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.

Need help finding the right therapist?
Find Your Match

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. 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

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 for Being Human, Therapist in Los Angeles, CA
 

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 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,
 

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

All staff are people of color and participate in trainings aimed at enhancing our ability to practice from an anti-oppressive lens.

— NYC AFFIRMATIVE PSYCHOTHERAPY, Clinical Social Worker in , NY
 

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

Racism, patriarchy, able-ism, and other old tricks hurt, use, dis-empower, and silence human beings in the legacy of a "power-over." These tricks are in our language, religion, business, and other institutions. Even non-profits. Even families. Their subtle manifestations can hurt like the obvious ones, especially when they happen repeatedly. A "power-with" way of thinking supports equality, respect, and cooperation. I love to help people find support for power-with.

— Carlyle Stewart, Counselor in Asheville, NC
 

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

"Power-over" tricks like racism, patriarchy, and able-ism oppress, dis-empower, and silence human beings. These tricks are everywhere: in our language, religion, businesses, non-profits, even in families. Even in our own minds. Both the obvious and subtle manifestations cause harm, especially when they happen repeatedly. Together we can question oppressive assumptions, and replace "power-over" with "power-with" relationships of equality, respect, cooperation, and empowerment.

— Carlyle Stewart, Counselor in Asheville, NC
 

In my work I intentionally consider oppression impacting mental health. I utilize specific interventions to treat racial trauma to promote emotional regulation, increase assertive communication, and process generational harm.

— April Taylor, Associate Clinical Social Worker in Portland, OR

We work with BIPOC. We live in an indoctrinated society. Stigma runs rampant and most of us operate from a narrative and language that perpetuates, support and often complies with oppression and indoctrination. Is it a surprise we are suffering from trauma, depression, anxiety and the likes? If we can begin to unpack how society has victimized us we can begin to alter our stories around shame and self-blame towards a more holistic view of inner and societal healing.

— Moushumi Ghose, Licensed Marriage & Family Therapist in Los Angeles, CA
 

In my work I intentionally consider oppression, meaning systemic and structural forces impacting your mental health. My hope is to promote feelings of resiliency as clients navigate daily systems.

— April Taylor, Associate Clinical Social Worker in Portland, OR

Are you feeling the weight of oppression more acutely? Social media and globalization has connected us all, but has also exposed us to more vicarious trauma by witnessing the victimization of members of targeted groups, especially with the rise of nationalism, xenophobia, and the effects of capitalism, globally. We can work together together to sort though your thoughts and feelings, and decide what kinds of action you'd like to take (if any) to heal and honor your culture and yourself.

— Katy Shaffer, Psychologist in Baltimore, MD
 

As a first generation multicultural therapist creating a safe space for those that have been othered, marginalized, oppressed, and hold multigenerational trauma matters deeply to me. Since 2011 I have been working with and educating myself on DEI, multigenerational trauma and somatics, and have been working in large part with BIPOC/ the global majority. I am white passing, and welcome discussion about the impact of this; my intent is that a space is made for all of you, free of code switching.

— Pujita Latchman, Licensed Marriage & Family Therapist in Berkeley, CA

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
 

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

— XiaoRan(Alice) Zhao, Licensed Professional Clinical Counselor in , MD