Bringing awareness to self-identity and privilege, Dr. Jude Bergkamp, Chair of Antioch Seattle’s Clinical Psychology Department, led a virtual workshop titled “Orbiting Social Privilege: The Gravity of Awareness” at the University of Tulsa, on September 25. Co-presenting with Dr. Bergkamp, were Abi Martin and Lindsay Thomas, members of his Social Privilege Research Lab. The workshop used their Developmental Social Privilege Awareness Model, including an interactive worksheet, to encourage participants to engage in self-reflection and learn about the various intersections of privilege.
In using the term social privilege, the presenters referred to big, systemic, socially-conferred privilege—the sort described by W.E.B. DuBois, who coined the term in his book The Souls of Black Folk. However, as Lindsay Thomas explained, the use of the term and awareness of the idea in psychology and specifically clinical psychology has been limited. Said Bergkamp, “We have been working in our research lab to explore, ‘What is this idea of social privilege in all its aspects?’” Beyond that, they have been focusing on questions that might help use awareness of the concept to change behavior and build a more just society.
The research that informed the presentation includes questions like, “What is the process by which people first become aware of social privilege? What’s the impact of that awareness? And how do people cultivate that awareness in a way that can create personal, relational, and hopefully societal change?” The talk explored both the stages of privilege and how we can integrate a new understanding and knowledge of social privilege to become an agent ally.
The presentation was arranged in part by Kirsten Robertson, an AUS PsyD alum, who is now a psychologist for the University of Tulsa Office of Counseling and Psychological Services. She introduced the presentation, which was delivered digitally, by talking about how transformative her experience at Antioch had been. “I am so grateful for the experience of being at Antioch and for the experience of learning from Jude,” she said.
For a limited time, the full recording of their presentation can be accessed here.