social justice, activism, and therapy
Social justice and anti-oppression values deeply inform my therapy work. It seems obvious to me that everyone’s mental health is affected by living in a society which gives power, resources, and validation to some and denies or strips them from others. It’s part of my job to understand and affirm the effect oppression has on the mental health of my clients, including how it can show up in the therapy relationship itself.
This is especially true when I work with clients who have different marginalized identities than mine. As a white therapist in a multi-racial, multi-ethnic community like Oakland, I hold a position of relative power and privilege that is always there regardless of my other identities. I approach all cross-cultural client relationships from a place of cultural humility; a dynamic, self reflective, and life long commitment to intersectional understanding that starts from the inside out.
Social justice-informed trauma therapy gives me opportunities to support and advocate for marginalized people directly. But even for clients who don’t identify that way, these issues affect all of us. Understanding one’s relationship to them helps us all move closer to an authentic, healing connection with ourselves and the world around us.
Therapy work is social justice work.