Dear Anti-Racist Therapists,
I see you. I see that your heart has been continually breaking for a while now. From the tender and terrible stories you hear from your clients and from what you see in the world today.
And I’d be the first to join you in a place of hopelessness about humankind. Sometimes it feels like people will never listen and things will never change.
But I actually learned from you that people can change. And they can get better.
When I ask you how it’s possible for you to do therapy with people who are sharing absolutely atrocious things that have happened to them, you tell me that witnessing your client’s resilience, their ability to overcome, their ability to heal – these are the exact things that give you hope in the world.
And I feel like things are changing. Our voices feel like they are being heard and it’s about time.
If I take the seat of an observer in my lifetime, I also will say that I do see a change from when I was one of the only mixed black kids in my school to today. I see more awareness, more conversations, and even legislation that simply didn’t exist back in the 80s. It’s not enough but perhaps change is possible.
This is absolutely nothing in comparison to murder but years ago I saw a black sesame street puppet singing about how they love their hair and cried. That’s what I had needed to see when I was a kid. I’m both sad I didn’t receive that but also in joy that kids these days grow up with these types of messages. Self-love and acceptance in the black and brown communities is part of the revolution.
Now only if we were allowed to exist.
Right now I’m in big grief about the ongoing murders of black and brown people by the institutions that ought to protect us and the people in our own communities that ought to respect our rights to live. Especially my black brothers and black, trans sisters.
It’s not ok. It never has been. I’m sad, angry, and scared.
With the current activation of activism, you might feel that you’re not doing enough.
But as an anti-racist therapist, you have an important job in this ongoing revolution. You hold vital space for those you help.
Being an anti-racist therapist is a type of activism too.
Change happens when people feel worthy
Change happens when people feel seen, heard, and understood
Change happens when people have space to process their racial trauma and gain the energy to fight
These are the things you can help with. Anti-racist mental health professionals like you have been showing up and holding space for social justice.
So I want you to know that you are doing that too. I see you out there, showing up for what’s right. Welcoming diversity into your practice. Making sure black people, indigenous people, and POC feel safe in your practice. Doing your own work to ensure you’re actively anti-racist in the way you support your clients or healing your own racial trauma so you can help others with theirs.
Unfortunately, this is an ongoing fight. It will take endurance. Rest is fuel so hit the pause button if you feel overwhelmed. Take a break from the news, social media, or racist people. Rest up, and then continue the work.
Let’s continue to vehemently support the dismantling of white supremacy. Let’s work to get equality and basic human rights for all. Keep doing the work. Stay informed. Stay educated. Keep raising your voice. Black lives matter.
In Solidarity and With Love,