk about a white identity, addresses uncomfortable feelings such as guilt or shame, and offers advice on how to implement white awareness training within an organization.

Ryde offers a model for 'white awareness' in a diverse society and provides concrete examples from her own experience. This book is essential reading for students and practitioners in the helping professions, including social workers, psychotherapists, psychologists, counsellors, healthcare workers, occupational therapists and alternative health practitioners.
  • Published: Jan 15 2009
  • Pages: 224
  • 232 x 156mm
  • ISBN: 9781843109365
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Press Reviews

  • American Journal of Dance Therapy

    Ryde's book, Being White in the helping professions: Developing effective intercultural awareness, attempts to address how racism impacts the effectiveness of practitioners providing mental health counselling services. Her book offers insights for practitioners who recognize the need to act as change agents towards ending racism within the policies and practices of the mental health system
  • Therapy Today

    It was with a sense of relief that I opened this book. At last someone has found the time and energy, and been supported enough, to produce a well thought-out book on this potentially sensitive topic... Ryde has fashioned a coherent approach to the topic that offers an integration of a disparate field (at least for many white people) and ways forward for white practitioners and organisations embedded in white culture. This book might be of interest to black and minority practitioners. It is essential reading for white practitioners.
  • The Independent Practitioner Journal

    It is as creative, challenging and thought provoking as it is thorough and practical.
  • Healthcare Counselling and Psychotherapy Journal

    As Ryde notes, the fish is unaware of the sea until taken from its environment. it is easy for white people to be blind to our assumptions and endemic racism and unconsciously to regard white ways of behaving as the norm. I highly recommend this book, and consider it required reading on counselling courses and for all white therapists who work interculturally.
  • Speech & Language Therapy in Practice

    This thought-provoking book offers an alternative view supplementing traditional equality and diversity training. It stimulates the reader to consider what 'white' culture is and how it implicitly and explicitly affects the thoughts and perceptions of not just the 'white' person but also the people around them.
  • Avenue Consulting Wellbeing Newsletter

    I found this book fascinating and thought provoking on many levels. This book will assist all those white helpers to deal with some of the more tricky racial/cultural and class issues that we all face each day. It will enable helpers and teams to question their beliefs and practice and develop concrete dialogue and stimulate change in a constructive manner.
  • Leveson Centre Newsletter

    There is a passion in this book that is rooted in a commitment to social justice. Judy Ryde wants both practice and scholarship to be intentionally reflective about some of the problems and possibilities that surround cultural identity and its impact when working within the multi-cultural environment. The author's twenty-five years of experience in working in supervision and training is put to good use in this carefully organised and well-written book. It also a model of excellence in so far as it not only discusses the subject with intelligence and wisdom, but it also provides some solutions for good practice in developing intercultural awareness.
  • Lord Victor Adebowale, Chief Executive of Turning Point

    I'm impressed with the calm and scholarly practitioner approach taken in this book... a timely and useful contribution to the helping profession's challenge of creating a valued and valuable experience for all those people seeking help... An original approach to a rarely discussed challenge for all in the helping professions.
  • Andrew Samuels, Professor of Analytic Psychology, University of Essex

    Engaging with Judy Ryde's passionate, scholarly, effective and original book, I feel both more and less certain about myself as a white person or white professional. This reflective state, which I expect others will share, is Ryde’s political and psychological gift and staying in that state will be essential to my clinical work and personal life. The book will make every analyst, therapist or counsellor indeed, everyone in the helping professions - reflect on who they are as they work, far beyond what is already managed in the relational and intersubjective traditions. Ryde has managed to bring three diverse impossibilities together into one challenging whole: citizenship, professionalism and individuation.
  • Professor Lena Dominelli, Head of Social, Community and Youth Work at Durham University

    Judy Ryde embarks on a valiant attempt to emerge with the contentious, complex and immensely difficult issue of being white in the helping professions. Ryde provides many insights into personal growth and development in this highly charged and emotional topic. It provides individual helping practitioners wanting to act as change agents in ending racism in a profession's policies and practices with helpful tips and one woman's story of how she sought to achieve this aim.
  • Extract from the Foreword by Colin Lago, Fellow, British Association for Counselling

    I feel most honoured to have been invited to write this foreword. This book is the result of a long and dedicated journey of exploration, commitment to social justice, high aspirations for psychotherapeutic practice and scholarship. I do hope Judy will be recognised and valued for this significant contribution to the helping professions.

    This refreshing approach asks "White" people to consider what that identity means for them, both as individuals but even more crucially as workers, and how it affects the services they provide to their clients. One of the things I most liked about this book was the very "non-threatening" approach it takes to raising awareness. Without minimising the appalling effects racial prejudice and discrimination can have on people from Black, Asian or other minority ethic backgrounds, it also discusses the insidious effects of racism on people from dominant "White" backgrounds.
  • Beverly Williams-Hawkins - Presence

    Being White in the Helping Professions is an evocative exploration of one woman's journey into a deeper awareness of what it means to be white in a racialized context and the implications of a white racial identity for those in the helping professions... Throughout her book Ryde urges white helping professionals to embark on the journey of self-discovery that leads to ownership of a white identity and all its accompanying privileges and responsibilities. In Being White in the Helping Professions, she provides a useful guidebook and a travel case of practical tools that can be helpful for any spiritual director or formation program.