Defense Date


Graduation Date

Fall 12-17-2021


Immediate Access

Submission Type


Degree Name





McAnulty College and Graduate School of Liberal Arts

Committee Chair

Elizabeth Fein

Committee Member

Derek Hook

Committee Member

Leswin Laubscher

Committee Member

Kathleen Blee


exit, supremacism, prejudice, discrimination, social dominance orientation, authoritarianism, structural change, intervention


Aims. Though psychologists are generally well-positioned to implement micro- and macro-level interventions from their roles as clinicians, educators, researchers, and consultants, there is a paucity of formal guidance on how to approach client-generated or structural prejudice and discrimination. The current study addresses this literature gap by integrating previous literature and implementation models from a related field toward a novel treatment approach.

Background. A critical literature review supported intervention-focused conceptualizations of “supremacism” and demonstrated that mutually reinforcing micro- and macro-level discrimination generates demographic disparities in safety, liberty, and well-being. This typically emerges in the United States as White supremacist heteropatriarchy while distinct discrimination hierarchies also appeared in every nation-state and in pre-history. Syndromal patterns of personality difficulty, cognitive distortion, emotional disturbance, and behavioral aggression consistently constituted individual expressions.

Methods. This project employed multi-sited ethnography, situated grounded theory, and critical analysis. Field study included interviews with “exit work” practitioners (N=11) from four countries who staffed “violent far-right extremist” and organized crime counter-recruitment programs. Approximately 75% were former neo-Nazis or White supremacists; approximately 36% had advanced mental health care degrees.

Results. This study articulated exit work examples which address severe supremacist ideological presentations through assessment protocols, case formulations, and intervention approaches. Exit organizations developed these strategies since the 1990s and report positive intervention outcomes.

Conclusions. Exit interventions were closely related to existing psychological interventions. The project concludes by integrating exit workers’ collective experiences with the existing intervention literature. This “exit-informed approach” introduces interventions for micro- and macro-level supremacism in an actionable format.



Included in

Psychology Commons