It focuses specifically on the equality groups set out in the Equality Act 2006: groups which share a common attribute in respect of age, disability, gender, race, religion or belief, or sexual orientation.
Prejudice and discrimination have been prevalent throughout human history. Those who practice discrimination do so to protect opportunities for themselves by denying access to those whom they believe do not deserve the same treatment as everyone else.. Many prejudices seem to be passed along from parents to children. The media—including television,
movies, and advertising—also perpetuate demeaning images and stereotypes about assorted groups, such as ethnic minorities, women, gays and lesbians, the disabled, and the elderly. Prejudices may bring support from significant others, so rejecting prejudices may lead to losing social support. The pressures to conform to the views of families, friends, and
associates can be formidable. In response to early socialization, some people are especially prone to stereotypical thinking and projection based on unconscious fears. People with an authoritarian personality rigidly conform, submit without question to their superiors, reject those they consider to be inferiors, and express intolerant sexual and religious
opinions. The authoritarian personality may have its roots in parents who
are unloving and aloof disciplinarians. The child then learns to control his or her anxieties via rigid attitudes. To date, solutions to prejudice that emphasize change at the individual level have not been successful. In contrast, research sadly shows that even unprejudiced people can, under specific conditions of war or economic competition, become highly prejudiced against their perceived “enemies.” Neither have attempts at
desegregation in schools been successful. Instead, many integrated schools
have witnessed the formation of ethnic cliques and gangs that battle other
groups to defend their own identities.
Prejudice tended to mean having a set of idea about someone that is based
on assumptions or preconceptions, rather than a person’s actual action. For
Example: racism, sexism, ageism, classism, homophobia, nationalism etc.
Prejudices can either be positive or negative—both forms are usually
preconceived and difficult to alter. The negative form of prejudice can lead
to discrimination, although it is possible to be prejudiced and not act upon
the attitudes. Discrimination is the actual behaviour of excluding or restricting members of one group from opportunities that are available for other groups. For
example: age discrimination, sexual orientation, national origin, sexual
harassment etc. Unfortunately due to our past history, discrimination had
been among us from since decades. And it’s still on-going. These things had
led to human conflict which resulted in crime, war, and mass murder such
as genocide. Discriminations affect people’s opportunities and well-being.
Societies continue to make distinctions based on ethnicity, race, sex or
gender and other characteristics that should have no bearing on people’s
achievements or on their wellbeing. Prejudice and discrimination could
affect health of the victim in several ways. Discrimination could determine
groups living conditions and life changes affecting such areas as education,
employment, and housing. As per humanity every single individual existing
should have equal rights and opporcunity in all the areas of life.
Therapists are not immune to prejudicial attitudes. Indeed, most schools
offer therapists little training on the role of racism, sexism, and other forms
of prejudice and discrimination in therapy. Prejudice can undermine the
therapeutic process and harm clients. Some examples of how prejudice can
affect therapy include:
Altering perceptions: A therapist’s prejudicial beliefs about a group
can affect their opinion of clients. For example, a therapist who thinks women tend to exaggerate things might not take seriously a woman’s claims of sexual abuse.
Minimizing experiences: A therapist’s prejudicial beliefs about how
prejudice and discrimination affects people can undermine their ability to help. A therapist might underestimate the extent to which police killings of unarmed black people affect black mental health, or
may be unaware of how high-profile sexual assault cases affect sexual
Not recognizing power dynamics: A therapist who harbours
prejudicial beliefs or who is unaware of the effects of prejudice might not recognize power dynamics in therapy. For example, a white therapist might not understand why a black person is reluctant to
discuss racism. In family therapy, a therapist who is prejudiced might
not notice power dynamics between male and female romantic
Gas lighting: A therapist who is blind to the effects of prejudice or who does not recognize their own prejudices may inadvertently gaslight by questioning a client’s experiences or reality.
Prejudice can manifest in other ways, too:
✓ Prejudice directed at a therapist may undermine the therapist’s
ability to help.
✓ A client may seek therapy to deal with the effects of prejudice on
their life and mental health. Prejudice can make virtually every
aspect of life more difficult, and has measurable lifelong mental and
physical health consequences.
✓ Prejudice may be a factor in couples or family therapy. To offer
comprehensive help, a therapist must recognize prejudice and
identify its role in the family.
✓ A client might seek therapy to overcome prejudicial attitudes.
Though prejudice is not a mental health diagnosis, it can have
profound and lasting effects on people and the world.
✓ Prejudice infects an entire society, but making change begins with
changing individual minds and lives.
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