Toronto Metropolitan University
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White trauma: tracing trauma informed recovery and white supremacy in social work practice

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posted on 2021-05-23, 11:40 authored by Randi Paxton
This qualitative research study examines how five prominent recovery oriented community based organizations talk out loud about themselves, their service population and recovery. Using a critical discourse analysis, pervasive discursive patterns were revealed through thematic analysis. This study details the way in which trauma-informed care quietly manifests alongside the same guiding principles as the recovery model, creating a compounded site of power whereby one lives both inside and outside the bounds of the other. The purpose of this study is to call attention to the illusive nature of these widely-celebrated models, disrupting the unchecked, institutionalized supremacy of the whiteness that prevails within. Applying the concept of creaming to social service provision in Toronto, this study makes the claim that white trauma is centred within recovery oriented service construction and provision given it causes the least structural disruption. This process ultimately sustains the feel-good culture that envelops recovery based and trauma-informed social work.





  • Master of Social Work


  • Social Work

Granting Institution

Ryerson University

LAC Thesis Type

  • MRP