Anti-Racism Resources for Therapists- Part 2: Investing in Your Clinical Insight
When it comes to integrating your values, the first and most important step is deepening your self-awareness.
But too often, we stop there.
It is vital when you’re building (and maintaining) a depth-oriented practice to invest in your clinical insight, especially in places where you are predisposed to have blind spots.
I’ve found that for a lot of therapists there is a tendency to either invest in a lot of consultation, both in individual and in peer groups OR to do a lot of reading and training.
I think that both are necessary, though it definitely can take time to find a balance of the two.
Below you’ll find some of my favorite resources that I’ve used (or I’m planning on using) to invest in my own clinical insight.
Invest in Your Clinical Insight By Reading…
1. The Racial Complex: A Jungian Perspective on Culture and Race by Fanny Brewster.
I heard Dr. Brewster on one of my favorite podcasts (This Jungian Life) just before the pandemic started, and immediately ordered and dove into this book.
It illuminated how I saw and conceptualized much of what happened during the amplification of the Civil Rights Movement of 2020.
Even if you don’t resonate with Jungian theory, Dr. Brewster’s exploration of transference and countertransference is worth the price of the book alone.
2. The Multicultural Imagination: “Race”, Color, and the Unconscious by Michael Vannoy Adams.
Often when I read books written for the mass market (and frankly, some of the clinical books) around race and how to work to understand and check your privilege, I’m left wanting more depth.
What I really like about Dr. Adams’ book is that he makes room to go deeper into my unconscious, and by expansion, my clients’ unconscious in how we engage with race and color.
3. Cultural Trauma: Slavery and the Formation of African American Identity by Ron Eyerman.
For those of us who pay a lot of attention to the personal historical roots of trauma in the clients we work with, Dr. Eyerman’s sociological analysis is immensely helpful in understanding the various macro-components of the trauma of slavery and how it continues to impact Black men and women.
4. Black Rage by William Grier, MD and Price M. Cobbs, MD
It feels strange to say, but this is one of my favorites on the list. It’s raw and the authors are incredibly generous in their honesty.
I’m still reflecting on their comment:
“White clinicians may unconsciously withdraw from an intimate knowledge of a black man’s life because placing themselves in the position of the patient, even mentally, is too painful.” (p. 156).
I do my best to ask myself when I sit with clients whether I’m seeking to soothe their pain or my own discomfort. It inspires me to really look and watch the trauma that plays out in our world every day, even when it feels excruciating.
5. My Grandmother’s Hands: Racialized Trauma and the Pathway to Mending Our Hearts and Bodies by Resmaa Menakem, LICSW
There’s so much good stuff in this book! I especially appreciated his emphasis on the somatic experience, as well as how he wove the present tense within the historical roots.
This is a book I’ve recommended to a number of my clients, specifically those who have already done some anti-racism work and who have responded positively to my challenge to go deeper and explore it as part of their therapy journey.
(And I’m hoping to be able to take his training Foundations of Somatic Abolitionism later in 2021).
6. Your Body is Not an Apology and the Workbook by Sonya Renee Taylor
Exploring how and what we feel about our body is vital to how I engage with clients (an influence of my therapist and personal therapy on how I practice).
I love Ms. Taylor’s concept of self-love (I often feel itchy around ‘self-care’ as a phrase, and even a construct), and how she illustrates how radically loving yourself is a profound act of resistance in a world intent on shaming you.
I also like that it’s not explicitly about race, but definitely does a lot of consciousness building. It’s something I have recommended to a number of clients.
7. The Racial Healing Handbook by Anneliese A. Singh
I’ve used this book less as a resource to give out worksheets (or to work through step-by-step with clients), and more as a guidance of the kinds of questions and themes to explore with clients as I do more in-depth racial awareness-building with them.
I’ve used it primarily with my White clients, as a way to encourage them to raise their awareness around matters of race.
My clients who are Black, Asian, and Indian, have more awareness already, and often the conversation begins in a different place.
Invest By Taking a Course…
1. Decolonizing Therapy for Black Folk
I’m really excited to take this course when it opens back up again. I heard Ms. Murray-Browne on Allison Puryear’s Abundance Practice Podcast recently and resonated with so much of what she had to say.
I’m particularly excited about the module on Decolonizing Concepts of Gender and Justice in Healing, and getting to dig more into the colonial foundation of the mental health sector in the US, as well as–well, the entire course.
2. Tending to Racial Trauma During Crisis
This course (that offers CEUs for some), integrates a lot of what we’ve been talking about thus far, focuses on describing the basic tenants of the Racial Trauma-Informed Therapeutic model, and places particular emphasis on how racial-based attacks have been experienced by Asian Communities and Communities of Color during COVID.
Full disclosure, this is one of my planned CEUs for 2021. (I’ll update this guide once I complete it!)
3. Dear White Therapists
A “racial/cultural competence training for mental health providers. A learning space to listen and to form questions about becoming an anti-racist therapist.”
I’ve had a number of friends/colleagues go through Dr. Alvarez’s training and rave about it. I don’t think you can go wrong investing in it.
Invest By Listening…
1. Code Switch
One of my favorite podcasts (though I’ve slacked in my podcast listening since giving up my commute). Some of my must-listen episodes include:
- A Shot in the Dark
- What’s In a ‘Karen’?
- Hip-Hop, Mass Incarceration and a Conspiracy Theory for the Ages.
2. Therapy for Black Girls with Dr. Joy
A podcast I routinely recommend to my younger female clients. I especially dig her ‘On the Couch with…’ episodes where she analyzes movies and TV shows. Some of my favorite episodes include:
- Session 166: Black Girls in Gaming
- Session 172: Plant Parenthood is More Than a Trend
- ALL of her Deep Dives on Queen Sugar
3. Truth be Told hosted by Tonya Mosley
Tonya asks such good questions and has such good guests. Some of my favorite episodes include:
4. Brené Brown’s Unlocking Us
Brené has excellent taste in guests. Some of my favorite guests this past year or so have included:
- Emmanuel Acho On Uncomfortable Conversations with a Black Man
- Sonya Renee Taylor On the Body is Not an Apology
- Tarana Burke On Being Heard and Seen
Investing in Your Clinical Insight: A Note
One of the things I’ve noticed is that in general and as a society, when there is a problem, we take “the easy way out” and throw money at the problem.
In my previous post, I touched on voting with your dollars and investing your money in organizations locally/nationally/globally that are promoting anti-racism, that need exposure, that are doing work in politics and in communities outside of and within our own communities, as well.
But choosing to only invest money does not do the internal work necessary to shift and change an entire system built to keep the “golden child” on a pedestal at the expense of everyone else.
So while I actively encourage investing money in anti-racism organizations, I also actively encourage doing the internal work.
So that the action matches the mind.
Read the next post: a short guide on integrating your values within your business.
Additional anti-racism posts in this series:
- An Open Letter: Anti-Racism Resources for Therapists
- Part 1: Deepen Your Self-Awareness
- Part 3: Integrating Your Values Within Your Business
And if there are any resources you’d like to suggest, please email them to jenn (at) athinkersguide (dot) com.