Invisible Wounds: A heuristic exploration of unintentional racial microaggressions and their relationship to unconscious racialisation
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Unintentional racial microaggressions towards indigenous and minority peoples while injurious to recipients, are often not recognised by the perpetrator, and when challenged, are commonly met with defensiveness. The difference in racial realities exposed in these encounters can lead to breakdowns in recognition, and polarizing dynamics which perpetuate racial division. They also represent missed opportunities for greater understanding. In this dissertation, I use a vignette of events that occurred during a training course in psychotherapy as an entry point into considering the question, “what meaning may be made regarding unconscious racialisation from making, encountering and challenging unintentional racial microaggressions as a person of mixed ‘race’ in Aotearoa New Zealand”. Through my subjective consideration of the intrapsychic, interpersonal and societal aspects of this phenomenon through heuristic inquiry, I contribute to the therapist’s consideration of the mutual influence of unconscious racialisation on the therapeutic encounter. I explore the interplay of subjectivities within the racialised transference-countertransference matrix, and consider how reparational ‘I and thou’ engagement can be facilitated when unintentional racial microaggressions occur.