In the midst of nationwide protests against racial injustice, many white therapists are wondering what they can do to contribute to the healing process of racial trauma, both in and outside of the therapy room. How can they go beyond being a passive ally, to being an active force for change the world?
This clip from our series of discussion panels with clinicians of color from a range of therapeutic specialties explores the proactive steps that white therapists can take to move into action.
As our panelists note, therapists are among those who can make a big impact in calling out racism, healing racial trauma, and dismantling systemic inequality. Have self-compassion for yourself, explains therapist Deran Young. This soul-searching will allow you to have compassion for others, including the Black clients who show up in your office.
Keep the current momentum toward change going, says therapist Lambers Fisher. Even if you’re not standing at the front of a protest line, you can kindle the spark for a client who’s interested in getting involved in community activism, and reinforce the importance of remaining vocal about racism and systemic inequality.
Last, says therapist Amber Flynn, white therapists should have conversations with other white therapists about their own biases and past interactions with clients of color. They need to think deeply, she says, about what they might have done differently and envision what it would look like for them to actively engage in anti-racist work in the consulting room.
Lambers Fisher, MS, LMFT, MDIV, is a marriage and family therapist who has counseled individuals, couples, and families from a variety of cultural backgrounds, in private practice, non-profit organization, as well as ministry environments. He has a strong desire to help counseling professionals in various fields feel more comfortable, competent and confident in their ability to meet the needs of whomever they have the opportunity to serve. Lambers’ training experience includes facilitating workshops, guest lecturing, as well as being an adjunct instructor at Crown College on various aspects of diversity in counseling. Lambers supervises aspiring therapists as a board-approved supervisor for the Minnesota Board of Marriage & Family Therapists as well as the Minnesota Board of Behavioral Health.
Deran Young, LCSW, is the Founder of Black Therapists Rock, an organization that includes over 20,000 professionals committed to reducing intergenerational trauma in marginalized communities.
Amber Flynn, MA, LCPC, NCC, is in private practice and specializes in race-based trauma, behavior analysis, and Internal Family Systems.
Zach Taylor, MA, LPC, is the Director of Psychotherapy Networker. He oversees the award-winning magazine—frequently interviewing the field’s top experts—and stepped up to be among the hosts of the annual Psychotherapy Networker Symposium, which is the largest and longest running annual gathering of psychotherapists in the world. In addition, he manages CE trainings and programs for PESI, Inc., Networker’s parent company. Prior to joining Psychotherapy Networker, he spent 10 years in practice specializing in anxiety and panic disorders. His mission is to support psychotherapy professionals and develop future trainers and trainings to improve outcomes for their clients. He currently lives in Eau Claire, WI.