Archive for the ‘People of Color’ Category

Sojourner’s Truth

March 20th, 2015

build your confidenceI’m not man enough, says one trans male client. I question my masculinity, says another cis male client. Am I as much of a woman as a cis woman?, asks a trans female client. Why doesn’t my life matter?, asks an African American cis male client. Questions like these pop up with much regularity in my work. People questioning their authenticity because cultural “norms” and life experiences make them feel out of place, invalidated, and just plain crappy about themselves.

Read the rest of this page »

The Power of Speaking Up

January 8th, 2015

expressing angerWhat do you do when you hear racist, transphobic, sexist or otherwise offensive comments? What does it feel like when you don’t speak up? Do you justify your actions and then feel uncomfortable with that justification? Do you fear coming off as rude or socially unacceptable.  Do you fear offending the person who has offended you…or making others uncomfortable.

Read the rest of this page »

Racism and Self-Image

April 13th, 2011

What happens when you grow up in a society saying you’re less-than for being black?  Or that you must be meek if culturally competent therapistyour Asian?  Most likely, you reject these sterotypes and be yourself.  There are many prejudiced stereotypes you know aren’t true for you.  However, from what I know from my work with People of Color, these harmful messages can sometimes linger, distorting the way you think about yourself.

Read the rest of this page »

Internalized Racism

June 14th, 2010

anti-racist therapistIn The Noonday Demon - Andrew Solomon’s book on depression – internalized racism is defined as self-doubt predicated on dominant social attitudes (pg. 196, Scribner, 2001).  In other words, the oppressive social attitude of white society that People of Color are less-than can manifest in a Person of Color as a lack of self-confidence.

Read the rest of this page »

The Trauma of Oppression

December 29th, 2009

oppression and therapyBeing a Person of Color or a member of any marginalized group in America has it’s challenges.  You already know that.  You don’t need a therapist to tell you about how -isms affect you and your life.  What I would like to tell you about, however, is how therapy can help relieve trauma-based symptoms which are caused by social conditions, like racism, sexism, and the like.

Read the rest of this page »

Walking with the Dawn

April 1st, 2009

Being walkers with the dawn and morning,
Walkers with the sun and morning,
We are not afraid of night,
Nor days of gloom,
Nor darkness–
Being walkers with the sun and morning.

- Langston Hughes

Read the rest of this page »

Practicing Forgiveness…

March 17th, 2009

Forgiveness is a tough concept.  Especially if you’ve been abused, neglected or molested.  It’s hard to even think about forgiveness if you’ve been mistreated by lovers, bosses, so-called friends, or even society (especially if you’re a Person of Color or LGBT).  How can you forgive someone who hurt you so badly?

Read the rest of this page »

Overcoming Marginalized Experiences

December 21st, 2008

Almost any day, when I read the newspaper, I am confronted with the ways social forces try to marginalize minority folks, their experiences, and opinions.  Women, People of Color, Lesbian/Gay/Bisexual folks, and Transgender people are often told to quit complaining.  “You’re taking things too seriously.”  “It’s not as bad as you make it out to be.”  “You’re ridiculous.”  All of these messages, from my point of view, are the greater culture’s effort to maintain status quo and keep others from living their lives the way it was meant to be.

Read the rest of this page »

Stressed-Out Teens

December 3rd, 2008

Just like adults, stress can have very negative impacts on an adolescent’s mental and emotional health.  Anxiousness, withdrawal, agitation, depression, and the behaviors teens turn to to cope with these feelings are all possible responses.  Teens who aren’t successfully coping can turn to drugs, unsafe sex, anger, and other dangerous behaviors.  When faced with such situations, parents often times feel fearful, irritated, and hopeless. 

Read the rest of this page »

Race Relations in the Therapy Room

November 19th, 2008

I am sitting across from a new client – a person of another race.  I make a statement like “Often times, the fact of our different races can influence the process and outcome of our work together.  I’m going to do my best to pay attention to this.  I’d also encourage you to speak up if you think our cultural differences are getting in the way of our work.”  The client looks at me with a smile, pulls out her/his wallet, and shows me a picture of her/his child – clearly a biracial kid.

Read the rest of this page »