Transforming Race Conversations

A Healing Guide for Us All

First Edition

30 July 2024

Territory Rights — Worldwide.

Eugene Ellis (Author)


A guide to supporting our emergence from the tight grip of race discomfort.

If we are to address the injustice of racism, we need to have the “race conversation”. All too often, however, attempts at this conversation are met with silence, denial, anger or hate. This is largely because the construct of race resides not only in our minds, but principally in the body. In order to have productive conversations about race and racism, a paradigm shift is needed—one which will empower us to remain present and embodied, rather than constricted with fear, regardless of our racial identities.

Here, psychotherapist Eugene Ellis explores what is needed for this bodily shift to occur as he unpacks the visceral experience of the race conversation. He offers a trauma-informed, neurophysiological approach that emphasises resourcing, body awareness, mindfulness and healing. Transforming Race Conversations is essential reading for therapy practitioners as well as anyone looking to engage more effectively in the ongoing dialogue around race.


"Eugene’s conversational and accessible style is music to my ears, conveying the feelings that are evoked by race and what is at stake for Black, people of colour and white people. He offers us a language to describe our experiences of the race conversation and also what we can do about them. This book is an inspiration and an awakening for everyone, the young, the old, teachers, social workers, carers, politicians and decision-makers. Read and feel free." — Jazzie B

"This is a must-have book for all therapists working with people of African and Asian diaspora heritage who want to understand the impact of historical and modern-day racism on the Black British psyche.  This timely publication, in the context of Black Lives Matter and racial trauma, will help practitioners to create the space and dialogue for inclusive conversation and change with their clients and the wider community. Eugene has powerfully captured the nuances and fractures of trauma, where our minds and bodies have been dehumanised for far too long and takes us towards reclaiming our sanity and positive growth." — Patrick Vernon, OBE, social commentator and co author of 100 Great Black Britons

"In this comprehensive text, Eugene Ellis describes a pathway to racial understanding, speaking to both the history of racism and the psychology of race relations, interwoven with a mindfulness-based, somatically-informed model for addressing the effects of this history on all of us. He leaves us with much to converse about!" — Janina Fisher, Ph.D., Author of “Transforming the Living Legacy of Trauma” and “Healing the Fragmented Selves of Trauma Survivors"

"An essential read that facilitates the language of listening and hearing in the context of intersectionality and the racial construct. Launched from his personal and professional experience as a therapist, the author presents an insightful and empirical text. He addresses rage, vulnerability and trauma across racial lines and creates a pathway to the understanding of racial dialogue. He makes clear the unconscious processes of internalised racism and a sense of 'community responsibility'. The book emphasises the multi-faceted positions of racism, mindfulness and body connections that trigger ‘racial arousal’. Examples of dialogue prompt further understanding and unravel ‘race construction’. An undercurrent of external and internal prompts such as white fragility and white privilege is used to contextualise interrelationships between African and Asian people and white people. This book is an important contribution to keeping the race conversation alive." — Isha Mckenzie-Mavinga Author of The Challenge of Racism in the Therapeutic Process

"This book has been written to help us take an honest look at who we really are. It is here to help us dig deep. It is here to heal the nation. I’m no psychotherapist, but I get it. After years of experience on the front-line helping people like me, Eugene has written a book that I believe can change the way we relate to each other and the way we relate to ourselves. He writes in a logical, accessible way, and makes The Race Conversation, our conversation." — Benjamin Zephaniah Author, poet, lyricist and musician

"When the history of therapy’s engagement with race and diversity comes to be written, Eugene Ellis will be one of the most important figures in the narrative. In this book, he confirms his standing as a leading theorist as well as an activist. The innovative strength of the book lies in its focus on the body on how the race construct and its traumas are held in the bodies of people of colour and also of the white majority." — Andrew Samuels Former Chair UK Council for Psychotherapy

"In this insightful and accessible book, Eugene Ellis tackles a challenging topic with candor, honesty and courage. He manages to clarify the complexity of the race construct and its debilitating impact on our bodies, mental health, and relationships, while at the same time to instil hope for healing this legacy. Readers will find themselves inspired by knowledge and empowered by awareness so that enriching conversations about race become possible." — Pat Ogden PhD, Founder, Sensorimotor Psychotherapy; Author, The Pocket Guide to Sensorimotor Psychotherapy in Context



152 x 229 mm • 336 pages


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