Anti Oppression Therapy
By now, you may have noticed terms like systemic and structural racism, racial gaslighting and microaggression, anti-racism, and anti-oppression entering into our daily lexicon. For some, these terms are not new and the impact is especially not foreign to members of the Black community and other groups that are underrepresented.
At Inner Coach Counseling, LLC, we aim to work from an Anti-Oppression lens.
So what is anti-oppression?
The roots of anti-oppression practice can be traced to various social movements, including feminist, civil rights, and anti-colonial movements, which gained momentum in the mid-20th century. Anti-oppression is an approach within social work and related fields that aims to identify, challenge, and dismantle systemic forms of oppression and discrimination. It emphasizes promoting social justice, equality, and human rights. This approach recognizes the intersectionality of identities and strives to address power imbalances within institutions and society.
Why choose a therapist who works from an anti-oppressive lens?
Having an anti-oppression psychotherapist can offer several benefits for individuals seeking mental health support, including the following:
Cultural Humility, Sensitivity & Attunement
Anti-oppression psychotherapists are trained to understand and respect diverse cultural backgrounds. This cultural attunement allows them to consider the impact of societal and systemic factors on an individual's mental health.
Anti-oppressive therapists recognize and address the intersectionality of identities, acknowledging that individuals may face multiple forms of oppression simultaneously. This ensures a more nuanced and comprehensive understanding of a person's experiences.
Anti-oppression therapists work to create a safe and non-judgmental space, reducing the stigma associated with seeking mental health support. This can be particularly important for individuals who may feel marginalized or stigmatized in other aspects of their lives.
The therapeutic process with an anti-oppression therapist often includes a focus on empowerment. Clients are encouraged to explore and challenge societal structures contributing to their distress, fostering a sense of agency and self-advocacy.
An anti-oppressive therapist can critically examine power dynamics in relationships and systems (including the therapeutic relationship). They work to empower clients and communities, promoting their active involvement in decision-making processes and advocating for their rights.
Anti-oppression therapists are likely to incorporate trauma-informed practices into their approach, recognizing the impact of historic trauma, systemic trauma, and transgenerational trauma by working to create a therapeutic environment that promotes safety and healing.
Social Justice Advocacy
Therapists who operate through the lens of anti-oppression may engage in advocacy and support clients in navigating systems of oppression. This could involve assisting with issues related to discrimination, accessing resources, or navigating challenging societal structures.
Collaborative Exploration of Social Identity
The therapist may work collaboratively with clients to explore the impact of social identity on mental health. This exploration can foster self-awareness and resilience in the face of societal challenges.
Promotion of Social Connection
Recognizing the importance of community and social support, anti-oppression therapists may incorporate strategies to help clients build or strengthen connections with supportive communities.
Personalized and Inclusive Approach
Anti-oppression therapists often tailor their therapeutic approach to meet the unique needs of each individual, recognizing that a one-size-fits-all approach may not be appropriate given the diversity of human experiences.
By choosing an anti-oppression psychotherapist, individuals may benefit from a therapeutic relationship that not only addresses personal struggles but also considers and validates the broader societal context in which those struggles occur. This can contribute to a more holistic and empowering mental health experience.
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