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.

Meet the specialists

Many who choose to work with me have experienced micro-aggressions at work. Many feel isolated from by the dominant culture in San Francisco. I'm a woman of color. I'm a culturally-attuned therapist with a multicultural background. I have experience with many -isms. I've received micro-aggressions in my workplace, in my community. Sadly, outside of my awareness, I've also microaggressed others. I have deep experience with both sides of this coin, and I can help you navigate across differences.

— Annu Sood, Associate Marriage & Family Therapist in San Francisco, CA

Therapy is inherently political, and I want to be an ally. Let’s deconstruct and dismantle these system together.

— Angela Doss, Associate Marriage & Family Therapist in Los Angeles, CA

As a therapist of color, my sensitivity to the increasingly volatile political and socio-cultural environment in the U.S. and around the world has come with its own struggles. Your experiences and challenges will be as unique to you as mine are to me. Working from a place of understanding my own privilege and marginalization, I humbly strive to create a safe place to explore your unique needs and challenges in facing the impact of macro- and micro-aggressions.

— Hilda Lopez, Associate Professional Clinical Counselor in Berkeley, CA

I am an anti-oppression trainer of the "Beyond Inclusion, Beyond Empowerment" model created by Leticia Nieto, PsyD. I teach groups, provide trainings, and work with members of healing professions to embody and integrate these principles into their work.

— Lindsay Pierce, Associate Marriage & Family Therapist in Olympia, WA

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

As a mixed race, gender-nonconforming, lesbian of color, I have an intimate, lived experience about how societal norms can weigh us down. I can support you in taking back your power and self-determination in the face of adversity.

— Laura Pearce, Associate Clinical Social Worker in Long Beach, CA

The field of Counseling Psychology grew out of our understanding that mental health concerns were not always inherent pathology but rather a response to situational stressors. As a queer-identified, Arab American trained under a counseling model, I appreciate the complex intersections of privilege and oppression and the ways in which minority stress impacts individuals. I approach my work using this conceptual lens and integrate research on oppression into my interventions.

— Matthew Malouf, Psychologist in Baltimore, MD

Living in this culture for many is a battle field littered with toxic history. While we advertise “ the land of the free” and democracy as our mottos Obviously it isn’t. Ive studied and been involved in struggles related to the holocaust, black history women’s rights ,throughout my life As Fanon said you can have the greatest parents but when the dominant culture sees you as inferior you confront micro and macro aggressions daily. I work to help one find ways to disrupt this narrative.

— Deborah Hellerstein, Therapist in Chicago, IL

I am a Chinese American with immigrant parents--I have lived with a bicultural identity all my life. I am well-versed in navigating conversations about white supremacy and the resulting oppression, discrimination, and alienation it has created for people of color. I am also passionate about dismantling hetero- and cis-normative frameworks. These are not topics we have to shy away from in our work together. I will work with you to claim space for yourself and build your own narrative.

— Laurel Meng, Psychotherapist in Chicago, IL

As a multiethnic therapist who grew up in a multilingual home, I have both personal and professional experience in supporting clients who experience cultural and systemic oppression. Being witness to cultural and systemic oppression from an early age, has helped shape the work that I do as a counselor and is the reason why I sought specific trainings and internships when becoming licensed.

— Daniela Paolone, Marriage & Family Therapist in Westlake Village, CA

I bring my analysis and work from organizing to fight systemic oppression and the anti-violence field to bear on my psychodynamic work. I have developed an anti-oppression approach to my treatment that helps me and my clients understand how Complex PTSD and intergenerational trauma and ongoing experiences of oppression are connected.

— Charles Thompson-Shealy, Licensed Clinical Social Worker in Kingston, NY

We live in an indoctrinated society. Stigma runs rampant and most of us have a narrative and language we use that perpetuate. and complies with our 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 TOLUCA LAKE, CA

It is important to recognize and name the social constructions that exists and the impacts they have on shaping how we think we should function and interact with others. Cultural and systemic oppression can create a heaviness that can bring feelings of hopelessness. At the core, it is important to understand our own truths, acknowledge what be bring and have to offer, and embrace and celebrate who we are as unique individuals.

— Evelia Ilarraz, Licensed Clinical Social Worker in Oakland, CA

As a Women's Studies major at the University of Minnesota in the early 90's, my knowledge of and interest in oppression of all sorts grew enormously. It was truly one of the most valuable aspects of my education. That interest has only increased since the 2016 election. From that time on, our political and social climate has felt surreal. Unfortunately, it seems the progress we've made since the 1960's has been crumbling before our eyes. Ultimately I'm an optimist though, and I still have hope.

— Molly Nicholson, Licensed Professional Clinical Counselor in Minneapolis, MN

Psychological theories and practices have historically perpetuated the cultural and systemic oppression of marginalized identities. Using the best of psychoanalytic and somatic modalities, I offer a safe space to challenge these inherited stories to support your growing into an identity that is truly authentic to who you are.

— Camillia Thompson, Licensed Professional Counselor in PORTLAND, OR

My work is based on anti-capitalist and anti-oppressive values and view oppression as trauma. I've worked with people experiencing oppression related to gender identity, class, race, sexual orientation, immigration status, and ability. I've worked with people experiencing trauma from incarceration and I am opposed to prisons. I also use peer accountability models and theories of whiteness and masculinity to address harmful or problematic behaviors related to social privilege.

— Juliet Anderson, Associate Clinical Social Worker in Ridgewood, NY

I am passionate about decolonizing and de-pathologizing mental health and thinking about the ways systems of oppression traumatize folks of color, immigrants, people with disabilities, queer people and/or transgender people on a daily basis. I have created and facilitated various groups for queer and transgender Latinx youth and youth of color.

— Tamara Bransburg, Counselor in Oakland, CA

I come from a lineage of open-hearted-justice weavers and am a queer fat femme who practices at the intersection of oppression and trauma. My healing framework is explicitly trauma-informed, anti-racist, queer and trans-affirming, fat and body positive and anti-oppressive. Fundamental to my social work practice is my understanding that all oppression is interconnected, all justice is interrelated, all life is interdependent and that Black Lives Matter.

— horizon greene, Licensed Clinical Social Worker in Seattle, WA

My dissertation investigated body image across diverse populations including WOC. In particular I am interested in how WOC use their bodies as a commodity in order to compensate for systemic-level oppression and white-cis-heteronormative dynamics. Clinically, I work from a holistic, relational, empowerment focused and intersectional feminist perspective. I recognize that areas of oppression are linked and cumulative. I strive to use my privileges to help others create clarity and

— Olivia Carollo, Clinical Psychologist in Chicago, IL