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

 

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

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
 

"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

The assumptions of Western psychology focus primarily on factors within the individual. However, for many individuals, the source of their suffering emerges from oppressive forces within their social environment. Therapy needs to be able to offer alternatives to adjusting to or coping with oppressive forces. I utilize liberatory strategies to empower clients experiencing marginalization, alienation, and other forms of oppression.

— Louis Hoffman, Psychologist in Colorado Springs, CO
 

I consider myself a strong activist and work hard to understand how issues of oppression impact the problems presented in therapy. I understand how racism, sexism, homophobia, transphobia, and any form of bigotry both on an institutional level and personal level, create huge amounts of stress in different populations. I taught for over a decade in a masters level course around understanding issues of oppression and internal biases and how they impact therapy.

— Deann Acton, Licensed Marriage & Family Therapist in Austin, TX

I practice liberation counseling from an anti-oppressive lens and focus on how oppression impacts relationships, health (physical, mental, spiritual), work, and all other life domains.

— Cathy Harrington, Licensed Clinical Mental Health Counselor in Everett, WA
 

All of my practices are shaped by being anti-oppressive (to reduce harm), liberatory (to find ways of healing and thriving), and de-colonial (challenging the harmful impacts of colonization and white supremacy culture). I support clients from diverse and often marginalized backgrounds, include LGBTQIA+, BIPOC, immigrants, and diverse abilities.

— Jaya Roy, Licensed Clinical Social Worker

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. I specifically have experience working with those who identify as LGBTQ+, people of color, or second-generation Americans.

— Saira Malhotra, Therapist in Denver, CO
 

I have a lot of experience working with a diverse population and am dedicated to my ongoing learning to address issues of cultural and systemic oppression.

— Kayla Nelson, Clinical Psychologist in Huntington, NY

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
 

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

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 utilize a blend of boundary-setting modalities to address historical and intergenerational trauma. Survival instincts and ways of coping are often passed down in a family system, even if they don't always serve the present moment. Understanding why we react to certain situations, and why others may react, can increase compassion. Once we have cultivated that compassion we can articulate and implement boundaries from a place of acceptance and respect.

— Dwight Bejec, Licensed Professional Counselor in Warrenville, IL

In my graduate education, I have both taken and taught classes on racism and systemic oppression. In my clinical practice, I see systemic oppression to be more then race; it also includes gender, sexuality, ethical non-monogamy, ability, citizenship, etc. Much of my experience working with cultural oppression include the manifestations of anxiety and depression.

— Ajay Dheer, Registered Marriage and Family Therapist Intern in Beaverton, OR
 

I assist individuals to navigate the systemic oppression experience through life and within our systems, family, and workforce. I use self-compassion and strategies to process the daily impact of systemic oppression on daily life.

— New Patterns Counseling, PLLC, Licensed Professional Counselor in ROUND ROCK, TX

I offer a space to safely discuss your lived experience of systemic racism and oppression. We will work to repair and heal from this trauma and also learn to navigate it going forward.

— Clara Chestnut, Licensed Marriage & Family Therapist in Rochester, NY
 

I believe that most of our mental health “problems” are rooted in the problematic social environments that have impacted us. I am hella good at creating space to deep dive into the ways you have been shaped by systems of oppression and cultural experiences. Together, we can unlearn damaging and false narratives and heal the pain they have caused you.

— Jackie Jacobo, Associate Professional Clinical Counselor in San Diego, CA