This is where I want so badly to tell you how versed I am on matters of multiculturalism and how much you can count on me to never let you down in being a leader and champion in matters of diversity and social justice. 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 live and work from within a highly privileged vantage point. I have so much left to learn about systemic barriers to change and about the lived experiences of others, and about the full impact – good and bad – of my views, choices, and behaviors.
I aspire to empower all who I work with through the work that I do, including those in historically marginalized communities, and to provide a space that is safe and welcoming to all. 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 the 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 when a nation, society, or community is founded on discrimination, discrimination becomes part of its DNA, even when blatant or otherwise overt acts of discrimination are tempered.
- 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 care about the impact of the words I use, 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.
- I welcome questions and feedback about my background.
Day by day, week by week, month by month, I will do better.
My office is located along Phillippi Creek in Sarasota, FL. This land occupies the traditional, ancestral, and unceded homelands of the Calusa, Mascogo, Miccosukee, and Seminole people who cared for the land and this waterway for countless generations before being dispossessed of and forcibly removed from their homelands. This history cannot be forgotten or re-written. I recognize the sovereignty, traditions, history, and land rights of these indigenous inhabitants, and acknowledge the connection and relationship that endures between these peoples and this land today and always. To learn about the native and traditional indigenous inhabitants of the land where you are, visit https://native-land.ca/