A new book by a York professor explores the narratives of interracial couples, their encounters with racism and discrimination, their formation of new couple and family identities, and best practices of counselling and therapy with this growing population.
Interracial Couples, Intimacy, and Therapy: Crossing Racial Borders (Columbia University Press), by couple and family therapist and Centre for Refugee Studies scholar Kyle Killian, intimately portrays how race, class and gender shape relationship dynamics and partners’ senses of belonging.
The book will launch Thursday, Dec. 12, from 6:30 to 8:30pm, at Caversham Booksellers, 98 Harbord St., Toronto, with a wine and cheese, excerpts from the book and plenty of conversation.
“This book gives voice to the diversity of perspectives expressed by interracial couples about the rewards, prejudices and challenges they face in their relationships,” says Killian. “I wrote it to provide a resource to interracial and multiethnic couples and families, the helping professionals who work with them, and social scientists who study persons who cross racial and cultural borders to form intimate bonds.”
Interracial Couples, Intimacy, and Therapy is grounded in the personal narratives of 20 interracial couples with multiracial children. Assessment tools and intervention techniques help professionals and scholars work effectively with multiracial families as they negotiate difference, resist familial and societal disapproval, and strive for increased intimacy. There is also a discussion of interracial couples in cinema and literature, an exploration into the sensationalization of multiracial relations in mass media and a section on what couples’ experiences say about race relations in the broader social context.
As University of Massachusetts Professor Gonzalo Bacigalupe says, “Moving beyond simple ethnographic curiosity, this book invites readers to appreciate how race relations unavoidably make its way into the most intimate spaces. Adopting the best of a strength-oriented approach, this book wonderfully weaves history, couple formation, human development theory, family systems approaches and social constructionist psychotherapy approaches, to illuminate the lived experience of interracial couples. . . . Moreover, interracial couples and their families will find a world of wisdom in this book.”