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Unconscious Bias

By Sunitha Chandy PsyD

We Need Training on Unconscious Bias.

There is a difference between understanding a concept and creating change. Unconscious bias, also referred to as implicit bias, is so inherently difficult to root out because it is not under our conscious control. Even when we understand how it functions, research shows that just understanding unconscious bias does not lead to the behavioral change we want to see. We need to go further to see how our blind spots create tension and disruption in our workplace relationships.

At Artesian Collaborative, we believe that tension, conflict, and discomfort are not merely problems to be solved. They are growth opportunities that, when used correctly, can transform our organizations, our relationships, and ourselves. Many corporate training programs are great at helping us address the symptoms of tension and conflict but rarely get to the root of why we feel and act the way that we do.

...the thing about unconscious bias is that it is…unconscious.

This is why interactive and self-reflective workshops are a must. Interaction is where we surface the tensions and self-reflection is where we recognize where our beliefs and perspectives impact how we engage. 

The problem we’ve found with just focusing on unconscious bias is that these biases are under the surface.

It’s like acne. I may know a pimple is coming. I can feel the irritation, but it’s the last thing I want any of you to see. I’m going to do everything I can do to hide it! You’re not going to see my pimple until it pops out. 

And like acne, we know that just talking about unconscious bias doesn’t stop our urges to hide it. We want to get people to a place where it’s safe to recognize what makes us all prone to develop biases so we can work on skills and strategies that target these biases at their roots before they turn into actions that cause significant damage to our colleagues and workplaces. 

And even in the case when our biases turn into actions, we want to prepare people with skills that help mitigate damage and move towards values of connection, belonging, and growth.

Our Methodology Focuses on Two Key Components
  • Awareness building to prevent the buildup of bias and 

  • Tools for intensive responses when we have a flare-up of tense interactions. 

We Do This Through:
  • Uncovering the foundations of your identity development

  • Growing the awareness of diverse perspectives and experiences

  • Curating the tools and skills to explore the impact of microaggressions

  • Identifying the cost of bias and practicing various interventions

Our Training Methodology 

Our approach integrates insights from a psychological concept known as Systems Theory. Systems Theory provides a comprehensive view of organizational dynamics, emphasizing the relationships and feedback loops that cause problems in our workplaces and teams. 

Using this model, we explore the intricate relationships within an organization, including context, rules, boundaries, and communication to pinpoint the source of underlying issues. This approach integrates a dual focus on the system and the individual, fostering change at every level for improved organizational performance and collaboration.

Questions to Consider

What are you hoping to change? What impact from this training is key for your learning and development objectives? How do you want your teams to respond if they experience bias in action? What tools do they have to work together to repair these situations and build towards your company's shared goals and values? The other side of understanding diverse perspectives is understanding the costs of acting on biases. Many people have a deep fear of being seen as biased, and in a world of cancel culture, our identity development and recognition activities make it safe to check for blindspots and defensiveness as we learn about the different identities and perspectives that we don’t have. We need an environment where it is safe to speak up to prevent the costs of unconscious bias from impacting our bottom line.

While building walls for protection, we inadvertently keep others at a distance. Dismantling those walls opens us to discomfort. However, by embracing the journey of making the unconscious conscious and arming ourselves with the necessary skills, we can overcome biases. This enables us to create a dynamic environment that nurtures innovation, sparks creativity, and propels growth. Empowered to bring our authentic selves to the table, our teams can effectively leverage our collective resources.


Let's talk about the hard stuff.

Artesian Collaborative is a mental health practice based in Chicago. We excel at guiding individuals and teams through tense and difficult topics - and helping them feel good about it.

Our therapists provide mental health counseling for individuals, couples, and families. Our team also leads corporate and community trainings in the areas of Stress Management, Diversity Equity & Inclusion, and Relational Leadership.


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