This is where I want so badly to tell you how versed I am on matters of multiculturalism and social justice and how much you can count on me to never let you down in being a leader and champion in matters of diversity, equity, and inclusion. The truth is, I’m not and you can’t. Throughout my life I have enjoyed privilege far beyond that of most others, nearly all of it unearned. I have been able to enjoy this privilege without having to acknowledge it to others or to myself. I have so much left to learn about systemic barriers to change and about the lived experiences of others.
I aspire to empower all who I work with through the work that I do, including those in historically marginalized communities. I recognize the importance of cultural humility and of maintaining an openness to changing my own perspectives and beliefs, and remain committed to expanding my knowledge and understanding of individual and group differences through continued education, self-exploration, and through listening deeply to my clients’ life stories. While I seek to foster an environment that champions equity, justice, and inclusion, I am still learning and most certainly fall short more than I care to admit. What I do not yet understand about the lived experiences of members of marginalized communities and those holding underrepresented identities far outweighs what I do know, and I realize that merely being aware of this is not nearly enough.
- I am aware that systemic barriers exist that imperil the mental health of individuals and well-being of society itself even though I may not have faced these obstacles myself.
- I acknowledge that discrimination, prejudice, bias, oppression, privilege, marginalization, inequality, and injustice are real, are systemic and institutional, and are detrimental to mental health, to the pursuit of happiness, and to an enlightened society.
- I recognize that racism, sexism, classism, ageism, ableism, heterosexism, and sizeism are but some of the myriad ideologies that are detrimental to mental health, to the pursuit of happiness, and to an enlightened society. They are widespread, are harmful, and are inherent to the daily lived experiences of those whose voices too often go unheard.
- I understand that equality does not mean equity.
- I recognize that any endeavor (even finding a therapist who will truly see and hear you) is arduous for those holding underrepresented identities.
- I am aware that cultural competence requires a continued commitment to learning and an openness to admitting that I am wrong.
- I acknowledge that words matter, and I aspire to use language that is inclusive, respectful, and free of bias.
- I understand that I need to earn the right to hear your story.
Day by day, week by week, month by month, I will do better.