As a mental health counselor and yoga therapist, my intention is to create an inclusive space where clients feel seen and safe. Of course, as we now know, intention doesn’t necessarily translate into right action. In graduate school we were encouraged to treat all clients equally, mitigate power differential, and be aware of multicultural considerations. But just a couple grad school classes isn’t enough to cover the amount of work and insight needed to unpack our own biases and baggage. The journey towards allyship and support of marginalized populations, particularly BIPOC and LGBTQ+, is an ongoing process. Throughout this process I have made many mistakes and continue to learn.

In both my counseling and yoga therapy practice, I have worked with diverse clientele. Mental health diagnoses don’t discriminate, for example: Trans and Latinx persons impacted by eating disorders, Black women and Lesbians experience Perinatal Mood and Anxiety Disorders. The list goes on in regards to the intersection of marginalized identities, but ultimately the message offered is “you are welcome here, just as you are. You decide what your goals for therapy are, and we will work together to help you move toward those goals.” I see you, and will acknowledge and incorporate these essential aspects of your identity in our healing work together.

As a cis-gender white woman, I am committed to the ongoing investigation of my own privilege, and to using that privilege to support and create a more equal and just world. I have worked with and continue to consult with teachers of social justice in order to stay accountable for this work (and pay them for their teachings!!). It’s not perfect by any stretch of the imagination, and I invite clients to offer feedback should I misstep. Additionally, I acknowledge that yoga is not of my lineage as a white person, and I will do my best to honor the Indian culture from which Yoga originated.

Below are the teachers I’ve studied with and/or follow regarding dismantling racism and becoming an ally:

Yoga, Wellness & Social Justice

Skill in Action by Michelle Cassandra Johnson @skillinaction
Stephanie Barrios-Cullins/Yoga Gives @yoga_gives
Nicole Cardoza @nicolecardoza

BIPOC Allyship

Dr. Barbara Shabazz @dr.bshabazz
Dr. Tracy Baxley @socialjusticeparenting

LGBTQ+ Allyship

Gender and Family Project @genderandfamilyproject
Human Rights Campaign @humanrightscampaign
Garden State Equality @gsequality

There are many people offering amazing work in this field, this is a very small list and it’s important to find teachers and resources that resonate with you. I am a student of this work (not a teacher) but welcome any questions you may have regarding the discomfort of becoming anti-racist. We must get comfortable being uncomfortable in order to create a safer, more inclusive world for all humans.

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