Resources for Educators

Teaching Tip

From the Teacher’s Aide Newsletter

2021 January

Ethics Activity: Social Justice

Bodywork professionals should be aware of the particular trauma experienced by clients who have been marginalized in society. This ethics activity is adapted from an activity submitted by Anita Boser, an instructor in the Hellerwork Structural Integration program:

Social justice encompasses all forms of marginalization: race, sexual orientation, gender, disability, wealth, even weight. When a person is treated as a stereotype (especially a negative stereotype) rather than as an individual, there are energetic, psychological, and physical effects. Let’s consider, as ethical practitioners, what steps we can take to reduce the impact of these negative effects in our practice.

Research shows an elevated risk of diseases related to higher levels of stress hormones and high blood pressure, when dignity and respect are chipped away on a daily basis. Such experiences may include:

  • major discrimination
  • fired from a job
  • arrested unfairly (or fear of the possibility)
  • fear of deportation and being separated from family members
  • everyday discrimination
  • being treated with less courtesy than others
  • being treated like your worth is less than others
  • people acting afraid of you

Our self-regulatory system engages with our environment. So, experiences of prejudice, including fear for personal safety, can create trauma.

Discussion Questions: Knowing that implicit bias is inherent in human nature, and institutional racism is inherent in America, how do you plan to address your own biases? How do you plan to create safety for your clients who have been marginalized by our society?