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Watch: Managing Defensiveness in DEI Conversations

By Sunitha Chandy, PsyD

Photo by Artesian Collaborative

Artesian Collaborative regularly hosts trainings with businesses and non-profits. In a recent workshop with one of our corporate clients, a participant asked, "What can I do when I feel defensive in conversations about diversity, equity, and inclusion?" I love getting questions like this. It's a reminder that we're all human. The first step to managing defensiveness is acceptance. Acknowledging the defensiveness we're feeling and reminding ourselves that we're not alone gives us a starting point to be able to address it. You can watch my full response to this question in this 2 minute video. It's normal to feel defensive, whether it's caused by day to day workplace conflict or disagreements around larger issues concerning diversity and mental health. How we respond to that defensiveness is what's most important. If you'd like to get to the root of what's causing tension on your team, look at our corporate training offerings and book a live, therapist-led workshop for your team!

Sunitha Chandy PsyD Founder & Lead Trainer at Artesian Collaborative


Did you know Artesian Collaborative offers therapist-led trainings for businesses and non-profits? Here's why we're excited to share our skills as therapists in this way:

Change happens when we address underlying emotions. As therapists, we're uniquely equipped to guide your team through that journey. Here are 6 reasons why it pays to book a professional therapist to train your team!

  1. Professional Expertise Emotions are complex. We have therapeutic knowledge and real-life experience to help us teach concepts related to emotions.

  2. Trauma-Informed Care Trainings that emphasize emotions may bring up sensitive topics such as past traumas, conflicts, or triggers. We create safe spaces and manage such discussions with sensitivity and ethical concern.

  3. Psychological Safety As we explore more deeply together, we create a safe and supportive environment for participants to share and process their emotions.

  4. Interactive Facilitation As trained therapeutic facilitators, we lead interactive activities, group discussions, and role-plays to foster deeper exploration and experiential learning.

  5. Individualized Guidance Growth often requires personalized feedback. We can provide individualized support and insights that consider the specific needs of each participant.

  6. Nuanced Skills Emotions-focused growth involves nuanced skills such as self-awareness and empathy. As therapists, we help participants understand these skills and learn how to apply them in real life.

We are currently offering a number of therapist-led corporate workshops on mental health, DEI, and emotional intelligence, customized to the needs of your organization. View our full catalog and inquire here.


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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