By Eugene Ellis

The Race Conversation

An Essential Guide to Life Changing Dialogue

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.” Benjamin Zephaniah

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soon to be re-published by Norton Professional Books

Available 30 July 2024

Transforming Race Conversations

A Healing Guide for Us All

30% discount with code ‘WN122’ on checkout

Is it possible not to be confused about race? Is it possible to respond authentically to the hurt and discomfort of racism?

The construct of race is an integral part of Western society’s DNA and if we are to address the social injustice of racism, we need to have the race conversation. Yet all too often, attempts at such a dialogue are met with silence, denial, anger or hate.

The Race Conversation explores how the damage and distress caused by racism lives not just in our minds, but principally in the body. As well as helping us to develop a cognitive understanding by exploring the history and development of the race construct, the book focuses specifically on the non-verbal communication of race, both as a means of social control and as an essential part of navigating oppressive patterns. This guide supports everyone to emerge from the tight grip of race discomfort to a trauma-informed, neurophysiological approach that emphasises resourcing, body awareness, mindfulness and healing.


Eugene Ellis

Eugene Ellis is an activist, writer and public speaker on issues of race, difference and intersectionality. He trained as an Integrative Arts Psychotherapist and has a particular interest in body-orientated therapies and mindfulness. He is also the founder and director of The Black, African and Asian Therapy Network (BAATN), a network of therapists committed, passionate and actively engaged in addressing the psychological needs of Black, African and South Asian people in the UK.

Eugene’s book ‘The Race Conversation: An essential guide to creating life-changing dialogue’ explores the intersection of race and trauma, the non-verbal communication of race and how to navigate oppressive patterns. Eugene’s chapter in ‘Intercultural Therapy: Challenges, Insights and Developments’ entitled ‘Finding our voice across the Black/white divide: race issues in therapy’, reflects on the therapists’ process when issues of race become foreground for the therapist, the client or the trainee therapist and what processes encourage and maintain the ability to stay with race dialogue.


It would be impossible to exaggerate how important this book is for our times.

Judy Ryde


The book is written with integrity and passion for our history and our minds and our mental, physical and spiritual well being. 

– Isha Mckenzie-Mavinga


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. 

– Benjamin Zephaniah


The Race Conversation Book Launch

Is it possible not to be confused about race? Is it possible to respond authentically to the hurt and discomfort of racism?

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

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

It would be impossible to exaggerate how important this book is for our times. Written, as it was, in the wake of Brexit, the Election of Donald Trump and of Black Live Matter, it tells of the way that race and the damaging way that conscious and unconscious ideas of race, are woven into society. This is a time when the divisive nature of race is beginning to be better understood but is, at the same time resurgent. Race is a construct with a terrible history that is held deep within the body of individuals and in communities, both white and non-white. Eugene Ellis brings both personal experience and psychotherapeutic insight into this, often fraught area, with compassion, thoughtfulness and rigour. This subject is one of the crucial issues of our age and needs people of his calibre to help us through to a more healthy and equitable society. He is one of the few people who can bring political, societal and psychological insights together to help us better understand what will make the difference for change to happen.

Judy Ryde

author of White Privilege Unmasked: How to Be Part of the Solution.

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


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

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

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

How the mental construction “race” affects the inner life, the very bodies, of individuals is little recognised and less explored. The Race Conversation is a groundbreaking and timely study that brought me, a white English Buddhist, new awareness of my own inner experience and has already benefitted my participation in the “race conversation” through greater understanding of how the construction of race impacts on the psychic and somatic experience of People of Colour


Member of the Triratna Buddhist Order, President of the London Buddhist Centre



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