Past Event – Embodying Difference: Understanding and Transforming the Embodied Experience of Oppression, with Rae Johnson, PhD


Saturday, June 15, 10a-1p.  (Registration opens at 9:45a.)

Location: Joe Goode Performing Annex, 401 Alabama Street (cross street 17th), San Francisco, CA.

Our kick off event! Rae Johnson came out of commitment to this direction, and shared her belief that somatic psychotherapy would break new frontiers in addressing issues of diversity with a younger generation. Many people felt inspired and were interested in engaging in ongoing discussion.

Interested in learning more about somatic perspectives on working with issues of oppression in the body? Expanding your knowledge of somatic practice and psychology? Want more dialogue on this topic?

Rae Johnson, Phd, University of Toronto will be coming to CIIS to do a special 3 hr workshop on ‘Embodied Oppression  and Clinical Skills’ where she will present her research on embodied oppression, with focus on clinical skills drawing from somatic practice and psychology. This workshop is free and open to all CIIS students, as well as members of the community.

Rae Johnson has taught at 3 and directed 2 different somatic psychology programs and she has done extensive research on this topic. Her work focuses on, sexual identity, gender and racial/cultural and other bodily experiences of oppression. She is queer identified.

Embodying Difference: Understanding and Transforming the Embodied Experience of Oppression

This workshop will provide an opportunity to explore the clinical implications of diverse social and cultural identities on the lived experience of the body. We will review prior research into oppression and embodiment, discuss the impact of asymmetrical non-verbal communication on the therapeutic relationship, and make connections between trauma, oppression, and the body. Drawing on initial findings from a current study on the embodied experience of oppression, we will use experiential exercises to surface personal connections to the material, and to attend more skillfully to how differences are embodied.


Rae Johnson, PhD, RSW, RSMT is a somatic psychotherapist, educator and researcher. She is the former Chair of the Somatic Psychology Department at the Santa Barbara Graduate Institute, former Director of the Body Psychotherapy Program in the Somatic Counseling Psychology Department at Naropa University and the founding Coordinator of Student Crisis Response Programs at the University of Toronto. Her research and clinical interests include the somatic experience of oppression, embodied critical pedagogy, queer phenomenology, and feminist somatic research methods.

About DiversityCIISSomatic

Eveline Wu is the founding member of this group. This website has been temporarily set up and will be updated by Mihyun. Eveline can be reached via her website at Mihyun Lee is a 2nd year student in the somatic psychology department at California Institute of Integral Studies. She is an immigrant from Korea with a long history in dance and the performing arts, including traditional Korean dance, contemporary dance and contact improvisation. She has also studied expressive arts therapy, and is very interested in the topics of this group.

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