Cultural and Systemic Oppression

The term cultural and systemic oppression refers to the mistreatment of people of a specific group that is supported and enforced by society and its institutions. It can be formal or implicit, and appears in many forms, including racism and sexism. Oppression of any kind, especially over an extended period of time, can deeply affect your mental health and your sense of self. Working with a therapist who is well-versed in these constructs can help you better recognize when they are influencing your life, and how to better manage that influence. Reach out to one of TherapyDen’s cultural and systemic oppression specialists today.

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Meet the specialists

 

Humans are brilliant learners, absorbing messages from our environments — families, society, culture. These external influences shape our identities based on creed, gender, colour, etc., which then shape our realities. To know who we are requires understanding these influences, and how it has shaped who we are. By doing so, we can tease out who we are at our “core,” from what we’ve been taught. Let’s sift through these layers to find your true self.

— I-Ching Grace Hung, Psychologist in San Francisco, CA

I am an HIV positive single mother of an adult child with a significant developmental disability - I have a deep understanding of systemic oppression and the impacts it can have on your well-being. In addition, I have a close relationship with poverty and have spent 16 years working with underserved and marginalized populations. Prior to entering private practice, I worked with individuals living in permanent supportive housing.

— Kelly Hill, Licensed Mental Health Counselor in Seattle, WA
 

I believe that being targeted for cultural and systemic oppression can create or amplify experiences of trauma, depression, and anxiety. I believe that intersectional oppression can amplify this more. My approach to therapy includes looking at a client's cultural identities and including these perspectives in addressing any presenting therapeutic concerns. It is important to me to listen to a client's experience of these identities, and provide empathy, support, and strategizing as needed.

— Caera Gramore, Mental Health Practitioner in Arlington, WA

Personal empowerment is inseparable from transformative sociopolitical change. This conviction infuses all that I do, including my psychotherapy approach. Since 2016, I have offered workshops and courses on Racism, Diversity, and Psychoanalysis. I also have years of experience as a grassroots environmental and social justice community organizer.

— Aleisa Myles, Psychologist in Media, PA
 

Facing daily sociocultural pressures can be incredibly painful. Regardless of what brought them to therapy, many of my patients have a social identity that has impacted their mental health in some way. My goal is to help you harness resources, both in your environment and within yourself, that can help you navigate persistent and oppressive social forces. No matter how you identify, my door is always open.

— Saira Malhotra, Therapist in Denver, CO

I am a liberation-based healer who practices at the intersection of oppression and trauma. I approach my work with the support of my ancestors, my longing (and willingness to work) for a decolonized world, my gift of reaching for that very real possibility of healing and breathing life into it. I have an intractable knowingness that our imagination, creativity and visionary souls guide us toward healing. That our bodies and hearts are strong enough to hold this.

— horizon greene, Licensed Clinical Social Worker in Seattle, WA
 

My theory of choice in graduate school was multi-cultural theory. Afterwards, I decided to continue immersing myself in issues related to culture/diversity and the impact issues such as oppression has on individuals overall mental health. Thus, this has also provided me with the understanding that individuals backgrounds/experiences influence the ways in which they view the world; and as a therapist I learned it is important to adapt and accommodate these views and perspectives.

— Wandaliz Marrero, Licensed Mental Health Counselor in Spring Hill, FL

Humans are brilliant learners, absorbing messages from our environments — families, society, culture — these external influences shape our identities based on creed, gender, colour, etc., which then shape our realities. Knowing who we are requires understanding these influences, and how it has influenced our lenses and behaviours. Only then, can we be empowered to feel in control of our lives.

— I-Ching Grace Hung, Psychologist in San Francisco, CA
 

Growing up in Mississippi exposed me to the harsh realities of oppression early on. These experiences position my current work in a way that centers racial terror and post traumatic stress syndrome. Combining both my artist and art therapist identities, I visually translate archival data as it relates to elements of oppressive systems. Using visual representations, I foster dialogue about the health inequities as a result of heightened stress factors that impact our quality of life.

— April Fitzpatrick, Art Therapist

Humans are brilliant learners, absorbing messages from our environments — families, society, culture — these external influences shape our identities based on creed, gender, colour, etc., which then shape our realities. Knowing who we are requires understanding these influences and how it has influenced our lenses and behaviours. Only with this deeper insight, can we feel empowered to regain control of our lives.

— I-Ching Grace Hung, Psychologist in San Francisco, CA
 

Our approach brings in consideration of our clients’ cultures and unpacks societal factors and forces of systemic oppression. We use a values-forward style that curiously explores your environment and context, and considers how issues of social justice and (in)equity may be contributing to your distress.

— Kindman & Co. Therapy Practice, Therapist in Los Angeles, CA

My practice is comprised exclusively of BIPOC adults. Given this, much of the healing work we do together takes a "person in environment" approach where we are not only discussing their individual lives but also inviting considerations of how the identities they hold are impacted by the larger social-cultural context. We also bring in considerations of how intergenerational trauma is impacted through cultural and systemic oppression.

— Blessing Uchendu, Clinical Social Worker
 

My dissertation investigated body image across diverse populations including WOC. In particular I am interested in how WOC use their bodies as a commodity in order to compensate for systemic-level oppression and white-cis-heteronormative dynamics. Clinically, I work from a holistic, relational, empowerment focused and intersectional feminist perspective. I recognize that areas of oppression are linked and cumulative. I strive to use my privileges to help others create clarity and

— Olivia Carollo, Clinical Psychologist in Chicago, IL

Living in this world can take a toll on your sense of self, your self love, and your self-esteem. In our work together, I seek to understand the forms of oppression that have impacted you most so that we can start to unlearn the harmful systemic messaging that has taken away some of your sense of self-wonder and (re)introduce you to your own majesty.

— Sam Krehel, Mental Health Counselor in , WA
 

Facing daily sociocultural pressures can be incredibly painful. Regardless of what brought them to therapy, many of my patients have a social identity that has impacted their mental health in some way. My goal is to help you harness resources, both in your environment and within yourself, that can help you navigate persistent and oppressive social forces. No matter how you identify, my door is always open.

— Saira Malhotra, Therapist in Denver, CO

Clinically, I work from a holistic, relational, empowerment focused and intersectional feminist perspective. I recognize that areas of oppression are linked and cumulative. In response, I work to help clients navigate these complex dynamics and improve their quality of life. As a cis-white, able-bodied female, it is my job to do the background work and create a space where clients can explore, learn and understand themselves better. You are the expert of your life.

— Olivia Carollo, Clinical Psychologist in Chicago, IL
 

Systemic oppression can be damaging to your life, mental health and impact your sense of self. As a Black therapist, I understand the damage that this can cause and I also understand that there are times when western psychology practice is not always sufficient in addressing the mental health concerns of the historically oppressed and marginalized.

— Chioko Grevious, Associate Marriage & Family Therapist in Sacramento, CA