I invite clients to discuss current troubling societal and systemic issues such as race and racism. Many clients come to therapy wondering if this is the right setting to discuss these experiences as our therapy modalities have been circumscribed to only deal with traditional clinical symptoms of depression and anxiety. Psychotherapists barely explore or express curiosity around these experiences. They forget the issue of race and racism impacts minority groups the hardest with devastating clinical implications to their sense of self and relationship to others. Clients struggle to find the right words to describe their inner experiences and trauma as a result of experiencing racism. Clients who do not identify as a minority also struggle with acknowledging their responsibility in a society that is build to benefit them. I stand between these two experiences in my sessions with the utmost respect and sensitivity for my clients experiences with race and racism as we build our therapeutic relationship.
I have great appreciation for those who have immigrated or have a family history of immigration. There are several pieces in the puzzle in order to understand our experience and, in many instances, clients experience with their own immigration history provides that piece of understanding. From the hardship to adapting to a new country and culture to the way we identify with our parents' immigration story, the therapeutic space offers an opportunity to tell our story as it is without judgement or censure. There is so much pressure for immigrants to leave a part of themselves behind with the promise to succeed in a new culture if they do so. It is my hope my presence is one of acceptance for all the parts that constitute who you are including the one you or your parents brought with them.