As a White psychologist, incorporating racial justice into my work with people who come in for therapy or assessment is tremendously important. The pain, loss, and trauma experienced by Black, Indigenous, and People of Color because of white supremacy has historically been ignored, devalued, or pathologized by American society and throughout the world. Psychology as an institution is no different, with a century and a half of research done by White psychologists on White patients and later White college students to be applied in therapy for White people.
My worldview has been shaped by my experiences as a White able-bodied person of Irish-German ancestry who was assigned female at birth in 1979, but turned out to be a queer transmasculine nonbinary person after my egg really cracked. In my therapy work with people, I pay careful attention to how these aspects of myself show up in the room. I have taken anti-racism trainings; sought out content through podcasts, documentaries, and books about Black American history and becoming an anti-racist; and sought out consultation about my White privilege so that I can do better as a person and a psychologist. I strive to be mindful and aware of how the privileged and oppressed aspects of myself interact with those of my clients.
As a White mental health provider, it’s important for me to offer this statement so that you know I acknowledge the pain and suffering experienced by BIPOC people throughout time and present day. So that you know my office is a safe space, an anti-racist space. I am deeply sorry, outraged, and sickened by the brutalities, injustices, and dehumanizing things that have happened at the hands of my ancestors and fellow White people. I want you to know that I acknowledge the injustices and disparities, including the disproportionate impact of COVID-19, economic, housing and healthcare inequities, police brutality, racialized violence, and the dehumanization of BIPOC lives. My white skin has afforded me all sorts of advantages and resources accumulated from generations of unacknowledged and unearned privilege. It gave me a different starting point in life and positioned me so that becoming a psychologist was more attainable; I didn’t have to combat daily racism, inequities, microaggressions, and violence like my BIPOC peers did.
I am committed to doing the work of anti-racism for myself, my clients, and my community. In our work together, I invite you to let me know when I misunderstand, get it wrong, and/or unknowingly put my values upon you. Let me know when I am insensitive, use the wrong word, or miss the deeper implications of a statement I make.
Thank you for reading!