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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Our identities shape our sense of self and well-being, inform how we move through the world, and are essential threads to be explored in the therapeutic journey. I see my work as holding the threads that make you who you are as you weave. I support clients to develop loving-kindness for themselves, connect with rest, let go of internalized oppression, and define advocacy for themselves

— Sophia Koinis, Licensed Professional Counselor Candidate in Longmont, CO

Identifying as part of the global majority in a system that was created to marginalize and oppress people of color is challenging, to say the least. Though dismantling the system is a goal, taking care of your individual self is vital. The conversation around systemic oppression often uses active language like "fight", but when it comes to you, I wonder if we can incorporate more rest. Part of what is stolen (among labor and time) is rest and the energy to take care of yourself.

— Sidrah Khan, Licensed Professional Counselor in Austin, TX

As intersectional beings, intersecting systems of oppressions influence our experience incessantly. With the ever expanding technological and historic globalization, the oppression we face daily may even feel overwhelmingly debilitating. It's no wonder that many of us are experiencing burnout, insecurities, and overall disconnection in relationships. My approach to therapy values your insectional experience and how these systems influence your life, so that you can heal and engage differently.

— Dr. Jean-Arellia Tolentino, Clinical Psychologist in oakland, CA

The historical system of oppression (white supremacy) that our society operates under impacts all of us regardless of race, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, socioeconomic status, ability, body size, etc. Our seek therapists seek to understand dynamics of power, privilege, and oppression that have shaped our clients identities and lived experiences & work towards helping you heal the wounds from racial stress and racial trauma (microaggressions, racism, violence, & discrimination).

— Aguirre Center for Inclusive Psychotherapy, Psychologist in Atlanta, GA

Similar to my work with neurodivergent individuals, my work is centered on identifying the ways in which oppressive symptoms creep into our sense of self, relationships, careers, and so much more. I work with clients to explore resistance in the form of unlearning internalized biases, exploring their intersectional identities, and developing self care practices rooted in anti-oppressive values.

— Beth Thomas, Counselor in Atlanta, GA

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. Let’s sift through these layers to find your true self.

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

I am a therapist of color, Indian-American background, and often work with people due to stress from systemic and cultural oppression. I have some training in issues of historical and racial trauma as well as suffering from poor healthcare outcomes due to our racial backgrounds and gender.

— Sujata Ghate, Mental Health Counselor in Indianapolis, IN

I have received training on supporting clients who are impacted by racism. I also have lived experience navigating and healing despite living within cultural and systemic oppression.

— Jacqueline Casumbal, Psychotherapist in Gaithersburg, MD

I actively stand against systemic oppression in my work and my life. As a cisgender, white person with class privilege this is an ongoing commitment and effort, and one that happens outside of the therapy room (in my own therapy and through my relationships, supports and ongoing training). All that said - I still screw up all the time, and listen and take accountable, relationally-driven action when people tell me so.

— Anna Stern, Therapist in Saint Paul, MN

I am so happy that we are finally naming the issue instead of silencing, erasing, gaslighting, pathologizing or criminalizing those who are at the effect of it. The ways in which the violence manifests in people's lives can take many forms. And the symptoms can resemble other issues. But if we cannot differentiate cause from response, we will not be able to effectively engage or heal.

— Lisa Ndejuru, Psychotherapist in Montreal,

Being a South Asian child of immigrant parents, I embrace my identity and find it a source of connection with clients from diverse racial backgrounds. However, while significant in its own right, this relatedness is solely a gateway to cultural humility, recognizing that each racialized experience is unique and intersectional. I employ motivational and ethnographic interviewing techniques to prevent assumptions or projections from overshadowing a client’s genuine needs.

— Monesha Chari, Psychotherapist in New York, NY

Caring for myself is not self-indulgence, it is self-preservation, and that is an act of political warfare. — Audre Lorde My training and career has always focused on serving marginalized and minoritized communities. I think of engaging in culturally-conscious therapy--to do the work of uncovering and understanding your roots in order to build a resilient and values-aligned life--as a form of radical resistance to oppressive systems.

— Shin Ock, Psychologist in North Bethesda, MD

I utilize a Treating Internalized Oppression (IO) framework as a foundation for all of my work with clients. This framework helps me to collaborate with my clients to hone in on how their interior world has been shaped by the identities they inhabit and the oppressions/traumas lived through in their lives, past and present. The goal of using the IO framework is to increase self-awareness toward liberation by identifying and metabolizing internalized messages that limit thriving.

— Jen Davis, Associate Marriage & Family Therapist in Seattle, WA

Oppression can be covert or overt, but it is always unjust. Understanding how external factors, whether it be from legislative policies or society's perception, affect our lives makes it easier for us to learn how to navigate and break down these barriers. We must also mourn the ways in which our lives have been shaped due to oppression.

— Ashley Lesovoy, Clinical Social Worker

Cultural and Systemic Oppression related to Race, Sexuality, and alternative lifestyles

— Carla Edwards-Burke, Psychologist in Kansas City, MO

Learning is endless. One must be political to have a world free of cultural and systemic oppression. I became open to organizing work straight out of grad school, where I worked with mothers in a head start center. I continued my learning after leaving the organizing world and engaged with others on social media, growing my knowledge and praxis in liberation work. In my approach, I facilitate and co-learn and co-create with clients. You are the expert of your own lived experiences and story.

— Yasmin Jordan, Licensed Master of Social Work in New York, NY

I have expertise in assisting individuals who have experienced displacement and endured cultural or systemic oppression. My professional focus revolves around aiding them in the processing of trauma while fostering self-acceptance of their identities and facilitating the healing process.

— Victoriya Slavich, Psychiatric Nurse Practitioner in New York, NY

As an adolescent and adult, I observed the violence that is inflicted upon marginalized bodies when spiritual leaders attempt to act outside of the scope of their training and provide counsel to people with needs beyond their grasp. I saw how their limited understanding as well as their internalized white supremacy hurt multiple generations of families. As an active participant in my own healing, I have devoted my life to helping others reclaim their own power, and fight for their healing.

— Julius Peterson, Clinical Social Worker in Decatur, GA

Being an immigrant and minority in a foreign country, I personally experienced more systemic oppression. I related with clients who also experience in oppression

— Safe Space Counseling Services LLC, Licensed Professional Clinical Counselor in , MD

Research shows that the impacts of discrimination and marginalization can manifest in both mental and physical health. I strive to take into account factors related to culture, context, privilege and marginalization, as we explore therapeutic concerns.

— Dr. Luana Bessa, Psychologist in Boston, MA