From the Margins to the Center: Cultivating Collective Healing with Soulcial Work Praxis

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Smith College Studies in Social Work

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Black, Indigenous, and Women of Color (BIWOC) educators working in predominantly White institutions (PWIs) disproportionately experience violence rooted in historical, structural, and interpersonal oppressions that negatively impact mental and physical health which necessitates multi-level healing. In response, a BIWOC educators’ healing circle incorporated Critical Transformative Potential Development (CTPD) to create a collective and collaborative healing process from the harm of institutional gendered racism. The BIWOC circle integrated decolonial strategies, including storytelling and healing spaces, to encourage the cultivation of sustainable health and wellness practices. Through the reflective narratives of four BIWOC healing circle participants, we consider the ways CTPD can be a decolonizing force. Participant narratives support the introduction of Soulcial Work Praxis (SWP), and its evolution from CTPD, as a decolonizing theoretical framework for soul care, transformation, and healing, proclaiming that rebellion is our salvation, community is our protection, and healing is our liberation. The SWP dimensions within participants’ reflections highlight our pillars of humanity: space, grace, time, and opportunity. Considerations for broader application in social work education, research, and practice are also presented.


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