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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I help clients heal from the effects of systemic oppression and rejection that they experience because of their sexuality, gender identity, or racial identity. If you have experienced rejection in your family or faith community for having a particular identity, I am here to support you as we release the shaming, painful messages in your life. Together, we will sit in the tension and reconcile all parts of you so that you can embody your authentic self with joy and compassion.

— Christie Morgan, Psychotherapist in Boulder, CO

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
 

I believe that the cultures, systems, and communities we live in impact the way we navigate the world. A lifetime (or lifetimes, if you want to get into intergenerational wounds) of dealing with oppression can have a profound an impact on mental health. In my practice I consistently keep in mind the ways systems impact the individual.

— Daniela Sawicki Rivera, Associate Marriage & Family Therapist in Oakland, CA

I chose to complete my studies in Social Work, specifically to study systems of oppression in our society, with a strong focus on religious systems of oppression. I am well-versed in religious systems of oppression, but this understanding translates to any hierarchical system: racism, workplace discrimination, family systems of oppression, interpersonal oppression (abuse and neglect), and financial oppression (capitalism). Where you have humans in societies together, there is always risk.

— Julia Krump, Licensed Clinical Social Worker in Fort Collins, CO
 

Multicultural therapy takes into consideration cultural, national, ethnic and spiritual diversity in addition to sexual preferences, gender identity, sexual orientation, social class, etc. The main goal of multicultural therapy is to acknowledge, highlight and work with those who face the challenges of being multicultural in one or more ways. Everyone comes with their own personal dynamics and cultural ecosystem, and the way I work with you is specially tailored to address your unique needs.

— Leyla Gulcur, Psychologist in , NY

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
 

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

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
 

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

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
 

As a practitioner centered on Liberation Psychology, it is vital that therapy acknowledges and integrates the roles that systemic forces such as inequity, oppression, and marginalization play in impacting clients' mental health. By challenging and engaging with such dynamics instead of minimizing their impact, therapy can become a critical praxis in nurturing clients' abilities to achieve their goals.

— Patricia Arce, Licensed Clinical Social Worker in Oceanside, 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.

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

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

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 toxify 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 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 Clinical Counselor in Naperville, IL

All of us are brilliant students of our society, — our families, communities, societies, culture. These factors shape our identities based on creed, gender, colour, etc. — which then shape our realities. To know who we are requires understanding these influences, which reflect this imperfect world as well as 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. I look forward to shifting through these layers with you to find your true

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

Being bicultural/biracial, and having worked with the refugee and immigrant population for over 22 years, I have a deep-seeded passion for social justice and advocacy. I believe in being an agency of change and for providing safe spaces for individuals to explore and address ways in which they have been oppressed, marginalized, and disenfranchised.

— Saara Amri, Licensed Professional Counselor in Springfield, VA

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
 

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