Have you been thinking about what can you do during these times? How can you be a leader? How can you talk about issues such as racial justice and inequality with your clients?
In this podcast episode, Joe Sanok speaks to Dr. Chinwé Williams about moving forward from here: lessons to learn from this moment.
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Meet Dr. Chinwé Williams
Chinwé Williams, Ph.D., is an EMDR trained, Licensed Professional Counselor (LPC), Board Certified Counselor, and a Certified Professional Counselor Supervisor (CPCS). She earned a master’s degree in Counseling from the University of Georgia and a doctorate in Counselor Education from Georgia State University.
Her 19 years of professional experience include work in school systems, community mental health, hospitals, and university settings working with a range of trauma survivors, including combat veterans and clients who have been physically and sexually assaulted in childhood and adulthood. Clinical specialties include trauma resolution, adolescent and young adult concerns, and women’s wellness.
She is the owner of Meaningful Solutions Counseling & Consulting and Co-founder of Southeastern Counselor Training Institute (SCTI).
In This Podcast
- Therapists as leaders
- Dehumanization and leadership
- How to talk about racial justice and equality
Therapists as leaders
We, as therapists, are advocates for change. We can be a voice for healing.
Through the pain and ugliness, there is an opportunity for therapists to move beyond therapy and become leaders. It starts with having conversations with yourself and exploring your vulnerabilities and fears.
For Dr. Williams, she began exploring these topics and posting about what was going on through her social media. She also started blogging for organizations, drawing from her experience and expertise to become a thought leader – and you’re invited to do the same.
Just based on our education, right, we’re probably gonna be more knowledgeable than anyone else in the world around some of these mental health topics, that are of course right now at the forefront.
As a therapist, you also have the skills to bring calm to a room and regulate your own emotions and the emotions of your clients, in order to explore uncomfortable topics. These are strong leadership qualities necessary for affecting positive change.
Dehumanization and leadership
Research suggests that part of what we’re seeing in things like police brutality is dehumanization. During times of high stress, humans don’t see each other as human, and that police brutality may not even be direct racism but rather dehumanization due to the heat of the moment and their own fear of a perceived threat.
For minorities – especially black people – the adjectives used to describe them as children suddenly change the older that they get. People (mainly white people) begin to view them as a threat, and when this happens dehumanization starts.
As therapists and leaders – especially white therapists – there is an opportunity to break this culture of silence around issues of racial injustice and put an end to dehumanization.
How to talk about racial justice and equality
Any form of grief requires something, but we can’t always put that ‘something’ into words. For Dr. Williams, when the protests started around racial injustice and police brutality, her fellow white therapists and friends were silent on the subject. Yet, what she needed was a clear message to say that her humanity mattered to them. This spurred her to write this blog.
Conflict is necessary when addressing problems of racial justice and equality, as it is required for true transformation to occur, something you may say to couples or parents battling with their teens.
Conflict has to be understood and embraced as part of the process.
1) What to do on an Individual Level
Just because something is uncomfortable, doesn’t mean that it’s unsafe.
You may have to battle with your ‘heroes’, and often it’s your family and friends, to challenge stereotypes and racist thinking. Share positive stories of people who your family/friends would perhaps show bias towards.
2) What to do in the Therapy Room
It’s hard to broach the subject of racial identities with your clients, but try using lines (if you’re of color) like: ‘I can never really know what it’s like to be a white person experiencing all of the social unrest in our nation, but if it makes sense for you I hope our time together will make you feel safe enough for you to bring up your experience.’
This gives your clients the opportunity to share their thoughts and for you to introduce topics for them to think about. Often, this builds a deeper connection between you both.
We tend to think of therapy as just focusing on individual variables, and that’s a part of it but multi-cultural counseling, social justice awareness teaches us that what is happening externally does impact clients.
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Meet Joe Sanok
Joe Sanok helps counselors to create thriving practices that are the envy of other counselors. He has helped counselors to grow their businesses by 50-500% and is proud of all the private practice owners that are growing their income, influence, and impact on the world. Click here to explore consulting with Joe.
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