White Dialectics: A New Framework for Theory, Research, and Practice With White Students 1Ψ7

Nathan R. Todd, Elizabeth M. Abrams

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This article presents White dialectics, or the tensions that White students experience as dominant group members in the United States, as a new framework to understand and intervene with White students and counselor trainees. Developed from and supported by our qualitative analysis, the authors present the six dialectics of (a) Whiteness and self, (b) connection in multiracial relationships, (c) color blindness, (d) minimization of racism, (e) structural inequality, and (f) White privilege. They demonstrate that White students exhibited dialectical movement, shifting along these dialectics as they reflected on their race. Moreover, they identified their dialectical tensions as investigators that may parallel tensions experienced by those working with White students. They conclude by discussing White authenticity, or the continual struggle with the White dialectics as an educational goal, with suggestions for intervention. A focus on White dialectics holds promise for the field of counseling psychology and the multicultural education of White students and counselor trainees.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)353-395
Number of pages43
JournalThe Counseling Psychologist
Issue number3
StatePublished - Apr 2011
Externally publishedYes


  • White identity
  • Whiteness
  • dialectic
  • feminist
  • grounded theory
  • intervention
  • social justice

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Applied Psychology


Dive into the research topics of 'White Dialectics: A New Framework for Theory, Research, and Practice With White Students 1Ψ7'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this