My experience of ‘accountability abuse’

While I have made numerous public statements on many of the incidents that I describe below, I realize that something I haven’t really done yet is to truly let myself take up the role of a survivor of accountability abuse (the manipulation of social justice discourse on accountability to propagate harm) and write on my…

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Undoing traumatic bonding: responding to claims of harm in the post-#metoo era

A note on scope: The purpose of this article is to simply introduce a few new ideas and get us to think more critically about how we respond to claims of harm in our communities overall. It isn’t necessarily to try to give all the answers. A short article like this can hardly cover all…

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A Funk Lesson: If life is a dance, violence is a choreography, but so is justice

… A white woman sees a black man. They call police officers on him. Then the officers murder the black man. Then the officers go free. Then the masses rise up. They are met with resistance from the state. They clash. Eventually, the masses become quieter. They burn out. They reorganize. They grieve. Then a…

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‘Amae (甘え)’ and the sweet indulgence of social justice culture

I want to start this piece with an inconvenient thought. Over the last years, online social justice communities have been shouting down the idea of reverse sexism or racism – I’ve done it myself. The logic that is given is that bias towards men or white people isn’t in the context of a larger system…

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Why I, as a therapist, support Andrew Yang

Hi, this open letter is for everyone, but especially for my fellow therapists and healers.Today I want to talk to you about: why I, as a therapist, emphatically support Andrew Yang. Before I start, I want to preface that it feels scary and vulnerable to endorse a presidential candidate so clearly on my professional website…

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When the personal isn’t that political: what we can learn from the Rubber Hand Illusion about hyper-sensitization in activist communities

Even as a therapist and consultant who specializes in working where trauma and social injustice meet, I have always had some suspicion about how the connection between relational dynamics and systemic oppression is talked about in activist spaces. My primary concern with this has been about how dominant social justice discourse tends to completely skip…

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Imagining ancestral justice

What happens to a people when they lose their ways? Well, one thing we do know is that they lose their medicines. They forget the names of plants and other beings in their world that can help them restore their balance. They forget the rituals that are able to activate the natural healing mechanisms of…

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Understanding ‘accountability abuse’

‘Accountability abuse’ is an abuse of power pattern that happens when we take on self-policing roles within a community without the appropriate checks and supports for ourselves. For me, accountability abuse is a more succinct way to define violent behaviors that tend to be categorized under ‘call-out culture’ or ‘cancel culture’, spanning from brutal accountability…

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Universal Basic Income: considering the economics of healing justice

More and more, we are coming to understand that it is nervous system dysregulation that leads to violence to ourselves and others, and that individual and collective healing are inseparably connected. We are realizing that the urgency and vigilance that fills our lives, which fuels us through cycles of hyper-productivity and burn out, tears our…

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Believing survivors isn’t the same as holding their trauma

CN: Discussion of racial and sexual violence I want you to know that, even as I write this, I’m a survivor of childhood abuse. Being received and believed by others has been a big part of healing all aspects of this. I firsthand understand how healing it can be for survivorship to be believed. I…

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